Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “Bottling It, A Wayfair Witches Cozy Mystery #1,” by Author, A. A. Albright

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS

Wanda Wayfair is a bit of a late starter.

At almost twenty-one she still hasn’t received her magical powers, and she’s running out of time. But that doesn’t bother Wanda. Much. Not when she can spend all of her time in the human world and pretend that her coven doesn’t exist. But when Wanda takes a job at Berrys’ Bottlers, working with the handsome Will Berry and his unpleasant Aunt Alice, she soon realises that she’s a lot closer to the magical world than she thought.

All over Dublin, humans are murdering witches. When asked why, all they’ll say is, ‘I dunno why I done it.’ But Wanda thinks she does know why they’ve done it – and hopefully she’ll receive her power in time to help her coven discover the truth.

Amazon.com

Title: Bottling It, A Wayfair Witches Cozy Mystery, Book 1

Amazon Author Page: A. A. Albright

Publication Date: October 9, 2017

Formats: Paperback & Kindle

Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires, Crafts & Hobbies

Goodreads

MY RECOMMENDATION

Meet Wanda Wayfair, a young woman whose heritage stems from a long line of witches. There’s only one problem. It appears, she didn’t inherit the witch gene. Wanda is what you would call an unempowered witch. At this point in her life, she’s given up all hope of ever possessing any witchy abilities. Even Accounting sounds like a decent option.

The story begins as Wanda arrives home in Dublin. Across the street from her house, Wanda notices a body being wheeled into an ambulance. She witnesses a twenty-something-year-old girl shoved into a police car, screaming, “I dunno why I done it!” over and over again. Now her curiosity is peeked… I mean, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? I sure did!

For whatever reason, witches are being murdered in Dublin. As the mysterious events unfold Wanda’s powers surge into action. She’s had training in the magikal arts but never used magic herself, which forces her back into her family coven where her family gives her a helping hand.

As the novel unfolds, Wanda is forced to live within the world of magic. Everything’s not as it seems and she learns how to maneuver the class system of the magical world. Be prepared for vampires, talking rats, and weredogs!

I love cozy mysteries and when they have the paranormal mixed in they are great fun to read. On top of that, this book contains humorous characters you can’t help but love. The world building created the groundwork for the story. The mystery is simplistic but for me that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I will definitely read more from this author. This was an enjoyable read, and at $.99 for a Kindle copy you can’t go wrong.

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 
5
Reader Engagement: 
5
Reader Enrichment: 
5
Reader Enjoyment: 
5
Overall Rate: 
5 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

A.A. Albright lives in the Irish countryside with her husband.

She loves reading in every genre, but writing the Wayfair Witches’ and Riddler’s Edge Cozy Mysteries is just about the most fun she’s had in a decade.

To keep up to date with the latest news from A.A. and to be the first to hear about new releases, you can join her mailing list:
http://www.subscribepage.com/z4n0f4

From the Author:

Books in the Wayfair Witches Series: Book One: Bottling It, Book Two: Bricking It, Book Three: A Trick for a Treat, Book Four: Winging It, Book Five: Wrapping Up, Book Six: Loved Up, Book Seven: Rocking Out, Book Eight: Acting Up, Book Nine: Swotting Up, Book Ten: Forget Me Knot

Wayfair Witches Side Stories: Legally Red Books in the Riddler’s Edge Series: Book One: A Little Bit Witchy, Book Two: Witchy See, Witchy Do, Book Three: Lucky Witches, Book Four: Shiver Me Witches, Book Five: So Very Unfae

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: https://aaalbright.com/

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~Sally, Debby, and Colleen~

“Green Faeries,” Speculative Fiction Challenge

Hugo swung his legs to the floor and sat up. What a night! The party lasted into the wee hours and by the time he’d stumbled home; he passed out on the couch, never making it into his bed. His head ached, and thirst clogged his throat.

He belched. The stench of alcohol and the pong of a dirty ashtray perfumed the air. He fumbled for his cigarettes, rifling through his pockets, on the hunt for his lighter. He retrieved a pack from his shirt pocket and found it empty. His anger erupted. He balled up the packet and threw it across the room.

“Hey, quit throwing stuff at me!”

“What?” Hugo’s bleary eyes tried to focus, but he couldn’t see straight.

He staggered toward the open window and gasped. Like an old-timey movie reel, grainy images flickered on a silver screen. After his bloodshot eyes cleared, he observed what looked to be his house, precariously perched in the crook of a massive tree. A glaring of cats roamed across the roof, and an elephant stared him in the face.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you.”

With eyes the size of saucers, Hugo shook his head. “Elephants don’t talk,” he wheezed out.

“Well, this one does. I’m your conscious. Wikipedia says:

“Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms. In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such norms.”

Wikipedia

“Did you just define my conscious?” Hugo ran his hands nervously through his hair.

“Sure. How many did you have last night? Do you feel any remorse?”

“Too many to count. And, no, I don’t feel any guilt at my having had a good time. Now, leave me alone!”

“I bet you drank “Green Faeries,” again last night,” said the elephant. A grin stretched across his face.

Hugo closed his eyes and swayed in place. Damn absinthe! No wonder I can’t focus.

“Now do you feel guilty?” The elephant extended his long trunk toward the window. He nosed Hugo’s shoulder.

Hugo raised his shaking hand to his damp forehead. His heartbeat raced, and he shivered as if the heat of the day chilled him to the bone.

“What have you done with my house? What’s the deal with the cats?” asked Hugo.

The elephant’s nasal voice dissolved into laughter. “It’s the delirium tremors, my friend. Stick around, we’ve got a big show planned for you.”

***

This story was created from two sources. One, D. Wallace Peach’s monthly writing challenge, and two; this post from The Dark Netizen. I laughed the entire time I wrote this story. Thanks for the inspiration, you guys! 😀

Don’t drink them!
Learn more about the Green Faery HERE.

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Joy Lennick

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you another new author, Joy Lennick, who I had the pleasure of getting to know through this interview.

I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and one of the best ways to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Joy Lennick.

Joy Lennick was separated from her parents by the onset of World War II with her two brothers. Evacuated to live with a kind aunt on a mountain (Hare) in Wales, what to do?

She sought solace through reading and joined the local (Merthyr Tydfil) library. Very soon, she became totally besotted with words. Via candlelight, The Bros. Grimm attempted to frighten her from her nightie and she still recalls a few nightmares…but Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, et al soon introduced her to the sheer variety and magic of stories. She was hooked. (An account of her life during the war years can be found in her delightful memoir ‘My Gentle War’ which is spliced with excerpts from her father’s war diary.)

Pitman’s College learning shorthand and typing. An office-based career followed for several years, her favourite job working as secretary to Kaye & Ward, a well-established publisher in the City of London.

Love came knocking…and she was married in 1953 to Eric Sydney Lennick, a fascinating, multi-faceted character if ever there was one… ‘Dire circumstances in the country’ led them to Canada, where they lived and worked for eighteen, enjoyable, months. Returning homesick’ to the UK, they settled down and had three, beloved, sons.

Two business ventures followed, as shop-keepers and hoteliers. And, all the while, Joy read and ‘scribbled.’ Lame short stories and iffy poems led to slightly better ones… and Kogan Page Ltd., of London commissioned her to write a book about hotel life! 

Running Your Own Small Hotel (two reprints) and she was off. Next came the factual Jobs in Baking and Confectionery, and the updating of two of their own books.

‘Life’ again took over – while Joy ran a poetry group and had several articles and poems published in various anthologies. Too quickly, retirement loomed and they decided to spend another chapter in Spain. Joy then joined the Torrevieja writing group and won the first International Short Story Competition run by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) with her short story “Worth Its Salt.” 

The couple joined the U3A group and Joy became a group leader for creative writing, soon after linking up with the writing group WordPlay, now known as Writers’ Ink. (There is, shortly, to be an online ‘off-shoot called the Ink Spot Newsletter.)

Over the past few years, Joy has written: Hurricane Halseya true sea adventure; adapted From the Prairie to Passchendaelethe true biography of a brave young man who lived the hard life of a farmer and faced the horrors of World War 1. She then edited the hand-written memoir of her husband Eric S. Lennick: A Life Worth Living, covering his years in the East End of London during the blitz, also the time spent in Bury St Edmunds and his conscription into the Army after the war.
A novel came next: The CatalystBased on the horrendous bombing of a London train by a terrorist in 2005. It is a true story, while the characters are fictitious.

Joy with husband Eric has recently published a slim volume of humorous poems and jokes, which they hope will ‘keep the doctor away!’ She then collaborated with a writer friend, Jean Wilson, and they produced a book of varied short stories called Where Angels and Devils TreadThis busy writer has also had many short stories included in various anthologies and won a few prizes for her poetry. She is at present working on a new novel: The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski.

About Joy Lennick
to you all!

Hi, Colleen. Happy Valentines Day! Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

Hi, Joy. I’m glad you popped in. It’s been fun getting to know more about you. What was the first book you read that made you cry?

It was “JANE EYRE,” by Charlotte Bronte.

What an all-encompassing story… Thackeray thought it: ‘The masterwork of a great genius.’ I must agree.

Read when I was around thirteen years old and still at Pitman’s College, with those heightened emotions swirling around. I had just met my first ‘best friend,’ Sheila Devo, a charismatic, larger than life, individual if ever there was one!

When I read of the death of Jane’s friend, Helen Burns, in the dreadful Lowood ‘Institution,’ so fond was I of my new-found friend, that Helen’s passing transposed itself to Sheila (although she was as fit as the proverbial fiddle…) and I recall sobbing fit to burst.

The writing was so emotive and profound, it obviously had a great effect on me. The fact, too, that Jane was an orphan and was treated so harshly by her horrid relatives weighed heavy on my young mind.

I read it again on two occasions, and each time I thought how many emotions the story evoked in me. What an intelligent young woman Charlotte Bronte was and what a too-brief life she lived.

Even in the mid-eighteen hundred’s, she wrote that women should not confine themselves to ‘…. making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing the piano and making bags.’

She was rightly proud of her great novel and I was delighted that her heroine found love and happiness with Mr. Rochester, even though it tragically thwarted her creator.

Read the classic, “Jane Eyre,” on Kindle: Amazon.com

“Jane Eyre” is a classic in every sense of the word! So, in your writing, do you want your books to stand alone or belong to a series? 

I am an eclectic writer and it just seemed to happen that way. My father, a diarist, had beautiful hand-writing and wrote many letters to newspapers, he also penned praiseworthy Calligraphy. From young, I also wanted to see my own words on paper and was thrilled to pass my Pitman’s hand-writing test… Then I joined the library at seven and that was lost to words…

During World War II, I lived on a mountain in Wales with no electricity, and whenever I could, read in bed by candlelight. The sometimes-flickering shadows heightened the experience when stories from the frightening BrothersGrimm were being devoured. Hans Christian Anderson tales, Gulliver’s Travels, et al enchanted me and the fact I had nightmares was neither here nor there…

In junior school, I wrote a crude play, acted on the school stage and wrote lots of so-so poems and short stories. My first publication was a poem in a UK children’s book; re-published in South Africa, then another was read on the radio.

After marriage and the birth of three sons, I was commissioned by Kogan Page of London to write a factual book after we sold our modest hotel in Bournemouth: “How to Run a Small Hotel”, followed by another factual book: “Jobs in Baking & Confectionery.” After updating two of their books, I formed a poetry group and won a few prizes.

Fast forward several years, concentrating on business and family, I then wrote a memoir “My Gentle War” covering my time as an evacuee in Wales (interspersed with excerpts from my father’s war diary). Several factual articles, short stories, and poems in anthologies came next.

I then retired to Spain where I pocketed 1st prize in the first International Short Story Competition held in Torrevieja (Costa Blanca) “Worth its Salt.”  It was the first time I had ventured into part-fantasy as my narrator was a Time Traveller who told of the history of the area.

Because of my love of words themselves and my fascination with people and what makes them tick, I enjoy reality, so try to base my tales on faces wreathed in imagination, hence the premise of my only novel: “The Catalyst.” The main story is based on the actual terrorist bombing of one of the trains in London, UK in 2005, but the characters and their stories are fictitious.

My poetry embraces all facets of life and imagination, from serious to humorous.  Each of my books stands alone, while three of my short stories have the same detective (in “Precinct Murder” published byWordPlay Publishing). 

It seems that writers who have a series and gain fame for their talent, are more likely to endure than authors of stand-alone books, although that, of course, does happen if the writing is outstanding.

That’s fascinating. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before you begin a book?

I am a curious person by nature (in fact a little odd…) and love learning, so that side of writing appeals to me. I don’t think we can ever read enough…Each writer and book reveals more about the human race, be it in a good or negative way, although I look for the positive. 

I always keep a notebook in my handbag as ideas and experiences can pop up when least expected. Naturally, if writing about something outside my field of knowledge, I check it out. It is wise/imperative to verify dates and places, names etc., and language, for your own sake, and to defeat the pedants ‘out there.’ (When I wrote the hotel book, I said – tongue in cheek – ‘I am a small hotelier’ and a critic wrote ‘Does the writer mean that the hotel is small or she is?’ I am just over five feet tall)!

When writing a historic tale, it is even more important that the facts, language, and details are correct. As for how long I spend on checking, is like asking about the length of a piece of elastic. I suppose one could answer ‘As long as it takes.’ Years ago, I spent a lot of time in the library checking facts. Now good old Google and Wikipedia are valuable friends.

Until recently, I was a group leader for Creative Writing for the U3A in Torrevieja and am still in the Chair for the Writers’ Ink group, plus being a columnist for the Costa Blanca News and an occasional blogger, so time is precious. I am also trying to write another novel: “The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski” I can think of no better way of spending it!

It’s been great getting to know you, Joy. Thanks for sharing with us. ❤

You’re welcome. Thanks for the invitation. 

How to contact Author, Joy Lennick & More about her books:

Other books, short stories, and poems:

“Hurricane Halsey” True adventure tale (Published by Libros International)

“From the Prairie to Passchendaele ”Re-worked Memoir of Frederick Knight, published by David Graham Knight

“Where Angels and Devils Tread” A collection of short stories in collaboration with Jean Wilson, published by QGS Publishing

“The Moon is Wearing a Tutu” A slim volume of humorous poems and jokes in collaboration with Eric S. Lennick, by QGS Publishing

Several short stories published in anthologies: “WordPlay Showcase,” “Talk of the Towns,” “Songs that InspiredStories,” “Of Course I Believe in Father Christmas,” “Des Res.,” “Food Glorious Food”

Published by WordPlay and QGS Publishing:

Book of Poetry: “Celtic Cameos and other Poems” by Hilton House Publishing

 Several other poems published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.

Email: joylennick@gmail.com

Website: https://joylennick.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page: Joy Lennick

k luv u bye

 Thanks for stopping by to meet Joy Lennick. ❤

Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews – “Have Bags Will Travel,” by Author, D.G. Kaye

book reviews

Title: Have Bags Will Travel – Trips and Tales (Memoirs of an Over-packer)

Amazon Author Page: D. G. Kaye

Publication Date: September 16, 2015

Formats: Paperback Kindle

Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travelers & Explorers, Memoirs

Goodreads

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.
In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?
D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Have Bags, Will Travel is a humorous memoir written by the transcendent shopper and traveler, Canadian author, D.G. Kaye. Be prepared for hilarity as she relates her travails with customs agents and international flights, while she bemoans the capacity limits of her baggage.

Her love of shopping is a recurring theme in her writing resulting in some of the funniest pieces in the book. Imagine you and your best friend traipsing all over Paris, literally wearing holes in the soles of your shoes while looking for the best deals. A great excuse to buy more shoes, right? Classic D.G. Kaye!

The author shares her adventures in much the same way she would if you were her best friend laughing over a glass of wine. Her voice is genuine, drawing the reader into her escapades. Numerous times, I found myself wishing that I had been on some of these trips with the author… if you could stand all the laughter.

Preparing for a trip? Include this book in your carry on baggage. You’ll be glad you did!

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

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Author, D.G. Kaye

About the Author:

D.G. Kaye is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir writer who writes about her own life experiences and about how she learned to overcome emotional abuse and low self-esteem. She writes on topics such as: kindness, forgiveness self-growth, and compassion. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When she isn’t writing books, you can find her on her blog at DGKayewriter.com where you’ll find an eclectic mix of life lessons, rants of injustice, writing tips, book reviews, and featured interviews with guest authors. She’s known to inject humor into her work whenever it’s warranted. D.G.’s motto is: Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe.

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How to Connect with the Author:

Blog www.dgkayewriter.com

Goodreads www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Amazon Author Page www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

Twitter www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (Of course there’s a story to this name!)

Facebook www.facebook.com/dgkaye

Wise Intro http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7

LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/DGKaye7

Google+ www.google.com/+debbydgkayegies

Instagram www.instagram.com/dgkaye

Stumbled Upon www.stumbleupon/stumbler/DGKaye

Pinterest www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

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BOOKLINKS:

Conflicted Hearts

MenoWhat? A Memoir

Words We Carry

Have Bags, Will Travel

P.S. I Forgive You

Twenty Years After I do

Magical interludeBeam me up! I’m ready for a vacation. Thanks for stopping by to meet D.G. Kaye and to learn about her fun book, Have Bags, Will Travel. 

 

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Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews, “Life in a Flash,” by Author Geoff

book reviews

Title: Life in a Flash

Amazon Author Page: Geoff Le Pard

Publication Date: November 30, 2017

Formats: Paperback & Kindle

Genres: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Short Stories & Anthologies,

Goodreads

In the Author’s Words:

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

My Recommendation:

Life in a Flash is just that – a collection of flash fiction stories written in 500 words or less which transport the reader through a fun array of genres. Believe me, there is something here for everyone.

Le Pard is a British author who weaves delightfully descriptive details into his stories that I believe set him apart from other flash fiction authors. His humor is contagious. I often found myself chuckling at his cleverness and creativity.

I enjoyed each story in the collection but two shining stars stood out from the rest. The first story is called, “Time Out.” This was the comical story of a man who after retiring, becomes an extra on a movie set. The story played out in my mind just like a weekly sitcom. The ending left me convulsing with laughter.

The second tale is called, “Fog.” This was the story of a house recently purchased by a young couple. The melancholy essence of the original owner, ninety-five-year-old Adele Johnson still lingers. There is an eerie mystery wrapped up in this story that finishes with a haunting ending.

From humor to mystery, comic silliness to serious irony, Le Pard zigzags the reader through an abyss of absorbing stories. If you love short stories filled with twists and turns you won’t want to miss this collection. It’s a fabulous read!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies

5 fairies

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

Meet the Author:

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Author, Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course.

Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing. And what did he learn? That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places.

He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live. He blogs at https://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

He has published four books – you can find out more about them on his author page, here – and written on a range of subjects, from walking to cooking, travel to my writing process, London, and his garden.

How to Connect with the Author:

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Blog: TanGental

Facebook: Geoff Le Pard

Twitter: @geofflepard

Carrot Ranch Literary Community: Geoff Le Pard

Thanks!for stopping by to meet Geoff Le Pard. I love flash fiction and this humorous anthology will have you giggling as you turn the pages! ❤

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Colleen’s #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Hashes & Bashes,” BY Author, P J COLANDO

  • Title:  Hashes and Bashes: Jackie & Steve Book 2
  • Author: P J Colando
  • File Size: 1337 KB
  • Print Length: 225 Pages
  • Publisher: BookBaby
  • Publication Date: September 13, 2016
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01LWV02LG
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Genre Fiction, Family Life, Humor, Literature & Fiction

*I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book*


“FAITH… FAMILY… FRENZY!

Nine months after their comically abbreviated RV road trip, detailed in the award-winning book, STASHES, the Breeden family farm routines have stabilized: Jackie returned to her high school cafeteria job and their only son, Brandon, works alongside his father, Steve, in the family micro-dairy.

But then an outsider arrives, claiming to be kin, and HASHES & BASHES begin.

Steve was already perturbed with the brother he has when Carl Edwards strides onto the farm. David Breeden, who lives nearby, is not a bastard but always acted like one. Carl, a charismatic Californian, may be a bastard but doesn’t act like one…

Yet Carl rocks the entire small Midwestern farming community, including a lively cast of characters who assault Steve’s calm-against-chaos pattern in this humorous family saga:

•his spunky farmwife, Jackie, and her meddlesome church lady friends

•his immature son, Brandon, and his female pursuers

•his pastor, who attempts to foist guilt while grubbing funds

•the lure of edible and spreadable medical marijuana and easy money from natural gas fracking

Only Sparty, Steve’s dog, remains steadfast throughout the hijinks. But then…”

I’ve been looking forward to another humorous and heartwarming novel from P J Colando, and let me tell you, “Hashes and Bashes” kept me alternating between laughter and tears. Her first book was called, “Stashes,” and you can read that review by clicking here. Now, grab a seat and let me tell you about this book because you’re going to love it!

What sets P J Colando apart from many others is her ability to draw the reader into the life of her characters. As the reader, you feel like you are her protagonist’s (Jackie) girlfriend and she is sharing with you what is going on in her and Steve’s life while the two of you are drinking tea and eating scones. This makes for some great storytelling. Jackie and Steve are so real to life, you expect to run into them while running errands in town. I know I did at least.

Jackie and Steve represent the perfect Midwest farm couple, hardworking and steadfast. You sense their love for one another seep through the pages. When Carl shows up, Steve’s brother from his mother’s WWII love tryst and given up for adoption, the Breeden family welcomes him into their nest.

Carl and Steve bond through a common acknowledgment of shared genealogy. However, that leaves Steve’s brother David out in the cold. David is the brother you wish you didn’t have, while Carl is likable and real, like Steve. A Prodigal Son triangle develops with impressive results. Once you throw Brandon, Steve and Jackie’s son, into the mix, the results are hilarious.

Years ago I worked on a ranch in Montana. The descriptions of (AI) artificial insemination from Carl’s bull into Steve’s dairy cows by Brandon are not only factually accurate, but they are also hysterical. I laughed so hard, I cried.

Yet, there is more than humor found between these pages. P J Colando breathes and writes life into the pages of her novels. Love, death, friendship, family, all find their way into her stories. Add a touch of pot-laced baking to the mix, and you have a recipe for success.

The end of the book grabbed me by surprise and left me wanting more of this beautiful, and funny family!


Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars


Author, P J Colando

About PJ Colando:

PJ Colando was born and raised in the Midwest, yet unabashedly aspired for adventure elsewhere, following her parents’ model. She lives in southern California with her husband, whose name is not Steve or Carl, the prime male characters in the ‘Jackie and Steve’ series.

PJ is the author of three novels, with short stories, personal essays, and articles published in journals, magazines, and anthologies. She’s earned an Erma Bombeck Humor Award, Reader’s Favorite Silver Award, and Southern California Writers Conference fiction award.

PJ writes contemporary women’s fiction and has drawn praise for her singular voice, humor and satire on contentious current affairs, and insights into human life. PJ writes funny!

Join her on her Boomer humor blog on her author site: http://www.pjcolando.com and on Facebook at PJ Colando.

PJ is having a blast and you will, too.

I hope P J writes another book about the Breeden family. Once you read this so will you! ❤

#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Comedy”

Hey, everybody! It’s time to get your quote selected. Get your creativity groove revved up so you can come up with a creative story, poem, or whatever else you would like to share about your quote. Remember, we have a week, so there is no great hurry! Take your time and just have fun!

Ronovan is in charge this week and he chose the theme of “COMEDY”

Please make sure to link to Ronovan’s post HERE. He also explains how to follow the challenge and gives us a link-back to last week’s post so you can see how creative everyone else was. In addition, Ronovan and I share your posts on social media for added exposure! Thanks for joining us.

I hope you will find the time to visit the blogs who participated last week for the theme of STRENGTH. This is a great way to meet some new bloggers and to read some amazing writing!

Here’s who joined us last week for our theme of “STRENGTH” (I love it when the pingbacks work)

#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Strength” – ladyleemanila

Writers Quote Wednesday Strength | Annette Rochelle Aben

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Strength | Pearls Before Swine

Writers Quote Wednesday – STRENGTH | The Writer Next Door

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Strength

Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Sylvia Plath – ZEN AND Π

Your Strength – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. | a cooking pot and twistedtales

Writer’s Quote Wednesday, 8/25/2016. – Nagrij writes the hits you never knew existed.

Fragile strength #midnighthaiku #WQWWC | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

Writer’s Quote: On Defeats & Victories – Randoms by a Random

The Fiction Cafe

Finally a Writer

Two on a Rant

Haddon Musings

There was no denying Bob was having a restless night. He tossed and turned as if it was impossible to find a comfortable place in his bed. He swore there were lumps where there had never been lumps before. He threw the coverlet to the ground next to his side of the bed. The tangled sheets around his legs irritated him. He pulled at them tearing the top sheet from the bed. It fluttered to the floor in a pile near the coverlet. Petie, the family dog, lifted his head and cocked it to one side, wondering what his master’s problem could be this time.

His wife, Betty, rolled over and said, “Good grief, Bob. Settle down. I have work tomorrow.”

With a deep sigh, he rolled to the edge of the bed and swung his legs to the floor. He grabbed the sheet and placed it over his wife’s sleeping form. He watched her steady breathing, envious of how easily she could fall asleep. I wish I could sleep like that.

With a gentle motion, he slipped into the bed next to his wife. She never moved. Her blond hair splayed out covering the pillow. A soft snore escaped her lips.

Bob didn’t remember exactly when the dreams had begun, but the last six months had been hell. He had tried every home remedy there was. Over the counter sleeping pills made him snore. Chamomile tea did nothing for him other than to require him to get up to pee every hour. He tried reading and that made the dreams even more vivid. Counting sheep was a disaster, too.

It seemed that being unemployed had taken away everything from him, even his sense of humor. Now, it was affecting his sleep. He placed the book he had been reading on his nightstand and shut off the light.

In desperation, he rolled over and willed his eyes to close. His mind drifted. Soon, the sounds of his steady breathing signified he had fallen into a deep sleep.

Bob’s dream led him into a mist, so thick it was like pawing your way through cotton wool. The cloud dissipated and he found himself walking along a road lined with golden wheat fields on each side. The hot sun beat down on the undulating wheat shafts. “Where is this place?” he asked out loud.

An immediate response popped into his head. Kansas.

Kansas? Bob had never been to Kansas. He stood on the road pondering the complexity of his location. Far off in the distance, he heard the sound of raucous music playing. His feet moved forward, almost on their own accord, leading him toward the noise.

He walked for what seemed like miles. His steady pace brought him closer and closer toward the music. Finally, he spotted the source of the loud tunes. At the side of the road, right in the middle of the field was a Tiki bar like he had never seen before. The roof was covered with a thick layer of wheat shafts. Dried corn stalks were piled high on each side of the entrance into the bar. The polished wood floors contained a fine coating of sawdust that glistened in the light from a neon sign which flashed,” Karaoke,” in time to Bob’s rapid heart beat. What the…?

Bob stepped inside, careful not to slip on the sawdust. Glancing around, he realized the bartender looked familiar. He had seen that furry face before. It was, Petie, his faithful golden retriever.

“Hi, Bob,” Petie said. “What’ll you have?” He reached over and turned down the volume on the karaoke machine next to the bar.

“Ah…, I’ll have a beer,” he replied astounded at the fact that Petie could talk.

Petie popped the lid on a can of Coors and poured the amber liquid into a glass. A heavy white foam slipped over the edge of the glass. “When did you start drinking beer?” he asked.

Bob shook his head in wonder. When had he started drinking beer? “I don’t know for sure. When did you start talking and tending bar?”

Petie barked in laughter. “Good question, Bob.” The dog wiped up the foam from the bar top. “So, do you know why you’re here?”

Bob scanned the room. It was empty. “Not really.”

Petie panted as his tongue lolled to the side of his mouth. “If you build it, they will come.”

“What did you say?” He took a long drink of his beer. A streak of foam lined the top of his lip.

“If you build it, they will come.” Petie refilled his glass. He was careful to pour the second beer so the foam didn’t spill onto the bar top.

Bob scratched his head. “Build, what?”

“This – a karaoke bar,” Petie said. The dog motioned with his paws. “If you build it, they will come.”

Bob felt the laugh form in his belly. He couldn’t stop himself. He howled with laughter. Tears rolled down his face. “This is the craziest dream, I’ve ever had.” Bob wiped his eyes with his pajama sleeve.

“It would solve your unemployment issue,” Petie replied as he polished a glass with a white cloth.

“True.” He continued to chuckle. What could have prompted this crazy dream? A Karaoke bar? It was something to think about, though. Bob pondered the idea while he finished his beer. He drained the glass and placed it on the bar top.

He awakened with a start. He had to go to the bathroom with an urgency that made him leap from his bed. He sprinted into the bathroom where he relieved himself. He smelled the strange aroma of beer on his breath. Beer? I don’t even like beer.

It was then the foggy remnants of his dream played out in perfect detail in his muddled mind. A karaoke bar?

Bob stumbled back to his bed and sat down. Where on earth had he gotten such a crazy idea? A karaoke bar. He had to smile. In the dim early morning light, his eyes were drawn to the title of the book he had tried to read the night before. In bold print was the title, “Field of Dreams.” With a chuckle, he shook his head and pulled the covers over his shoulder.

Petie shook himself awake with a loud jingle of his tags. The dog wandered over to Bob’s side of the bed and placed his wet nose against his arm. “I know, Petie. If I build it, they will come.” Petie licked his master’s face. Bob smiled into his pillow.

~*~

This short story was inspired by my husband’s dream. The only difference was, there were two Pomeranians who had a karaoke bar in Kansas. Don’t ask! We did have a good laugh over this last night! 😀


& EMBRACE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR! Go ahead… share what comedy means to you! 

RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge #46 Think & Fresh

Many thanks to Ronovan for sponsoring this fabulous haiku event each week. This week my entry is called, “Fresh Coffee.”

Thanks for stopping by and visiting. I love seeing you all!

I am off to write about fairy magic! See you later.

Now, where is that coffee?

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Manic Mondays

BehindEveryNovelistcartoon

I stumbled upon the above cartoon at Susan Cushman’s blog  and had to share it.  This is surely the truth for most of us writer types out there.  Our past experiences contribute to our writing in so many ways.  College professors will expound on the virtues of writing what you know because it gives a budding writer something to work off of with loads of experiences to draw from.  That is only the start, however.

writing

I like incorporating a three-step writing process into my work called ethos, pathos, and logos, shown in the illustration below.  I also look for these items when I am reviewing a book.

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(Image courtesy of Christopher Altman’s blog called, “The Writer’s Toolbox,” 

If you write your blog, your poetry, or your novel in such a way as to suggest any kind of feelings to your reader you are using pathos.  We convey ethos by establishing credibility with our readers.  I always try to sound like I know what I am talking about when I write.  If the reader believes you they will follow your blog.  Logos is imparted to our readers by applying some logic to our writing.  In other words, check the flow of your work.  Does it make sense?

In the blogging world we tend to write what we feel; and that means sometimes those words come out in a manic mess.  To me, there is nothing wrong with that style of writing.  Some of my favorite blogs are written in the form of a letter, which is called epistolary.  That type of writing uses strong pathos to draw the reader in.  You feel close to the writer, as if you are sharing their deep, dark secrets.  Many times you are!

Writing with the 3 step writing process has helped to ground my writing in numerous ways.  If you are having a manic Monday with writer’s block staring back at you in the mirror, try using ethos, pathos, and logos in your writing.  It will help you to get back on that keyboard once again.

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy seeing all of you!

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Help! I have been spammed with PORN!

My friend Rob, from the V-Pub (which stands for Virtual Pub), recently did a blog makeover. His intent was to create a pub like atmosphere where bloggers could stop in, share a joke, or a story, sometimes even a song, and just enjoy each other’s company.

I promised him that if he changed up his blog, I would write about all the interesting spam that I get in my WordPress messages and link it to his “Tid-bit Tuesday” posts where he talks about some of his interesting life experiences!

Let me begin with saying that the name of my blog is Silver Threading. I share my life as I journey into my retirement years. I am in the over 50 category in lifestyle blogging, so you can imagine my surprise when I started receiving spam that, well uh… made me blush! I am not old, or dead, but WOW!

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(Image credit: The Moose Store)

I am talking about: P O R N! Major porn! Not the blue movies we watched long ago as teenagers, in someone’s dark, smoky basement on shadowy movie screens. No, not that kind at all!

In fact, after serving in the U. S. Air Force I did not think there was too much that could make me blush! WRONG! I feel like the “Church Lady,” from old Saturday Night Live reruns right now telling you all about my spam problems.

What I found particularly funny about the whole spam issue is how it relates to my posts. For example, here is a Haiku that I wrote last summer called, “The Slough.” A slough is another word for a swamp, so I do not know what could prompt the correlation between the two.

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As darkness pervades –

frogs croak in deep song.

Life begins anew.

Now, this seems like a nice innocent poem about the swamp not far from where I live, right?

Here are some of the spam reply messages I received in reply to my haiku:

Fresh gay images- gay married men, gay pants, gay firemen, the gay test, mobile gay chat; Porn gay demeanor; Asian porn diary, Freeware gay porn; Porn blog locality: free adult sex, erotic graphic novels, erotic downloads, erotic parties, erotic content; lesbian sex, MILF’s and me, sexy grandmas, and last but not least, Latin she-males!

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(Image Credit: LoonPond)

I think the one that really got me worried was the “erotic downloads.” That just did not sound right at all! Gay pants were interesting too… I wonder what heterosexual pants look like in comparison? To this day, I continue to receive at least 5 to 10 spam messages attached to that post. Go figure?

Then, there was this, juicy tidbit I received recently, as a reply to my Writer’s Quote Wednesday post:

If this post was likened to a flavor of yogurt, what flavor would it be? Banana, I believe.” A link to a porn site accompanied the message. O.K. then, that was interesting… Wasn’t that special?

How about this one? Sometimes I do a Gratitude Sunday post where I talk about the things that I am grateful for in my life. Here is a spam reply I recently received:

Unlock Her Legs by Bobby Rio said: “This is really interesting. You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!”

Now, you have to admit that this stuff is funny! Although, I was worried that he shared my website in his social networks!

You can imagine my surprise when I received this message from my post called, “Parlor Maple Madness,” which was about a new bush I had planted in my backyard.

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I received a ton of spam called, “Hip release porn area, My gay pictures, and Latin She-males.” All these messages had links to where you could visit the sites. Maybe the word “bush,” caught their attention, I do not know. I still cannot figure out what a “hip release porn area is. Maybe that is something for the over 70 crowd with hip replacements. I never did find out.

Sexy grandmas

Actually, I learned a valuable lesson while writing this post. Whatever you do, do not type into Google, “cartoons of porn spam,” when you are looking for photos to add to your post! My laptop immediately imploded!

Oh, and by the way, this post was done with the best of humorous intentions.  I support all life styles by all individuals and my blog remains a safe haven for all individuals… except politicians!  No politics allowed!

Equality

(Image Credit: Facebook: LGBT rights)

Have you checked your SPAM today?”

Thanks for stopping in to see what I have been up to.  I will talk to you again,

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