I Hate Everyone but You

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

Excerpt

I HAVE ARRIVED
Ava Helmer < AVA.HELMER@ gmail.com > to Gen
Do you remember the first day of freshman year (1.0) when I wore that weird sweater set and you spilled Diet Coke all over your white shirt, so I tried to give you my cardigan but you refused because only lame-ass bitches wear cardigans? I wish that day was happening right now instead of this one. My roommate, Jessica, is not very nice. And not in a I-have-a-rough-exterior-but-a-heart-of-gold Gen kind of way, but actually not nice. She asked me to take the left side of the room and then an hour later told me she wanted the left side. Which isn’t a big deal EXCEPT I had already cleaned the left side and started organizing all my plastic drawers. (I wish you would get plastic drawers,
they are a life changer.) Jessica is a marketing major. I feel like no other description is necessary. USC feels even bigger than when I visited. The whole campus is packed with security guards, which somehow does the opposite of making me feel safe. I tried to find all my classrooms for Monday, but I ended up in four different dining halls instead. Yes. There are four dining halls. And they all serve the same food. Maybe I should go find Meghan. I know she is boring and dumb, but at least she is a familiar boring and dumb. The one good thing about this place is everyone seems to party all the time, so it won’t be hard to find out WHERE THE PARTY AT.
A
P.S. Are you dead?
11: 16 PM EST Abort Meghan. We just spent 4 years avoiding Meghan. Go meet new people. You have great hair! ??? Just a confidence boost!
ADULTING Gen Goldman < GENX1999@ gmail.com > to Ava
I was born to be an adult. Crushing this no-rules thing. Not that my house had many rules, but I felt like your mom was always watching. (What’s up, Ruth! Are you still reading Ava’s emails?!) Anyway. Adult parties. I guess technically they are college parties, but more than five twenty-somethings made an appearance so I think it counts as a crossover.
Shannon took me to the baseball house in Allston, which I thought would be terrible but it’s not even a real baseball team. It’s just a bunch of guys who toss a ball around and make dinner together on Sundays. We stayed until 3 AM talking about Stop Making Sense and Spike Lee’s MJ documentary (which is basically a fluff piece). Shannon kind of sucks except as a conduit to fun. But I met this badass literature chick, Molly, who is basically me with shorter hair. We drank gin and tonics and laughed whenever boys would try to get us to “toss some balls around.” (Believe it or not, this pickup line ACTUALLY WORKED on Shannon.) Brace yourself: Molly is bisexual, but I guess almost everyone here is. She was wearing an unofficial Emerson T-shirt that said “Gay by May or Your Money Back.” I think she has a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend. “Charlie” could go either way. Just like everyone else at this school! BOOM!
G
Re: ADULTING Ava Helmer < AVA.HELMER@gmail.com > to Gen
That was a really great joke. Setup. Punch line. Are you sure you want to write actual news and not buddy comedies with me in Screenwriting 101? For such a select group of young writers, most of the kids in my elite BFA program are fucking weirdos. We had an orientation, and half of my class said The Shawshank Redemption was their favorite movie. That can’t be true, right? Some of those people probably haven’t even seen that dreadful movie. I couldn’t pick between Little Miss Sunshine and The Sapphires. But no one had heard of The Sapphires so LMS won by default. I was worried about talking too much during the introductions so now I think I talked too little. People would just think I’m shy if I didn’t have such harsh features that make me look like a bitch. Am I a bitch? Does being judgmental automatically make you a bitch? Looking forward to your thoughts and notes. A P.S. You went to a BASEBALL party? Who are you anymore?
Re: ADULTING
Gen Goldman < GENX1999@ gmail.com > to Ava
You are NOT a bitch. You just have taste. And high cheekbones. Please refer to the baddest bitch in the game for assurance: NICKI MINAJ DEFENDS HER PERSONALITY & DENIES BEING A BITCH! Re: ADULTING Ava Helmer < AVA.HELMER@ gmail.com > to Gen Oh, Nicki Minaj. Once again reminding us what it means to be a boss. 9: 42 AM PST Sitting in my first official college class. I’m the only one here. Do you think I’m in the wrong place? How early are u?
Only 15 minutes! 18 minutes!
UR in the right place. UR just a nerd.
Does no one else have panic attacks that they’re going to arrive late and ruin their lives so they overcompensate by arriving extremely early?
I’m sure someone else does. And ull prob marrythem.
I wish! Someone else showed up! I’m in the right place!
Are you sure it’s not Nick Fury about to invite you into “The Avengers”?
Couldn’t tell ya!

My Thoughts

A touching and funny story about two best friends trying to survive at college without each other.

Genevieve and Ava have been friends forever. Never apart, until now. Going to college on opposite coasts from each other, this is a chronicle of the two of them growing up, meeting new friends and discovering their sexuality.

Genevieve, the raging outrovert trying to find her voice in her journalism and in the queer community and Ava, the introvert with more medications than friends, just looking for her first kiss. I loved the dynamic between these two. I can’t attest to whether their friendship is realistic or not, but I hope it is.

I loved how different the characters were and the challenge of trying to understand the roadblocks they were each running into, and the choices they make to jump those hurdles.

I didn’t detract from my rating for this, but to be honest, I listened to the audiobook for this one. I will warn you right now, they may have chosen two girls with the most annoying voices ever…. Listen to it if you would like, but I will show you who I pictured while listening to this.

Ava Gen

If you’ve ever heard either of their voices…. you know what I’m talking about. So, read the book.

I Hate Everyone But You is Best Served with

…..BEER PONG!!

Okay, so Beer Pong is NOT a cocktail…. I know. But, reading about these girls being in College, going to parties and joining sororities, I got nostalgic! Ha ha.

So, first things first, this post is coming out LATE! I will say right now PEOPLE OVER 30 SHOULDN’T PLAY BEER PONG!! We were all in our 30s and 40s and…. Well, I WAS planning on getting this post ready last night to go out at my normal 6am post time. Needless to say that didn’t happen.

Here was a chronicle of my night….

It started with a fire.

Then, I informed everyone that we had to play beer pong for my post. Our friend, asking the logical question “where will we play?”

NORMAL PEOPLE ANSWER

“On an existing table or surface in the house!”

MY MAN AND HIS FRIEND’S ANSWER

“We’ll MAKE a table!”

Have I ever shown you a picture of my man??

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Ha ha ha!!!!

Anyways, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!

So, did I mention that we’re all old?? Well, that means that we’re also logical. We decided that it’s really gross to have a ping pong ball bouncing around the garage and the drinking a beer that it landed in. (RIGHT??) So, we filled the cups with a small amount of water and if we got a ball in the cup we had to take a shot. (hurrah for Black Velvet! Only the best for us! HA HA!)

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Anyways, it’s a long weekend for us this coming weekend, so I thought this would be a good way to get psyched for it!

Remember the rules if you decide to play!

1 bounce or straight in. The ball can’t bounce more than once!

CHEERS!!

It’s a “Dirty Job” But Someone Has To Do It!

4 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy with a normal life, married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. They’re even about to have their first child. Yes, Charlie’s doing okay—until people start dropping dead around him, and everywhere he goes a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Charlie Asher, it seems, has been recruited for a new position: as Death.

It’s a dirty job, but hey! Somebody’s got to do it.

My Thoughts

This book was so funny. If you are easily offended than Christopher Moore may not be for you. His humour always has a very religious basis, and usually full of sex and profanity. Only Christopher Moore can have his main character, Charlie, get in a fight with someone about “Finding Jesus”

“In a way, Charlie started to enjoy the notoriety of being the guy with the cute little girl and the two giant dogs. When y ou have to maintain a secret identity, you can’t help but relish a little public attention. And Charlie did, until the day he and Sophie were stopped on a side street on Russian Hill by a bearded man in a long cotton caftan and a woven hat.

Sophie was old enough by then to do a lot of her own walking, although Charlie kept a piggyback kid sling with him so he could carry her when she got tired (but more often he would just balance her while she rode on the back of Alvin or Mohammed).

The bearded man passed a little too closely to Sophie and Mohammed growled and imposed himself between the man and the child.

“Mohammed, get back here,” Charlie said.

It turned out the hellhounds could be trained, especially if you only told them to do things they were going to do anyway. (“Eat, Alvin. Good boy. Poop now. Excellent.”)

“Why do you call this dog Mohammed?” asked the bearded man.

“Because that’s his name.”

“You should not have called this dog Mohammed.”

“I didn’t call the dog Mohammed,” Charlie said. “His name was Mohammed when I got him. It was on his collar.”

“It is blasphemy to call a dog Mohammed.”

“I tried calling him something else, but he doesn’t listen. Watch. Steve, bite this man’s leg? See, nothing. Spot, bite off this man’s leg. Nothing. I might as well be speaking Farsi. You see where I’m going with this?”

“Well, I have named my dog Jesus. How do you feel about that?”

“Well, then I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you’d lost your dog.”

“I have not lost my dog.”

“Really? I saw these flyers all over town with ‘Have You Found Jesus?’ on them. It must be another dog named Jesus. Was there a reward? A reward helps, you know.” Charlie noted that more and more lately, he had a hard time resisting the urge to fuck with people, especially when they insisted upon behaving like idiots.

“I do not have a dog named Jesus and that doesn’t bother you because you are a godless infidel.”

“No, really, you can not name your dog anything you want and it won’t bother me. But, yes, I am a godless infidel. At least that’s how I voted in the last election.” Charlie grinned at him.”

Or explain to us the “Evolution of Stripper Names” so eloquently,

“I’ve spent some time in strip joints, Charlie. I’m not proud of it, but it’s sort of what you do when you’re a cop. And you pick up on the pattern of stripper names.”

“Didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, and there’s sort of a progression going back to the fifties: Bubbles, Boom Boom, and Blaze begat Bambi, Candy, and Jewel, who begat Sunshine, Brandy, and Cinnamon, who begat Amber, Brittany, and Brie, who begat Reagan, Morgan, and Madison. Madison is a stripper name.”

“Ray, you weren’t even alive in the fifties.”

“No, I wasn’t alive during the forties either, but I know about World War Two and big-band music. I’m into history.”

The characters are all loveable in their own completely messed up ways; Charlie (the typical beta male) , Ray (the ex-cop turned shop keep looking for love in all the (very) wrong places) , Lily (the young Goth who wished to be Death) , Jane (the sister of Charlie to whom he is going to lose all of his good suits) , and the amazingly hilarious babysitters Mrs. Korjev (to whom everything is “like bear) and Mrs. Ling (who will eventually eat every pet in the neighbourhood) . If you want to relax and laugh at Death for a while…. Literally, I highly recommend this book! But, don’t just take my word, check it out for yourselves!!

Amazon U.S

Amazon Canada

Amazon U.K

A Dirty Job is Best Served With a

Grim Reaper

I got this recipe from A Healthy Life For Me

Ingredients

  • 1oz Kahlua
  • 1oz Rum
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine

Directions

  1. Grab a whisky tumbler and fill with ice
  2. Pour in Kahlua
  3. Pour in Rum
  4. Pour in Grenadine
  5. Stir before drinking
  6. CHEERS!!

Mrs. Saint and the Defectives

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4 out of 5 Stars

When Markie’s marriage falls apart after her husband has an affair that goes public (if he had just kept it quiet, they could have worked it out!) Markie packs up her things and her son Jesse and moves to a small bungalow that is complete with no room, and a very nosy neighbour to make that cramped space seem even more cramped!

“Markie’s property was tiny—there were only a few feet of lawn space between the house and the property line. This meant that neither Markie nor Mrs. Saint could have a conversation in their yards, or even inside their houses if the windows were open, without the other hearing. Markie had taken to whispering to Jesse when they spoke on the patio and to making sure her kitchen window was closed before she called down the basement stairs to let him know the pizza was ready, or that she was going up to her bedroom to watch TV, or any other announcement that might elicit a disapproving finger wag from her neighbor. She made work-related phone calls from the patio from time to time but never personal ones—those she took inside, from the corner of her bedroom farthest away from her neighbor’s house.”

Mrs. Saint Denis (or just Mrs. Saint to those who will just butcher the pronunciation of her name), complete with her Defectives (what she calls those who work for her) are on a mission to take charge of Markie’s life. From trying to hang her artwork, to giving her advice about how to raise and feed her Son, Markie can’t seem to get what she thinks she wants in life… which is just some peace and quiet. She doesn’t need these strangers pushing their way into her life… or does she? And why is Mrs. Saint so secretive? She wants to pry into all aspects of Markie and Jesse’s life, but she will not give anything in return. Is she really who she says she is?

Excerpt

 

From the closer vantage point, Markie could see she had been generous in her estimate of seventy-five years and one hundred pounds—she should have added ten years and subtracted as many pounds. The woman wore an expensive-looking linen suit, and diamonds flashed from her ears, collarbone, and a few fingers, making Markie wonder if part of the reason she seemed so cross was that she and her equally well-dressed husband were being kept from some important event. Before Markie could tell the woman they needn’t have disrupted their plans, a jeweled finger wagged in her face. But only barely—the tiny woman had to stretch her arm high to get it close to Markie’s chin.

“The small boxes, I was prepared to let you take,” she said in a thick French accent. “Even avec la pluie—with the rain. And then les autres petites choses—the other small things. Those lamps, the pillows, your suitcases, and the such.”

Markie and Jesse exchanged glances. It was clear their new neighbor had been watching as they unloaded the truck.

“Mais, une table?” she continued. “Et . . .” She leaned around them, peering into the truck at the couches and bed frames waiting to be carried inside. “Non. Ce n’est pas raisonnable!” She put one blue-veined hand on Markie’s arm, the other on Jesse’s, and steered them to the giant oak tree on the lawn beside the driveway. They could hear the rain pelting the canopy of leaves above, but not a drop made it through. “We will wait here,” she said, “in the underneath, and let them finish.”

Jesse seemed thrilled for the break, but Markie checked her watch and said, “I appreciate the help. I really do. But I have to get the truck back in less than an hour. So we need all hands on deck here, including the four of ours.” She indicated her hands and her son’s, and motioned for the boy to go with her to the truck. He widened his eyes in protest, and she was about to snap, “Jesse—now!” when the hand on her arm clamped more tightly.

“Non,” the woman said, with a single hard shake of her head. “This will not help. You will be getting in their way only.”

She pointed to the walkway leading to the bungalow, where the older man was practically running with Jesse’s futon mattress on his head while the younger one trotted along behind with an ottoman balanced on a TV stand. The elder worked his way into the house and was outside again, holding the screen door wide, by the time his partner reached him.

“Thanks,” the younger man said.

The other responded, “De rien,” before jogging back to the truck.

As much as Markie resented being held hostage under her own (for the length of her lease term) tree, she realized the woman was right—she and Jesse would only interrupt the men’s choreography. She could see inside the truck, and she was amazed at the progress they had made already. Thanks to them, she was certain to make it back to the rental place in time. Plus, her son was enjoying the rest, and the truth was, she and her aching muscles were, too. So she stood under the oak tree with Jesse and their petite captor and allowed her weary body to enjoy the break.

From time to time, she saw the older man look over at the woman, who lowered her chin or turned her head or raised a shoulder, each gesture garnering an understanding nod from him, after which he issued a soft-voiced command to the younger one. She’s an ancient infield coach in jewels and pumps, Markie thought. Even better: she’s Yoda in a St. John suit.

Smiling to herself, she tried to catch Jesse’s eye to let him know she had something funny to tell him. She could picture his slow, tilted nod and half grin as he said, “Nice one, Mom.” But he was staring down the street, and when he turned back to her, his lips were twisted, his way of cutting off a frown before it could take hold.

Markie realized, too late, that he must have been on watch again for Kyle, and that the self-congratulatory grin on her face was not the right response for a boy whose father was now more than two hours late. He untwisted his lips, allowing his frown to fully form before it morphed into a scowl, and Markie could hear the words he wasn’t saying: We wouldn’t have needed his help moving in the first place if you hadn’t divorced him and then sold my childhood home!

Before she could readjust her mouth into a more sympathetic shape, he let out a huff and turned, and she could tell he was about to walk away. Distance and silence: Jesse’s two answers to any conflict lately. He took a step, but before he could take a second, the old woman reached out her other hand and caught him by the back of his shirt, and to Markie’s surprise, Jesse took a step backward, returning to his original position.

“Oui,” the woman said, patting his arm. “You will stay.” He nodded obediently, but he didn’t look at her, and he would not meet his mother’s gaze.

To break the tension, Markie tried to introduce herself and her son to her new neighbor, but she could only get out “By the way, my name is—” before the other woman gave a quick, emphatic shake of her head and raised an index finger to her lips.

“See-lonce,” she whispered, gesturing with her chin to the men on the ramp as though they were competitors at a golf tournament and any noise might cause them to miss the championship shot.

My God, she’s bossy, Markie thought, more amused than irritated. It was one thing for the woman to assume Jesse would obey; he was a child. But for her to expect another adult to accede, particularly an adult who (unbeknownst to the older woman) had spent decades perfecting the art of ignoring her own parents’ commands, was so unreasonable it was funny. Markie flashed the woman a magnanimous smile. She has no idea who she’s dealing with.

“I really must get back to it,” she said, taking a step toward the house. She wasn’t eager to resume carrying things, but she could hold the door open for the men, at least, direct them where to set things down, clear a path for them among the boxes and other items she and Jesse had tossed haphazardly inside the door earlier.

The grip on Markie’s arm tightened. “Attendez. Wait.”

Had it sounded like another command, Markie might have laughed and walked off, but the woman’s words were quiet this time, with no hard edge of instruction. Her mouth was softer, too, no longer set in a ferocious line, and as she tracked the men’s movements, Markie could see a certain brightness in her eyes, the kind Markie’s own took on when she watched Jesse do something clever.

“Attendez,” she said again, even more quietly, the word more a declaration of wonder than a command, and because Markie knew how lovely it was to feel what the other woman seemed to be feeling, she stopped trying to talk or move. Instead, she looked down at the gray-white curls, immaculately set, of the person forcing her and Jesse to stand there together, and she smiled.

The “common” in “common enemy” was a start. It would give Jesse and her something to talk about later, at least. Something to shake their heads at and laugh about: the crazy old neighbor lady who spied on them for who knew how long before bolting out of her house to bark orders at them in French. How she held them captive for so long despite being half Markie’s weight and a quarter Jesse’s height. The way she managed, with nothing more than a series of well-timed nods, one or two words, and the grip of a hand, to choreograph both the rapid unloading of a moving truck and a brief détente between a reticent teen and his mother.”

Review

What a beautiful, funny book!! I love Mrs. Saint and all of her “Defectives” Even though, as Markie points out, that may not be the nicest thing to call them! Ronda, the cook who can’t cook, Bruce, the gardener who takes more time re-planting things than doing anything else, Patty, the maid who spend more time sitting outside smoking than actually cleaning ANYTHING and Frederick…. no one really knows what he does! They are characters who just get more and more lovable as the story delves deeper and deeper into their lives and how they came to work for the mysterious Mrs. Saint. Even characters who hold little importance were AMAZINGLY written! One of my favourite characters was Markie’s boss, Gregory. He’s not in it a lot, but everything involving him had me laughing out loud!!

““So . . . ,” he said, and when no other words came to him, he rocked on his heels and balled up his fists, holding them a foot or so apart. Stepping forward, he took what she believed was meant to be a golf swing. “I’ve been looking at your numbers from the past two weeks,” he said. He looked past her, pretending to watch his invisible ball land, then flattened a palm and used it as a visor to shield his eyes from the imaginary sun. “Ah, there it is,” he said. “Right near the, uh, cup . . . thing. With the, um, flag.””

“Gregory clasped his hands over his head and attempted a side bend, but the weight shift put him off balance, and he had to thrust an arm out against the wall of a nearby cube to catch himself. Recovering, he patted the cube wall as though he had been making a planned inspection of it all along, and then he shuffled back into the center of the hallway. He wiped a great deal of sweat from his forehead, checked his step-counter again, and smiled.”

This book made me laugh, and it made me cry. It was an amazing story with even better characters! There is so much to reveal and so much growth within it that you never want it to end!

Mrs. Saint and the Defectives is Best Served with 

A French 75 Cocktail

This was the PERFECT COCKTAIL for this book! Not only is it classic and refined like Mrs Saint, it’s also French and 75 is Mrs. Saint’s EXACT AGE!! ….or IS IT?? Lol! You’ll have to read it to find out!!

french 75.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ounces gin (depending on your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Champagne

Directions

  1. Pour the liquor, juice, and syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute that is at least half full of ice.
  4. Carefully fill with Champagne
  5.  CHEERS!!

Happy Groundhog Day!! With Kindred by Octavia Butler

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So, in honour of Groundhog Day I decided to read a book that involved time loops…. but, I couldn’t find one. I’m actually glad that I couldn’t think of one because I wound up finding a book that was on my TBR shelf that had to do with time travel that I had been meaning to read for a while, and right after I started reading it I had Kim over at By Hook or by Book  remind me that it’s Black History Month, so this book was perfect for both! I’m so glad I read it as it was a very powerful and inspiring read. It was a great snowy day to curl up and devour this book because…

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kindred

5 out of 5 Stars

“I closed my eyes and saw the children playing their game again. “The ease seemed so frightening,” I said. “Now I see why.”

“What?”

“The ease. Us, the children… I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.”

Edana (Dana) Franklin is leading a simple life as an author in 1976 with her husband Kevin when she begins to get pulled into the 1800s with nothing her and Kevin can do to stop it.

“He frowned a little, shook his head. “You vanished.” He seemed to have to force the words out. “You were here until my hand was just a couple of inches from you. Then, suddenly, you were gone. I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there. Then you were back again and on the other side of the room.”

She is being called back to help one of her white ancestors, Rufus Weylin, who happens to be the son of a Plantation owner and an owner of slaves. It is only her that can continue to save his life to keep her timeline safe

“Again, what would have happened if the boy had drowned? Would he have drowned without me? Or would his mother have saved him somehow? Would his father have arrived in time to save him? I must be that one of them would have saved him somehow. His life could not depend on the actions of his unconceived descendant. No matter what I did, he would have to survive to father Hagar, or I could not exist. That made sense.”

When Kevin manages to hold her and follow her in to the past, there is more to worry about than before. It was hard enough staying free when she is a black woman alone in the 1800s, but can she and Kevin survive in this time without it changing their relationship?

“I felt almost as though I really was doing something shameful, happily playing whore for my supposed owner. I went away feeling uncomfortable, vaguely ashamed.”

Also, if Kevin had to be holding Dana to get there… what would happen if they were to be separated and she was called back home?

“Why did you try to stop me from coming?”

“I was afraid for you.”

“For me!”

“At first, I didn’t know why. I just had the feeling you might be hurt trying to come with me. Then when you were here, I realized that you probably couldn’t get back without me. That means if we’re separated, you’re stranded here for years, maybe for good.”

He drew a deep breath and shook his head. “There wouldn’t be anything good about that.”

“Stay close yo me. If I call, come quick.”

This was an amazing and insightful read. They definitely don’t sugar coat the lives of the slaves and they way that they were treated. This book contains scenes of graphic violence, but it’s a very real story of the corruptions of those times. Even the lives of Dana and Kevin in 1976 still had their trials as it tells of the troubles with their families when they were married showing that even 100 years in the future times may not have changed as much as we wished they had…. even looking at the world now. Things will never be perfect, but hopefully we will all never stop learning.

Kindred is Best Served with a Time Warp

time warp

Obviously, it was hard to choose a drink to go with this book as I did not want to seem insensitive to the content of the book. It is a very powerful read, so I went with a lighter fruity drink to help soften the heaviness of the content. I focused on the Time travel aspect of the book as that was the first reason for me choosing to read it, and I am immensely glad that I did.

Ingredients

  • 2ounce melon liqueur
  • 1ounce Coconut Rum
  • 1ounce pineapple juice
  • 1ounce blue curacao
  • 1ounce raspberry cordial (you can get away with grenadine)
  • 2 cherries
  • cracked ice

Directions

  1. Shake melon liqueur, coconut rum, pineapple juice and ice then strain into a 5oz cocktail or martini glass.
  2. Add raspberry cordial and blue curacao, garnish with cherry(ies) and serve.
  3. CHEERS!!

On Her Majesty’s Supernatural Secret Service

the rook

4 out of 5 Stars

“Dear You,

The body you are wearing used to be mine. The scar on the inner left thigh is there because I fell out of a tree and impaled my leg at the age of nine. The filling in the far left tooth on the top is a result of my avoiding the dentist for four years. But you probably care little about this body’s past. After all, I’m writing this letter for you to read in the future. Perhaps you are wondering why anyone would do such a thing. The answer is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is because I knew it would be necessary. 

The complicated answer could take a little more time.”

Imagine waking up, in the rain, surrounded by bodies, with no idea who you were. That is what happened to Myfawny (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas. She has no prior knowledge to her life except from letters that her past self (if it IS her past self!) has written.

“Your main concern will be to master the running and politics of the domestic Checquy forces. You’ll be meeting with and coordinating the teams of Pawns who work in the country and assigning them to various tasks. You will also oversee the management of the Rooney, working closely with Gestalt. 

Oh, that’s going to be fun, Myfawny thought. 

And you meet regularly with the other members of the Court to coordinate the Checquy’s movements. It’s all fairly self-explanatory, really. 

Oh, well thanks an awful lot, Thomas, Myfawny thought bitterly. It sounds like I’m the Defense Minister of Ghosts and Goblins, but as long as the job is ‘all fairly self-explanatory,’ I’ve no doubt it will be fine. The country might be overrun by brownies and talking trees, but what the hell-there’s always Australia! 

Worst yet, there is a betrayer in her midst at the Checquy Group where she works. A Secret Service group of “talented” individuals who come in handy in certain delicate situations.

“So, I supposed you’re wondering all about the Checquy Group. Oh, and please note that it is pronounced Sheck-Eh. French influences, I think. Or possibly warped by generations of employees mispronouncing it.” 

“The Checquy Group is composed of hundreds of individuals. Some are loke me-they possess powers beyond the normal population. The non-powered members are simply the cream of their respective occupational crops.”

Stepping into the person she was, apparently a boring stepped on pencil pusher, doesn’t seem plausible anymore,

“Myfawny grimly contemplated the content of the residences’s wardrobe. Did Thomas wear nothing but black and gray? She asked herself. I mean, there are thirty good-quality suits here, and not a single one with any personality. No skirts cut above the knee, no blouse that isn’t white. 

The new Myfawny steps up to take charge of situations and her own new-found (to her new self) powers of controlling people’s bodies and minds. Taking on Evil Fungi, Grafters and even Dragons.

This was a great read and I can’t wait to continue the series! It took a little while for me to get into, but with thrill around every corner at whether someone will figure out that Myfawny is not herself, or who she can trust, it quickly sucked me in. It was like James Bond meets X-Men (o.k, maybe less James Bond and more Johnny English since she doesn’t QUITE know what she’s doing some of the time)

“” Charming, ” she said, and noticed Shanty looking at her strangely. “Well aside from the massive blanket of fungus covering everything. But if you look beyond that, it’s really not in bad taste.” Shanty carried on staring at her. “Oh, shut up. Do you see any signs of the Barghests?” 

“No,” Shanty said in a stage whisper. She was holding her large pistol in her hand and looking very tense. “What is wrong with you?” Myfawny whispered back. “You look like you expect someone to grab your ass.” 

“I’d be okay with that, as long as it was a personal,” whispered Shantay. “It’s when it’s the decor reaching out to cop a feel that I get nervous.””

All in all a highly recommended read for all of you sucked into the “Super Hero” fad going on in full force out there!

The Rook is Best Served With 

Mind Eraser

mind eraser

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur
  • 4 ounces soda water (or enough to top off an old fashioned glass)
  • lime wedge for garnish

Directions

  1. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice.
  2. Pour the vodka and coffee liqueur over the ice.
  3. Fill with soda water.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve with a straw

*The soda is open for interpretation. I like plain soda water, but I have seen this drink served with lemon-lime soda and ginger ale before as well. So pick whatever you think best!!

Cheers!!

Spaceballs Meets Futurama With a Pinch of Hitchhiker’s Guide!

starship grifters

5 out of 5 stars

A story of the mis-adventures of Rex Nihilo and his robot companion Sasha narrated by Sasha.

This was SUCH a funny book! One of the best sci-fi books I’ve read for a long time. Narrated by Sasha, who is a robot that is programmed never to lie it is even more funny because her honesty gets Rex in some sticky situations.

Rex Nihilo is an immoral, gambling idiot who thinks he is the most amazing person ever. Every time he opened his mouth all I could hear in my head was Zapp Brannigan from Futurama. He always thinks he’s right and knows the best way to do things, while in the background he has his robot Sasha (his Kif Kroker) as his voice of reason, trying to guide him down a better path to not getting himself killed.

“I inquired about Rex’s plans once we got there. As usual, this was a mistake. Rex had no plans.

“You realize that you’re not going to be able to keep up this ruse.” I said, “A simple I.D check will reveal that you are not Gavin Larvaton. What do you think these rebels will do to you then?”

“You know what your problem is Sasha” Rex said, “you always want to have every little detail worked out in advance.”You’ve got to leave some room for improvisation.”

“My concern sir, is that you’ve given such a wide berth to improvisation that you’ve left no room for planning.”

“You wound me, Sasha.” Rex sniffed. “I’ll have you know that while you’ve been fiddling with dials and whatnot, I’ve worked out the broad outlines of a plan:

Step 1. Scam as much money out of  Princess whats-her-name and this Frenti group as humanly possible.

Step 2. Wreak vengeance on Gavin Larvaton by spreading the rumour that he’s aiding the Rebellion.

Step 3. Take a much needed vacation. Possibly in the Regulian sector.

Steps 1 and 2 won’t necessarily occur in that order by the way. Come to think of it, I might bump up step 3 a couple of notches. Yes, a vacation might be just what we need.

Sasha, plot out a course to the Regulian sector!”

“You forget, sir, that we have no money and, in fact are in hock to the tune of 1.6 billion credits. Also, on board, we have a partisan of the Rebellion.”

“Blast it Sasha! Alright, we’ll do it your way. Let’s hope this princess is obscenely wealthy, and stupid, and gorgeous. In that order.”

The best are the S’Postles (or Space Apostles) which are apparently the Jehova’s Witnesses of space who will seek you out and convert you to the worship of the “Secrets of Space”

“You just won’t believe how hugely, vastly, mind-bogglingly big it is!”

This quote from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that they threw into the story made me laugh out loud, and the absurd places where the S’Postles show up was great!

I HIGHLY recommend this book to any lovers of “Spaceballs: The Movie”, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, “Futurama”, or to anyone who just wants a good laugh.

Starship Grifters is Best Served With

A Rex Nihilo

As told in the story Sasha had put things online to lead people astray when trying to track down Rex Nihilo. He’s a “master hydroponic gardener from Kraan”, “the inventor of the super-sonic can opener”, “OR A DRINK MADE FROM REGULIAN VODKA, PARSNIPS AND TOMATO JUICE”

Ok. So, I couldn’t get the Regulian vodka at such short notice. Lol! So, I had to settle for just plain Vodka.

rex nihlio

Since Sasha isn’t big on the exact details of the drink I had to trial and error my own amounts!

I first juiced my own parsnips!

parsnip juice

Just to give you an idea of how many parsnips to get, this is the juice from 4. It gave me 5 oz of juice, but you really only require 3 oz (5 was a little sweet and not a lot of flavour)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Vodka (Regulian if you have it!)
  • 3 oz Parsnip Juice
  • Top with Tomato Juice (I cheated a little here after some testing and used V8 to add a little extra nutrition and flavour, if you do go with Original and NOT low sodium. It needs the salt)
  • Added Salt and Pepper (I used Celery Salt… because..LOVE!)

Directions:

  1. Add Ice in Glass if you want some
  2. Add Vodka
  3. Then Parsnip Juice
  4. Top with Tomato Juice, Salt and Pepper
  5. STIR WELL BECAUSE AT FIRST YOU HAVE….

rex nihilo 1

DEFINITELY LOOKS SPACEY TO ME!

It tastes better than it looks AND it’s good for you!! ….minus the vodka I suppose….

CHEERS!

 

 

 

 

Revelations 22:22

tortured dreams

4.5 out of 5 Stars

“Revelations 22:22 And mankind came unto the Lord and begged his forgiveness. And the Lord heard them. He sent forth a Defender of Mankind. And then mankind began to question the Defender and went back unto the Lord and asked ‘why have you sent him. He is evil, we dream of him,” And the Lord said to them ‘he is wicked, defending mankind is his punishment.’ And mankind said ‘take this evil thing from us. He cannot help us.’ And the Lord said ‘Nothing can help you.'” 

There is no Revelations 22:22. Revelations ends with chapter 22, verse 21. Making your own bible passage is a bit off. Making is sound authentic is creepy.”

“People love a good horror story, especially when it is real. I have a Ph.D in History. I wrote my thesis on the evolution of torture as a crime deterrent in the Middle Ages. I didn’t set out to write that as my thesis, but like everything else, a thesis evolves. It went over well and I am currently turning it into a book for the layman. My name is Aislinn Cain and my life is a horror story.”

Aislinn Cane is the newest recruited member to a Serial Killer Crime unit with the U.S Marshall’s. They are a trial unit containing 4 (now 5) members who could never pass a psych evaluation. All more than a little broken they contain an asshole alcoholic, a techie goth party animals and a Pshycologist and Doctor, both Ex Navy SEALS. All with way above average intelligence levels. Now adding Aislinn to the bunch, a young woman who  has had a dark past as someone who lost a sister and a father in a domestic violence call and a brother to prison, and is also a “Serial Killer magnet” having survived two attacks by the age of 20. She suffers from a severe anxiety disorder and a pesky personality disorder (A-Typical Sociopathic Tendencies) that cause her to lack the ability to feel empathy or sympathy.

Quite the strange bunch, but possibly the exact bunch needed to find a new serial killer on the loose.

Someone is copying an old obscure German book on torture and making in reality. Literally translated to The Book of Torture, it depicts scenes ranging from Vlad the Impaler impaling peasants on wooden pike to the Ancient Greek torture device the “Brazen Bull” and he is making sure that he leaves clues to mess with the group along the way. Always taking 10 women at a time and trying the keep them for three days, it is a gruesome find when the team get called in to witness the aftermath of his work. Will they be able to stop the killer in time? Or will the killer gain an interest in the team through their games and make things very dangerous?

It was very difficult to choose a book written Hadena James to review as I have enjoyed a number of them so far. I chose the 1st of the series as it will introduce the characters and explain backstories a little better , though, I can honestly say that you can jump in anywhere and it is still explained well enough that you will not feel like you are missing anything. This was, I would say, my favourite novel of hers so far just because I love medieval torture, and I love serial killers!  …ok. That came out wrong. I find medieval torture and serial killers very interesting?? Still a little weird maybe, but I feel like you understand what I mean.

Some things in this book may be somewhat graphic for some readers. I loved how descriptive and authentic the torture devices and murders were. Again… weird. But, necessary. I would highly recommend this entire series, especially toRum, those who are fans of writers such as Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, etc. but, I do feel that these books have very different and more interesting crimes to solve!

If you’d like to check out more on Hadena James feel free to check out her Facebook page! Facebook.com/HadenaJames

Tortured Dreams is Best Served with

The Serial Killer Cocktail

 serial killer

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Spiced Rum
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 2 1/2 oz Orange Juice
  • 2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 3/4 oz Grenadine

Directions

  1. Fill Shaker with ice
  2. Mix liquor and juice in shaker
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into ice filled highball glass
  5. Slowly pour grenadine down the side of the glass to settle
  6. CHEERS!!

Time is on my Side…..

what the night knows

3 out of 5 Stars

This was my santaSanta  read (Read a book over 400 pages) for my December Reading Challenge through The Perks of Being a Book Addict. I know it’s been a while since I posted one.. and I have 5 more to go!

I know that my title may have you believing that this book has something to do with time travel or something like that. Well, that’s not the case. I actually chose this title for 2 reasons. Reason the First: It reminded me a lot of the movie “Fallen” if any of you has ever seen that movie, you will understand the reference.  Reason the Second: This killer does indeed have all the time on his side.

fallen

John Calvino’s family was murdered by a man names Alton Turner Blackwood many years ago, with him being the one lone survivor. After growing up to become a Homicide detective a copy-cat murder crops up that is too close in description for comfort…

“Back in the day, Alton Turner Blackwood had carried with his three silver bells, each the size of a thimble clustered at the end of a handle. They were not shaped as flowers, and were not as finely made as those on Celine’s shelf of small treasures. Blackwood had been a psychopathic ritualist with an elaborate post homicide ceremony that suggested a strange belief system and Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. When everyone in his target family was dead, he returned to the victims in the order the killings had occurred and arranged them on their backs. With drops of epoxy he clued coins on the cadavers eyes. Quarters that he painted black, always with the eagle facing up, and in the mouth, on the tongue he places a brown disc that the crime lab identified as dried excrement. Then the killer folded the corpses hands at the groin, around a chicken egg. To be sure the hands would not release the egg he tied thumb to thumb and little finger to little finger with string. Days prior to a slaughter he prepared the eggs by drilling two tiny holes in each to drain the contents. Then he inserted a tightly rolled slip of paper through the hole into the well dried hollow shell. If the body was male the paper carried the hand printed word “servus” If female “servat”  they were the masculine and feminine forms of the latin noun that meant slave.  After the cadavers had been accessorised to suit him, Blackwood stood over each, ringing the Triune bells.”

I don’t want to delve too much into the synopsis of this book as it’s easy to give spoilers and I don’t want to do that. I’ve been a huge fan of Dean Koontz  for many years, but I was beginning to lose faith in his writing in these past 5-10 years or… maybe more (I’m always so bad at judging time…ha ha.) but this novel (although, he’s getting a little more wordy and perverse like a certain other author I know… *cough*Stephen King*cough*) It was still more of a blast to his long ago more supernatural thriller style writings… although, still not as good as his works from many years ago.

What the Night Knows is Best Served with 

Death’s Door Gin Martini

gin martini

You may be knocking on Death’s Door and you may not even know it… and you may not want to see what answers!

Now… this is a tough one to give instruction or amounts for… I highly recommend that you all have a martini night and do your own experimenting through trial and error (you won’t regret it!) It’s hard with martini’s because they can be wet or dry, stirred or shaken, would you prefer a garnish of an onion? an olive? some lemon? It’s all personal preference. For a gin martini, I’m a stirred (I find that shaking any martini, gin or vodka, bruises the alcohol and makes it harsher in taste… keep that in mind), dry, and olives are my favourite.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 oz Death’s Door Gin (or whatever gin you wish to use)
  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • ice
  • Whatever garnish pleases you!

Directions

  1. Either put gin and vermouth in shaker with ice and shake or Put in pitcher or vessel and stir
  2. Add garnish
  3. Feel free to add some lemon, olive or onion juice if you prefer it “dirty”
  4. CHEERS!!

 

 

 

The Trip of a Lifetime..Or a Lifetime In a Trip

fender

4 out of 5 Stars

Brennan Glover was a man who’d lost everything, except for his dog Fender and the bottle. His wife and daughter are killed in a car accident and he’s given up on the life he no longer feels the right to continue, until his friends force him to take the road trip that they’d planned all those years ago with their fallen friend Colin. Now is the time to fulfil that promise as it may mean finding more than the road to California, it may mean finding that life really is still worth living.

This is a beautiful story of love, loss and the friendship between man and beast, and man and man. Leading us through Brennan’s grief as well as reflecting on his life leading up to that point. Meeting his wife’s bourgeois parents, Carter and Eleanor

‘Carter shook his head, stroked his chin. “If you’re going to pursue journalism, Brennan…..anything, for that matter, at least anything you want to be successful at, you’re going to have to learn to see the big picture.”

“Like trading blood for oil?” Brennan caught the sharp stare Rosie gave him and considered that nothing good could come of talking politics. He hoped to transition to something else and began poking at his soup.

“Like learning that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good,” said Carter.’

To meeting his companion Fender for the first time,

The dog put his wet paws on Brennan’s leg and stood upright, flicking his tongue on the tip of Brennan’s dripping nose.

What about…” He was going to say Colin but decided against it-too soon, but maybe something Colin loved. Basketball? Salted cod dinners? His baby sister, Emily? Singing and playing the guitar? Guitar….Brennan’s mind slowly made its way to Colin’s beloved Stratocaster in candy apple red, made by…”Fender…I’ll call ya Fender!”

I couldn’t imagine how tormented Brennan would be going through this grief and loss, but Brent Jones will make you start to understand. He will make you laugh,

‘”It’s called Elliott Bay Trail. Named after Elliott Bay.”
“I thought this was… Pugg-it sound”
“Puget sound. And it is.”
“it’s two things? Like they gave it two names?”
“It’s, uh… Puget sound’s a little further north, I think.”
“like in Canada?”
“Not that far north.”
“so, when does it stop being a bay and start being a sound?”
“it’s always a sound, but, uh, this middle part here, they call that part Elliott Bay, I think”

And it will DEFINITELY make you cry… I won’t give you a quote for that because I want you to find those all on your own. Actually CHALLENGE TIME!! I want you ALL to read this book, and if any of you read right to the end and your eyes remain dry? I need you to comment below, because I need to know!! …and then I will promptly call you a liar.

This was a Rollercoaster of a journey and it teaches that everyone needs to “Find a way to live the life ahead of you, instead of the life behind you.”

If you’d like to check out more works by Brent Jones feel free to check him out at:

Fender is Best Served With

A Regal Beagle

regal beagle 2

Along with a box of kleenex, I would recommend a good stiff drink… I know, a little strange with a book about a man trying to crawl OUT of his bottle.. But, this drink is purely medicinal!! I swear!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ oz vodka
  • 2 lime wedges (no smaller than 1/8 slices)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 5 oz grapefruit juice
  • Splash of dry white wine

Directions

  1. Muddle lime with honey until all the juices have left the lime and is mixed with the honey, then add ice. (Take your time here. Muddling is an art!)
  2. Pour vodka over ice and mix into muddled lime and honey.
  3. Pour grapefruit juice over the top and add a splash of wine. Stir a bit to get all the flavors mixed.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
  5. CHEERS!

 

 

 

A Deal With The Devil Never Felt So….Weird.

the weirdness       gingerbread man

3 out of 5 Stars

So, this was my Gingerbread Man for my December Holiday Reading Challenge (A book from a male point of view)

Told from the point of view of Billy Ridgeway a struggling, would be, writer who’s life is about to change in many very weird ways… I had such a hard time rating this book. I wanted to like it, but every time I read something I liked I would turn the page and go “…huh??” the story was all over the place. It felt like it was trying to be strange in a fun way (almost a feeling of “John Dies at the End” by David Wong) but it was almost trying TOO hard to the point where, just when you think you have the story figured out, it falls apart.

Some of the conversation made me laugh

“Take a look at this.”

“A banana,” Anil says.

“Right, but, where did it come from?”

Anil blinks.

“I mean, yes,” Billy says. “It’s a banana. We get bananas from, what, from the bodega.”

“Sure,” Anil says, patiently. He sips his Scotch. “Like a lottery ticket. Or cigarettes.”

“Well, sure,” Billy says. “Except a banana isn’t like a lottery ticket or cigarettes. I mean-it has to grow.”

“Cigarettes grow,” Anil says.

“Yeah, but-hear me out.”

“I’m hearing you out.”

“We live in Brooklyn.” Billy tries. “It’s the middle of November. And yet we can go into any corner store and buy a banana. Where do they come from? Who grew them? I mean, I go into the store to hit the ATM, and I see these bananas sitting there, and I just stand there for a second, in the store, looking at them, and I’m thinking about, like, Costa Rica or Ecuador or some shit and it’s just-I’m sorry, but it’s just blowing my mind a little.

“This took twenty minutes?” Anil says.

“I thought you, of all people, would appreciate the fundamental weirdness of the whole thing.”

“You left me here for twenty-two minutes,” Anil says. “Are you asking me to believe that you spent a significant portion of those twenty-two minutes staring at a banana in some kind of a trance? Forcing  the better-adjusted members of our fair city to steer around you to complete their own humble transactions?”

Billy frowns. “Admit that it’s weird.”

I feel like Billy views the world like I do, which made me really want to like the rest of the book… then The Judeo-Christian Devil shows up with his power point presentation and his great coffee and tries to make a deal… and the roller-coaster begins. Memory wipes, a Neko (Lucky Cat) that will destroy the world and magic sex ritual Hell Wolves. I will recommend this book because I did still enjoy it, and I really hope someone else will read it and tell ME if I like it or not! Ha Ha!

The Weirdness is best Served with

The Devil’s Margarita

20171208_215929

This drink was perfect for this book because it references the Devil AND it’s just Weird!! red wine in a margarita?? By the way… red wine in a margarita is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Oz Tequila Blanco
  • 3/4 Oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4 Oz Simple Syrup
  • Red Wine (such as a Cabernet or Carmenere)

Instructions

In a shaker filled with ice, pour in tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup.
Shake until chilled and pour into glass of choice.
Set a spoon at a 45 degree angle barely placed inside of the margarita. The back of the spoon should be facing the ceiling.
Pinch the top of the wine bottle with your finger and slowly pour red wine onto the back of the spoon and let it drizzle on the surface of the margarita.
Pour until you have about 1/4 inch of red wine in the glass.
Congratulations! You’ve made a really cool looking layered drink!