“Witch’s Brew with Morgana Blackwing,” #FlashFiction

The Carrot Ranch September 9, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the cooking show. It can be any cooking show, real or imagined. Who is there? What happens? Make it fun or follow a disaster. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 14, 2021.

“Witch’s Brew with Morgana Blackwing”

“Welcome to this week’s broadcast of Witch’s Brew. Please welcome our guest, Morticia LeFay. This barista-witch knows how to mix her infusions!”

“Thank you, Morgana. This week, we’re brewing up a new concoction called Writer’s Essence.”

“Sounds perfect for all the writers out there.”

“That’s right, Morgana. It’s guaranteed to stop writer’s block!”

“How’s it made?”

First, bring a kettle of water to boil. Drop in a pinch of periwinkle, a shot of vodka, and some lemon juice. Let the tincture cool. Next, set your intention. Drink up!”

“Thanks for stopping by witches! To your health, bottoms up! Wassail.”

*Wassail means “be healthy.”

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Jailbird’s Jackpot (Faith, Family, Frenzy! Book 4),” BY AUTHOR, P J Colando

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book:

REVENGE REWARD REDEMPTION

Parolee Amy Breeden held herself together during nearly two thousand days of incarceration with a single-minded focus: to destroy the dude who did her in. 

Within hours of her release, Amy hits the lotto mega-million jackpot.“ Living well is the best revenge,” her parole officer advises, but Amy is hellbent on revenge.

A former Chicago crime boss, an estranged brother, a substitute mom, a zany house painter, a pre-imprisonment pal – and the handsome parole officer – complicate Amy’s quest for empowerment. When Amy’s longtime nemesis invades her haven, her ire ignites. She becomes more determined than ever to avenge herself.

The aging crime boss enjoins her mission. Victory is finalized when she’s able to buy her mortal enemy’s thriving bar in a fire sale… and becomes the Boss. But is that enough? Will revenge result in satisfaction? Will her personal redemption require more than revenge and the monetary reward to live well?

Amazon.com

INTERNATIONAL BOOK LINK

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Steve and Jacquie are the perfect Midwest farm couple. You sense their love for one another with each turn of the page. In Book One, called “Stashes,” Jackie and Steve Breeden, your average hard-working, dairy farming, salt of the earth type folks who live on a rural farm in Michigan. Their son Brandon and his wife, Amy, hatch a scheme to expand the Breeden’s micro dairy business by growing and selling marijuana edibles with hilarious results. 

Book Two is called, “Hashes & Bashes.” When Carl, who is Steve’s brother from his mother’s WWII love tryst who had been given up for adoption, suddenly arrives on the scene, the Breeden family welcomes him into their nest. The author introduces many new characters in this book, and you’ll laugh and cry at the same time.

By book three, “The Winner’s Circle,” you wonder what could happen next. How about throwing some lotto winnings into the mix? Jacquie’s friend, Bonnie, has fallen in love with Steve’s brother, Carl. When Bonnie hits it big with a lotto win, their relationship is changed in ways they never imagined. And that’s just the beginning! The four friends embark on a journey of discovery which leads them to some startling revelations about each other and how they view themselves.

Now, we arrive at book four, “The Jailbird’s Jackpot,” which gives a voice to Amy Breeden after she’s released from prison for embezzling funds from the local bank.

And what a story Amy has to tell. I felt like she got more blame than she probably deserved, but her early release from prison sets up the story unexpectedly. Guess who also strikes it big in the lottery? You got it… the parolee ends up stinking rich!

Amy finds herself with more money than she knows what to do with… Add in a crazy friend, an unstable brother, and a drill sergeant parole officer, along with a host of other memorable characters, and you’ve got the setting for a story that you won’t be able to put down! I never saw the ending coming!

There’s plenty of unexpected twists and turns as Amy learns how to deal with her newfound wealth. Yet, this story reminds me of the hero’s journey as Amy learns more about herself as she deals with unexpected circumstances. If you love powerful women characters, Amy Breeden just might teach you a thing or two!

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a pre-release copy of the book. I’ve read and enjoyed the entire “Faith, Family, Frenzy” Series by PJ Colando. Find my book reviews for the other books below:

Silver’s Book Reviews – “STASHES,” BY P J COLANDO

Title:  Stashes – What Ever Happened to Earn? Author: P. J. Colando File Size: 1011 KB Print Length: 350 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: Publisher: Bookbaby, 1 edition Publication Date: June 19, 2014 Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English ASIN: B00LIAZBKK Formats: Paperback and Kindle Goodreads Genres: Women’s Fiction, Humor, Contemporary Fiction *The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for… More

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… More

Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “The Winner’s Circle (Faith! Family! Frenzy!)” by Author, P. J. Colando

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS: FAITH… FAMILY… FRENZY! Life in rural small town can dull the senses. A trio of gal pals–mired in middle age, Middle America, and other people’s problems–long to escape. When Bonnie wins the Boffo Lotto, her circle of friends urge her to lawyer up, invest, and sequester herself.  But secrets are inconceivable… More

About the Author:

I was born and raised in the Midwest, yet unabashedly aspired for adventure elsewhere, following my parents’ model.

I live in southern California, where seasons seldom matter, where any promise can be conjured and fulfilled. I write while my husband watches TV sports, which are always in season = often.

I wrote a series titled Faith, Family, Frenzy! about the small town & rural Midwest. I know the characters and settings very well and my fertile imagination creates the plots. None of the escapades I create have happened to anyone anywhere, not even me. 

Perhaps my series is a form of memoir…

I write humor and satire with a literary bent. Besides the four novels, I’ve published two short story anthologies and have a third in mind… I’m available to speak to your group or book club. I’m eager to engage with other writers and readers of my books.

I am having a blast!

PJ Colando Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: https://www.pjcolando.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PJ-Colando-224896484261076/

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Mr. Sagittarus,” BY AUTHOR, MJ Mallon, @Marjorie_Mallon

Featuring a Special Release Day Read!

About this Book

Twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose with photographic images.

#Poetry #Prose #Photography #NaturalWorld #Trees #Magic #Spirit #Animals #CircleofLife #Humour #Halloween #Cats #Buddha

MY RECOMMENDATION

Mr. Sagittarius is the tale of two very different brothers and their only sister, told in poetry and prose inspired by the natural beauty of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Montreal. The accompanying photographs compliment the story adding to the beauty of the author’s words.

We begin with William, who is mourning the loss of his brother Harold. However, he isn’t the only one feeling the pain of bereavement. Annette, the sister, also laments Harold’s passing. This loss forces the two remaining members of the family to come to grips with their grief in a most extraordinary way.

This is a charming poetic journey inspired by the author’s chance meeting with a dragonfly and a robin, sure to delight all readers. Yet, there is more than one magical tale spilling from this collection. By the time you reach the finale, Mr. Sagittarius reveals the wisdom of a life richly lived.

This book released today. Grab your copy from this post above. Thank you. I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

I am an author who has been blogging for many moons at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost Short stories and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Media Kit: Author, MJMallon.com

How to Connect with the Author

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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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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Are you looking for more great reads? Join author, D.G. Kaye, Sally Cronin, and Colleen Chesebro in our MeWe Group: The Literary Diva’s Hangout to find articles about writing, poetry, book reviews, book promotions, & special deals on books from the authors you love.

~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.

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! ❤

Rosie

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s, “You Robot,” at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/you-robot/.  The instructions are:  Congrats — you’ve been handed a robot whose sole job is to relieve you of one chore, job, or responsibility you particularly hate. What is it?

rosie

(“Rosie,” image courtesy of ufiojones.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/cartoon-black-history-rosie/)

I sat at my desk clicking my pen back and forth, as I pondered what my next post would be for my blog, Silver Threading.  Occasionally, I added another item to the shopping list that I was also working on.  It had been a long weekend.  Chores dominated my days and they were beginning to interfere with my writing.  I had been complaining to my husband that I needed a magic fairy to come over daily to complete all these mundane tasks that I just did not want to do.  My husband just smiled and went back out into the garage where he had been tinkering on a project for days now.

Suddenly, he came into my creative room where I do all my writing with a huge grin on his face.  He said he had a surprise for me.  That usually meant that I would get some tasty tidbit he had prepared for his lunch.  He always shared with me.  The man is a God is all I can say.

Today, he pushed a small robot into the room and stood with his hands on his hips.  “Well, what do you think?” he asked.  I turned in my chair and there before me was the cutest robot maid I had ever seen.  Covered in shiny metal, she sported a starched white apron with a matching white maid’s cap perched on her shiny head.  She moved with wheels that seemed to glide across the floor.  So this was what he had been tinkering with in the garage I thought.

“What chore do you hate the most?” he inquired.  I hated laundry and he knew I did.  Just yesterday, I had ranted about having to do the laundry this weekend – again.  You would think they would have created disposable clothing by now, I had fumed.

My husband pushed a remote in his hand and “Rosie” slid across the floor and stood before me.  “I am Rosie,” she said.  “I am your laundry fairy!”  He pushed another button on the remote control and off Rosie went to load the washing machine.  She seemed to know the difference between dark clothes, white clothes, and colored clothes, as she sorted nice round piles on the floor.

Rosie added the first load of dirty laundry, the washing liquid, and she even added the right amount of fabric softener to the washing machine.  She waited patiently while the machine cleaned the clothes.  At the end of the cycle, Rosie promptly removed that load and put it into the clothes dryer with a dryer sheet to prevent static cling.  She chose the correct setting and started the dryer.  At the end of the drying cycle Rosie folded and hung the clothes.  Then she put all of them away in the closet and in our dressers.

I was in ecstasy!  I finally had my laundry fairy!  Now, I could write my blog to my heart’s content and not be bothered with the laundry anymore.  And to think that my husband made this for me!  I told you he was a God, didn’t I?  Now what was that idea I had for my blog…