Hyacinths In Bloom

According to the calendar and BG, who informed me while flying down the stairs and out the door to change my sign, that yesterday was the first day of spring. It was a beautiful, sunny 75 degrees.

Today? It is 30 and potentially sat below freezing long enough to have done damage to my newly out flowers, so I have no clue how many pretty photos of these I’ll have to share. At least today is still sunny.

Amazon Deprioritizes Books

In an effort to ensure it prioritizes much needed products, Amazon has shuffled items not in those priority categories down the list when it comes to shipping. Among those getting dropped to a lower importance level are books.

I have seen a lot of talk about how the current situation is impacting families with regards to work. Many authors are already struggling, but this move will make it even harder for some, especially indie authors if the print versions of their books are not being shipped or shipments are delayed as they do not get credited for a print book sale until it ships.

Please keep this in mind when you are looking for reading material and consider supporting authors by purchasing their ebooks, audio books, or even reading via Kindle Unlimited as they still get paid for those without the shipping delay.

Other options for helping to support authors during this time is to order their books (when available) through independent book stores. Many of those stores are also being heavily impacted by local mandates and struggling as well. Going this route helps both the author and the bookstore.

This is just a tiny point in such a huge upheaval, but every bit may help. Feel free to pass this along to whatever book lovers you may know.

Constantly Changing

This time yesterday, our city had only implemented a ban on certain size gatherings with our state having followed not far behind with the same as a suggestion. Within a few hours, that gathering size number had reduced for our city. A few hours later, our city mayor closed schools, restaurants, theaters, and bars and put in place a ban on gatherings larger than 10. The mayor. Our county and state government has not.

Have I mentioned that our city doesn’t have a single confirmed case? There are a few in surrounding counties, so a part of the metro area, but not our city itself. Some of those surrounding counties are following our mayor’s lead. Other cities in our state do have cases, yet they aren’t implementing these measures and our governor isn’t doing anything other than suggesting the earlier limit on gathering sizes (that does not include businesses or schools). A suggestion, not a ban.

I’m thrilled our mayor is being so aggressively proactive. His stance forced our kids’ school to move to an online program after spring break because of the closure even though the district itself isn’t in the city, but part of a cooperative of districts in the area.

We got word this morning that Hubby’s work is moving to a work from home model for all employees that are capable of doing so. Even BG’s dance studio is implementing classes via a video app so they can learn the remainder of their routines. While there is still a very real chance that the recital will end up canceled or, at the very least, postponed, the kids will be ready to go however this pans out.

I am just extremely relieved all the way around. It all looks very different, but life is still going on. I will be utterly heartbroken if recital and MC’s graduation end up canceled, but I would much rather see those things canceled if it means we are flattening the curve and if it keeps anyone from being put at risk.

Beginning To Open

These aren’t quite open, though they are getting so close. I have a couple that are still deep into the new bud phase that will take even longer. It is kind of nice as it will keep something blooming in that front bed for a while.

I got confirmation that the prom that MC was still hoping to go to is getting canceled or postponed and I’m relieved. I hate that he is disappointed, but I’m also glad that this is settled. I can do what I’ve known for a while is the right thing without a lot of extra stress.

Hubby and I have been talking also about whether he is going to choose to work from home after he goes back to work. He had taken the first few days of the kids’ spring break off so we could spend time together as a family. After a few things that happened last week that bothered me, I’m really concerned about him going back into the office.

My concern is that I may be at a higher risk than your average healthy person because of my winter bronchitis. I’m still coughing, so the concept that he could be exposed and bring that home with him is frightening, especially if you have spent any time at all reading some of the stories. I know that I’m nowhere near at risk as some, but I’m still worried.

As of right now, our state hasn’t closed schools, something that I’m really pissed off about. Granted, most of our state is on spring break, but again, this is about a massive lack of leadership from those in the position to make those decisions and their unwillingness to actually take proactive measures to ensure the well being of others.

Talk about one nasty mixed bag of emotions going on right now.

Book Review: Bounty, Kaliya Sahni – Book #1

Author: Kristen Banet
Book Name: Bounty
Release Date: March 14, 2020
Series: Kaliya Sahni
Order: #1
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
4 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Kaliya Sahni.
Tribunal Executioner. Bounty hunter. The last nagini.

Her reputation is larger than the desert she lives in.

Dangerous. Irresponsible. Antagonistic.

When a friend asks her to look into a supernatural bounty on a human, Kaliya finds herself taking the first steps into a conspiracy that had been in the shadows for nearly a decade. Too intrigued to get out before it’s too late, she dives straight into the deep end, ready to discover the truth.

When the mysterious bounty takes a personal turn, she knows there’s no turning back, no putting the lid back on the box.

It’s all or nothing in her world and Kaliya doesn’t like to lose.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 4/5 Stars
Uniqueness Factor: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 4/5 Stars

This is set in the same world as the Jacky Leon series but can be read on it’s own. Like that series, you get many of your typical fantasy types of beings, vampires, werewolves, witches and fae, but you also get a good dose of something not typical. In this case, Kaliya’s character is a Naga. I really like that this is somewhat typical, but also with that extra twist. Kaliya isn’t the only unusual character, either.

While the base story line of this gets a clean wrap up, it also brings in a lot of other pieces that don’t get wrapped up, clearly indicating that those will be ongoing pieces to this series. There wasn’t anything hanging so hard that I’d consider it a cliffhanger, but you don’t get the satisfaction of resolving everything in this book.

This will definitely be a series I’ll be watching for the next release on.

 

 

 

Rain Kissed Crocus

It is cold and rainy today, which made for some phenomenal photos, even if it is more crocus. I would have gotten more, but it was actually still misting and I really wasn’t in the mood to get drenched, so I only got a handful. I WILL have some hyacinths for you soon as they are almost open.

As I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, my state declared a state of emergency. This is a full day after my city did so on its own, without any guidance from further up the government chain. Sadly, my city is doing a better job of actually trying to make a difference in banning certain number of gatherings (though still probably not enough), whereas my state has only made the declaration to free up funding. They have not imposed any restrictions or canceled schools, leaving it up to local heath departments.

Honestly, I’m frustrated by the whole thing. The people at the top that should be guiding the rest of this country in best practices aren’t doing squat, leaving it to those downhill to clean up the mess, but the people downhill aren’t doing any better.

I do my damnedest to keep anything political off my blog, but this is just too much. Where I live, there are no cases in the immediate area, but a few on some of the outer lying areas with more popping up every day. We are in a perfect position to stop or at least slow down this spread, at least in our area, but the people that should be making the decisions to close down schools or other major centers that are basically petri dishes are passing the buck to someone else.

The kids’ school has a plan in place to go online after spring break, but they aren’t making the decision themselves, waiting for someone to tell them they have to. I get that they may not actually have the authority to make those kinds of decisions at the district level, but someone should be stepping up and making the responsible decision.

I really try not to jump into the panic and hysteria, but this isn’t something that people are going to be able to fix or even improve on at an individual level and those that are at high risk shouldn’t be considered disposable because no one wants to step up and make the probably unpopular move to say we should shut all these things down as best we can.

Can we please just be concerned about our fellow humans for a change?

Beautiful Stripes

I should have some hyacinths to share in the next couple of days. Until then, I’ll bombard you with pretty crocus. Hopefully it will add a little beauty to the chaos that is going on in the world today.

We had to go to the grocery store last night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. The parking lot was completely full and that never happens. While the shelves weren’t entirely bare, there were definitely some bare spots and quite a few things on The List provided by the CDC on the recommended types of things to stock up on were really close to being bare.

I was just a little surprised that everyone was at least acting like decent humans and not a bunch of assholes. I didn’t see anyone with a cart full of nothing but one or two things being the sole reason something was wiped out. For the most part, people really were just getting those few extra things for the “just in case” scenario.

It is such a strange thing to see such a massive range in how people are responding to this. You have those that are utterly paranoid and ready to hole up in a bunker in the middle of nowhere with their 10 year stock of supplies, all the way down to those that think the whole thing is just a joke and are more pissed that they don’t have their sports to watch. It really kind of blows my mind. Especially those that really aren’t thinking about this in any serious context and are being stupidly careless.

In my house, we are in a position where we might have to make the decision to massively disappoint MC by canceling a planned trip so he could take his girl of 3 years to her prom. We had already bent over backwards to make this happen before the insanity hit, but now there is an additional personal layer of concern to this in that MCG’s (MC’s girl) household has a potentially at risk member of the family and I refuse to be the cause of someone getting sick.

I plan on talking to MCG’s mom to get her take on it, but after seeing the major changes going on all around just this morning, there is a very high likelihood that the decision will be taken out of our hands. The only reason we haven’t just canceled yet is that both our area and theirs are not currently problem areas and are relatively safe, but we are leaning heavily towards canceling. As much as I hate feeling like I’m taking this incredibly important moment from my son, I also know it is about so much more than whether or not he is disappointed.

It really is past time for people to get their heads out of the clouds and take this more seriously. Wash your hands. If you are sick, stay home. I get that not everyone has this luxury and I really do worry about those people and how they will get through this. There are enough of those that do have this luxury that aren’t taking advantage of it and being reckless in ignoring the advice of those that have the education and background to know how to help slow the spread. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Book Review: Badger To The Bone, Honey Badger Chronicles – Book #3

Author: Shelly Laurenston
Book Name: Badger to the Bone
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles
Order: #3
Genre: Urban/Fantasy/Romance/Humor
Overall SPA: 4.5 Stars
4.5 Stars

 

 

Blurb: She’s the woman he’s been hired to kidnap. But ZeZé Vargas has other ideas . . . like getting them both out of this nightmare alive. Just one problem. She’s crazy. Certifiably. Because while he’s plotting their escape, the petite Asian beauty is plotting something much more deadly . . .

Max “Kill It Again” MacKilligan has no idea what one of her own is doing with all these criminal humans until she realizes that Zé has no idea who or what he is. Or exactly how much power he truly has.

But Max is more than happy to bring this handsome jaguar shifter into her world and show him everything he’s been missing out on. A move that might be the dumbest thing she’s ever done once she realizes how far her enemies will go to wipe her out. Too bad for them Zé is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her alive . . . and honey badgers are just so damn hard to kill!

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 4/5 Stars
Series Continuity/Expectations: 5/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 4.5/5 Stars

I’m not even a little bit surprised that this was another win for me. I’ve really loved all the books from this world (this series and a couple of other interconnected series with some character overlaps) and this one is no exception. I’m just really glad that I wasn’t reading this when anyone was around or I probably would’ve had them convinced I was certifiable with all the snorts and outright belly laughs that burst out of me at random times.

The only real ding this gets from me is that the romantic line of this story isn’t quite a prominent as it is in most of the other books in this world. I would have really enjoyed more time with Max and Zé interacting, but their parts together are almost an afterthought to everything else that was going on.

It is because there is a whole lot of other stuff going on that this still manages to be an excellent book. This is an absolute recommend (along with pretty much every single other book in this world) for anyone that loves irreverent, snarky humor with a small side of steam.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. Opinions stated are honest and my own.

 

Book Review: The Queen’s Bargain, The Black Jewels- Book #10

Author: Anne Bishop
Book Name: The Queen’s Bargain
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Series: The Black Jewels
Order: #10
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Romance
Overall SPA: 4  Stars

4 Stars

 

 

 

Blurb: POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.

Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga

After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters,
leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To
restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only
Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 4/5 Stars
Series Continuity/Expectations: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 4/5 Stars

When I first saw that Anne Bishop was going to be revisiting the Black Jewels world after nearly 9 years, I was ecstatic because this is one of my favorite series.

Then, when the blurb came out and I saw that it was going to build on the short story from Twilight’s Dawn about Surreal and Daemon, I was REALLY torn. That’s because, of all the books and stories set in this world, that one was my absolute least favorite because I just could not get on board with those two together.

For me, that relationship had so many problems and I just didn’t like that after everything that Daemon went through, after getting his dream and the epic love between him and Jaenelle, that he would end up in a relationship with Surreal. It just felt wrong. It felt like he was forced to end up with a consolation prize. Reading this, I still feel that way. If anything, I feel that even more because of how their relationship continues to play out. I really want Daemon’s character to get a chance at real happiness and I don’t feel like it works with Surreal.

I also always liked Surreal’s character and felt that she fit so much better into that friend, almost sister role, with Daemon. To have her with Daemon feels like she is having to settle for someone that can never really love her the way she deserves. Again, I really, really want to see her get a shot at genuine happiness and it doesn’t feel like she gets it. It also felt like so much of what I loved about her as a character throughout this series is kind of neutered until the very end of this story. She looses that feeling of badassness that she is known for through how her relationship with Daemon is presented, at least until the very end.

If I could ignore that part of the storyline (and it is a decent size of the book), I adored getting back into this world and revisiting with these amazing characters. Even though I don’t like that relationship, it doesn’t take away from how much I still loved this book. Not much, anyway.

There is every indication that this won’t be the last dip back into the Black Jewels world. I won’t complain in the least that we are getting to do that, but I almost wish it would have taken a different path, maybe something along the lines of Shalador’s Lady, where the characters were entirely new and different.

I think this is a great example of being able to love and kind of hate a book at the same time.

 

Purple Striped Crocus Bud

I didn’t post yesterday because I was doing my best impression of being a zombie.

In an attempt to try and reset my sleep schedule to something that even remotely resembles normal, I got the wild hair to just stay awake the previous night and all day yesterday. I cannot remember the last time I attempted an all nighter like that. Probably back in my early twenties when my body didn’t rebel quiet so easily.

I actually managed to make it to about 8:30 am before my body couldn’t handle it and crashed for about 45 minutes. After that, I was awake until I headed to bed around 11 pm last night. So, in a roughly 36 hour time frame, I only got that 45 minutes of sleep. This on the tail end of getting an average of maybe 4 to 6 hours (at best, but more often 3 to 4) of extremely restless sleep for several weeks.

What’s really messed up? Even after being awake that long, when it came time to go to bed, I was still wide awake and needed to take something to help me actually get to sleep. I’m not sure that the whole adventure actually managed to fix anything.

I did get some solid sleep when I finally fell asleep, though. It’s probably the first full night I’ve gotten in well over a month (if not more, I honestly don’t know anymore). Sadly, I think I’m more tired today than I was yesterday after no sleep. Dang! My poor body and brain is so messed up.

The upside to that? I think I read something like 3 books over that 36 hour period.

Yesterday was also release day for one of my favorite authors and is the other big part of why there was no post yesterday. Because of the no sleep marathon, I was still up when the book dropped into my reading ap. Of course I started it pretty much the second I could and there was going to be no putting it down once I started.

I’m going to need to try and find some more active things to do today to shake the remaining sleepies.

 

Wet And Rainy

Our wonderful streak of warm, sunny days has ended and today is wet, rainy and dreary. Not the least little bit conducive to getting my camera out past the overhang on my porch.

It is a good day to go hole up in my studio and see if I can actually manage to get that little project finished. I’d love to get it done and get that mess put away so I can start on the next item on my to do list. At the very least, I need to get a photo or two because I’ve promised and haven’t pulled through just yet.

Also, it would be good to take a few steps away from the books for a bit as I’m getting rather frustrated with what I’m reading lately and I’m not entirely sure how to fix that. I have a few books coming out this month that I’m looking forward to, but there are still a few days before the first one hits my reader.

For now, I’m off to play with metal clay.

Book Review: The Missing, FBI Psychics – Book #1

Author: Shiloh Walker
Book Name: The Missing
Release Date: November 4, 2008
Series: FBI Psychics
Order: #1
Genre: Paranormal/Romance
Overall SPA: 2.5 Stars
2.5 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Her psychic gift drove away the man she loved and years later has drawn him back to her

As a teenager, Taige Branch hated her psychic gift. No one could understand, except for Cullen Morgan, the boy who stole her heart. He did his best to accept her, until his mother was brutally murdered and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing it.

Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragedy. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her. Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether if they find his daughter in time, it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 2.5/5 Stars
Believability: 3/5 Stars
Peeve Factor: 2/5 Stars

Personal Opinion: 2.5/5 Stars

I have had this sitting in my “potential reads” list for an incredibly long time, always seeming to hesitate when it came to actually picking it up. In part because I’m not a huge fan of the “old flame” trope, especially when the reasons for that relationship ending made the split on the ugly side.

I finally caved because I was really looking for a book with those paranormal aspects. For that piece of this book, I enjoyed how most of that unfolded, though it doesn’t have a solid world building foundation on why there are so many “gifted” people throughout the story.

Unfortunately, that was only about 40%, probably even less, of the entire story. The rest focused on the relationship between Taige and Cullen and a whole lot of mostly angry, borderline non-consensual sex. I’m all for a good, steamy romance. I even enjoy ones that are unconventional, but this just felt like it was more ugly than loving and rides lines of what would be considered an unhealthy relationship. That kind of killed my interest in most of the rest of the story.

 

And… More Crocus

I’m really hoping to have some different flower photos for you soon, but I’m only seeing some tiny buds that still have a ways to go before there are flowers. I think the next ones I’ll get will be my other batch of crocus blooming or the hyacinths will flower out. Not sure which one will pop first.

Of course, there is a chance of snow later in the week, so there is also the possibility that even those won’t actually happen. Or if they do, they won’t be very pretty. I’m just going to have to wait and see.

Sunny Crocus

I love it when I’ve worked out a plan for a day or even the weekend only to realize at the last minute that, Oops! You have something else to do!

I had planned on getting groceries while BG was at dance today, which is a long one, and leaving open the rest of my day today and tomorrow to try and get caught up on some things. It wasn’t until this morning when I was getting ready that I realized it was a watch day and I’d be at dance with BG and my grocery run would have to be put off until tomorrow.

Seriously… love the old age brain.

While it feels like I’m never going to get all my stuff done that is on a massively long to do list, I actually did make a lot of progress getting things crossed off that list this week. Even with the hiccups and flat tires. I still have a massively long list, but it is now a slightly shorter, massively long list.

And… I have pretty flowers coming up, so that makes everything better.

 

What Suckage Looks Like

One other lovely benefit to living in a area with new construction? Road hazzards. Like nails.

I was waiting on BG after her class last night when one of her friends comes up to me and asks about what car I drive. After confirming, she lets me know I have a flat. This was at almost 9:15 pm. It was not warm outside. I’ve never changed the tire on this car before (wheel locks and a really funky mount for the spare).

Hubby comes to get BG and take her home after I call for roadside assist (thank you car warranties that have yet to run out!!) because she has homework to finish up. He comes back to wait with me and deal with the guy that comes out.

What really should not have taken all that long, really does. The guy doesn’t have his jack with him (shows up in a car and only has a small compressor as any kind of tool), so has to the use the one that came with the car. Apparently it doesn’t raise the car high enough to get the tire off?!

Manages to find a small board to add that extra height and finally gets the tire off. The spare is apparently not fully inflated and his little compressor isn’t doing the job. He manages to get it to a safe enough level to drive on, but not fully inflated.

So after a lovely, extra long night, I finally get home a little after 11pm and still have a ton of crap I need to get done. Today is shot because I now have to go back and get the tire taken care of. Did I mention I was JUST there on Monday for maintenance? The kind where they rotate the tires? Oh, and my indicator on my dash was showing that tire low when I took it in, but apparently they didn’t see this MASSIVE nail in the middle of the tread.

*sigh* I will now be spending my day not in my studio but dealing with suckage. Fun times, people!