Seriously, I’m still here….

Yes, I know. I haven’t posted in FOREVER! But, really, I am still here.

This has been a busy time for me, work-wise. We’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff with the record company. That has caused even my writing on the EbookEvangelist to take a back seat.

What I have been doing is reading. A lot of reading. According to my Goodreads page, 157 books worth of reading. (Subtract 8 or 9 books that I didn’t finish from that number. Life is too short to finish books I am not enjoying. I allow for 10% unfinished when I set my goal.)

The writing I have been doing is not the fun kind. I have been doing quite a few emails to my senators and congressman and representatives to let them know that I am not happy with how the are conducting the business of the American people, from the state level all the way up to the federal government level. I have not been this upset about what’s happening in government since I was 18 years old.

Since I feel that the current crop of politicians need a lot of guidance and feedback (go ahead, interpret that however you like), that is sort of my priority for right now.

If I have ghosted anybody, please accept my apologies and shoot me an email. I’ll make it up to you, I swear! <3

I can’t avoid it any longer….

ice-971960_1280If you have read my Contact Me page or follow me much on Twitter, you probably know that I have actively resisted (that’s putting it mildly!) getting a Facebook account. As of sometime this week, that is finally going to be changing.

It has simply reached the point that I really cannot do what I want and need to do online without a Facebook account.

Am I happy about that? No, I am not. I still have serious concerns about privacy issues. I don’t care for some of Facebook’s policies. But unfortunately, enough  businesses and services that I need to use have developed models that are so integrated with Facebook that I am severely crippled by not having the ability to connect via Facebook.  Yeah, Spotify, for starters, I am talking to you….

That list of people disseminating essential information on Facebook now includes local public safety services in the community where I live, which has turned not having Facebook into a safety hazard. Needless to say, I don’t feel that I really have a viable choice anymore.

To start out with, I am probably going to keep the new account fairly locked down until I feel more comfortable with the service. I will be creating pages for my blogs, particularly the eBook Evangelist, and I will be posting links when I get everything set up. I still plan to be spending most of my social media time on Twitter. We will see how it goes.

So, anyway, I am getting a Facebook account – but under protest. I am still kicking and screaming all the way. This is about as close to Hell freezing over as it gets, folks.

New Year, Lots of Busy, Lots of Books

quill-Yes, I am still alive. I tweet, therefore, I am.

I still have all of last year’s books to talk about: I am that behind!

Part of the problem I have had is the work stuff (music and holiday promotions) and the Ebook Evangelist Blog writing come first. That doesn’t leave a lot of time.

Secondly, late last summer, I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited and found myself juggling my own lengthy TBR list of books I own, my Scribd subscription and my KU subscription. That is a lot of books to read!

What has been interesting is that I find that I really do need both subscriptions. I love reading indie authors. I also love reading series, particularly sci fi and mystery. Certain ones, like the Phryne Fisher mysteries, have the whole series available, either on Amazon to buy or on Scribd to borrow. The frustrating thing is finding only part of a series available on one site – or in one format or at a reasonable price. So most series I have to sort of cobble together, buying some and borrowing others to read.

I am still boycotting fiction priced at more than $9.99 for an ebook, so sometimes I feel that price is driving the reading as much as a particular title or interest. But  I am not paying top dollar for old books. On my wishlist, waiting for the price to come down, is James A. Michener’s The Source. Random House wants $12.99 for a book that’s 50 years old. Not going to happen.

Anyway, I will try to get back to blogging about books soon. I have a lot of them to tell you about!

The Reading List, September 18, 2015

reading_listI know. It has been a while. Between the record company stuff (working on a Bandcamp store and helping with the prep for a new album), going through a massive decluttering binge and all my usual stuff, I have been busy.

I am going to get better about blogging more frequently, I promise. I have been busy reading though… In fact, I have read so many that this issue of The Reading list is actually going to be a two-parter.

Last time I told you about a an ARC of a spy thriller trilogy I REALLY enjoyed. The book, Shadow Agenda,   is now out in one volume and it is a fantastic read! Tight writing, a compelling story and non-stop action make this thriller a real winner.  The author is a talented writer and veteran journalist writing under the pen name of Sam Powers.

I finished all of Suzan Harden’s Bloodlines series and I am currently pining away because she hasn’t released the new one yet. If you like magic, romance and an little heat with a lot of humor, you will enjoy this series.

The second book in John Monk’s Jenkins Cycle series, Fool’s Ride, was a great sequel! If you enjoyed the first one, I think you will definitely like this one. And, the third in the series, Hopper House (The Jenkins Cycle Book 3), was just released! This is such a fun series; I am very happy that he is continuing it. Each book stands alone, but you will really get a lot more out of them by reading in order.

Liana Brooks’ The Day Before  was a really, really fun read that you will want to do in one sitting!. CLONES!!! Explosions! Quantum physics! Need I say more? I am doing to do an audio review on this one soon, so stay tuned for that. The series has a new title, A Time & Shadows Mystery. The next book, titled  Convergence Point,  will be out November 24, 2015 and is available for pre-order now.

Since April, I have been working my way through Val McDermid’s Tony Jill and Carol Jordan profiler series.  I started with the first book in the series The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill / Carol Jordan Book 1) and have worked my way through The Retribution (Tony Hill / Carol Jordan Book 7). The books are compelling procedurals but very dark. I still have Cross and Burn (Tony Hill / Carol Jordan Book 8)  yet to go, but I am saving that for a little later.  Book 9 in the series, Splinter the Silence,   is due out in December. These books are a joy to read, meticulously plotted, and first-rate examples of what crime novels should be. Because they are a bit lighter in tone, I have also added the first books in her Lindsay Gordon  and Kate Brannigan   mysteries to my TBR list.

I have started reading Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael series. I really enjoyed the PBS series with Derek Jacobi. This series is slow going–I have only read the first book so far. I do a lot of my reading right before bed and Peters is a tough read if you are tired and sleepy.. Her prose is lovely, but she writes very long sentences. (One I counted had 69 words!)

I read the first book in Melissa F. Olson’s new Boundary Magic series, Boundary Crossed. This series is set in the same universe as her wonderful  Dead Spots series, but with a different cast of characters. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as as the previous books but I liked it enough that I am still going to give book 2, Boundary Lines, a try. Book 2 will be released on October 13, 2015.

T. Frohock has released a lovely new urban fantasy novella, In Midnight’s Silence: Los Nefilim: Part One. The series is FANTASTIC! Okay, I was one of her beta readers, but it really is very good! Go read the feedback on Amazon and Goodreads and see for yourself. It has angels and daimons and all sorts of nasty things hiding in subways. I think you will like it. The second book in the series, Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim: Part Two,will be out November 3, 2015.

Well, that takes me up to about July on the reading list, LOL! Part two to come shortly.

In other news, I am working on putting together some audio book reviews. Think of it as a mini-podcast with book reviews. More news on that next time….

The Reading List: March 19, 2015

reading_listYeah, it has been a while since I posted. I am finally recovering (somewhat) from a nasty case of the Shingles. FYI: Shingles is PAINFUL! PSA: GET THE VACCINE!  I couldn’t have it because of my autoimmune disease. Like all vaccines, it doesn’t work for everyone, but if you can minimize your chances of getting this, do it. Trust me on this one, okay?

The good news is that I actually have managed to get a little reading done. I finished a few of the books that were on my list from last time and discovered some really good new ones.

Teresa Frohock’s The Broken Road was delightful. A very interesting world in this one where singing and magic combine.Teresa somehow manages to use lovely, almost lyrical prose and still write creepy, scary stories. Best of all, she has hinted that there will be probably be more books to come in this series! 🙂

Who is Dell Zero? by Carol Ervin was absolutely AMAZING! I love dystopian literature and this one did not disappoint. If you like Bradbury, Orwell and Huxley, I think you will find this book very satisfying. The style is somewhat understated which adds to the ambiance of the story. The book is written with an incredibly unique voice. The voice in this one has stayed with me and I am hoping to see more books from her in this vein. Please?

I gobbled down Linda Welch’s wonderful new urban fantasy series:  Downside Rain and the sequel, Baelfleur.  I’ve written before about Linda Welch’s books here and here. I love her Whisperings paranormal mystery series and am ready for a re-read of that series, too, especially as she is currently working on a new installment. YAY!

I enjoyed the first two books in the Gideon and Sirius procedural mystery series by Alan Russel, Burning Man and Guardians of the Night.  Part of the attraction is definitely the police dog, Sirius. I have to warn you, though, this leans to grim and dark–it is not a fluffy dog story. Book three is supposed to be in the works.

I did  keep to my goal of re-reading the first two books in the Senyaza series by Chrysoula Tzavelas: Matchbox Girls and Infinity Key. I also read the latest, Wolf Interval, which turned out to be my absolute favorite in the series.  There is amazing world building here – this is definitely a thinking person’s urban fantasy!  Chrysoula currently has a kickstarter going for a new, feminist fantasy series called Citadel in the Sky. The tagline: Kicking butt in nice dresses: a new epic tradition. Don’t you love it?

I have mostly been clearing books from my TBR list off the Kindle, but have somehow also gotten myself addicted to Suzan Harden’s Bloodlines series. Nothing like paranormal romance with humor (and witches, vampires, werewolves and zombies). Honestly, my doctors are totally getting used to hearing me laugh out loud in the waiting room. :-)April will soon be here with more books! I have already pre-ordered the first book in Liana Brooks new SF Jane Doe series, The Day Before,  due out April 28th. The second book, Convergence Point, is due out on November 24, 2015.

And finally, I received an ARC for a new spy thriller trilogy coming out in April that is just fantastic! More on that one next time….

 

It is Holiday Music time

Okay, Black Friday is over and that means that it officially holiday music time.

So, today, I want to share my love of my husband Skafish’s brilliant Holiday album, Tidings Comfort & Joy: A Jazz Piano Trio Christmas It is a stunning collection that has been favorably reviewed by magazines like Jazz Improv as well as on sites such as All about Jazz and SmoothJazz.com.

To celebrate the season, I have embedded a player below so that you can have a listen. The player plays all the tracks to the album in their entirety. Yep, not just samples; you can listen to the whole thing!

Enjoy!

 

 

You can buy CDs and digital downloads at CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. You can learn more about Skafish and the album at SkafishHoliday.com.

The Reading List November 23, 2014

reading_listI finally finished my marathon read of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. My reading binge was inspired by a snarky comment in The New Yorker piece,  The Percy Jackson Problem. I can definitively say that these books do not “repel” adults. 🙂

Last night I finally got to start reading Teresa Frohock’s new novella, The Broken Road. I have been looking forward to this as she is one of my favorite authors. Her Miserere never leaves my Kindle, I re-read it so often.

I have been trying really hard not to buy any new books — at least, not until I have cleared off some of the finished books off of my Paperwhite. Notice that I said trying. A few came my way that I just couldn’t resist buying and adding to the TBR pile.

Yes, that is me not buying books…. You should see me on a spree, LOL!

I am still trying to find the time to re-read the Senyaza series by Chrysoula Tzavelas. I just got her latest, Wolf Interval,   from her recent Kickstarter. Since it has been a while since I read the earlier books, I want to start with Matchbox Girls and re-read them all the way through.

 

Review: Kick by John L. Monk

kick

This is the first in a series where I talk about some of the best books that I’ve discovered and read in 2014.

Earlier this year, one of my favorite authors, Linda Welch, did a post on her blog about a book by John L Monk called Kick. John Monk was a delightful interviewee with a sense of humor and I know Linda has great taste in books, so I bought the book.

Well! I devoured the book, tracked Mr. Monk down on Twitter and basically said, “Please, sir, may I have some more?” In fact, I have to confess, several times, I have actually tried to sit down and write a review. But, every time I would start to skim over the book for talking points for a review, I’d find myself re-reading the whole book all over again. Yeah, it is that good.  So this time, I am just going to jump in from memory and not tempt fate.

The book is about a dead guy by the name of Dan Jenkins who takes over and “rides” the bodies of serial killers. There are a few rules: he has to stop the killers from hurting anyone and at some point, Dan gets kicked out of the killer’s body. In exchange, Dan gets to live for a bit in the body he is riding.  Who Dan is and how the rules get changed in the middle of the game are part of the mystery (and the fun) of this book.

Understandably, Dexter and Quantum Leap seem to come up a lot when people review this book. But that doesn’t mean that you can oversimplify this book and sum it up as Sam leaps into Dexter. John L Monk is an exceptional writer and there is a lot of subtlety and nuance in this story.

Several things made this book totally amazing. Dan Jenkins’ character was so solid, so interesting and very easy to relate to.  He had a moral center but he wasn’t always a nice guy. Sometimes he was whiny and sometimes he was an ass. Sometimes, he tried so hard to do the right thing that my heart ached.  Tight writing kept Dan Jenkins’ voice strong, clear throughout the entire book. No matter where Dan was, or whatever body he was in, we never allowed to lose sight of his character. And because of the nature of  Jenkins’ circumstances, the conflicts that arose were really believable. That made it impossible to predict where the plot was going, which of course, made this book a lot of fun to read.

And did I mention that this was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award manuscript ? This is definitely a book worth reading!

It turns out that the very talented Mr. Monk has now written the sequel, Fool’s Ride (The Jenkins Cycle Book 2). You can find out more at John’s website, john-l-monk.com or follow him on Facebook.  John is also on Twitter as @johnlmonk and has been known to occasionally haunt Goodreads. 🙂

This is a tough novel to categorize. Fantasy? Paranormal Mystery? Thriller? Suspense? Let me know where you think it belongs in the comments!