Modern English ~ A Review

Modern English was a perfect introduction to Rachel Spangler’s writing for me. Yes, this was my first Spangler book and I am proud to say I now consider myself a “Spanglerite”, or die-hard Spangler fan. (Hey, if Xena can have Xenites, Rachael can have Spanglerites)

I fell so hard for Vic & Sophia, and their friends. Each and every one of them breathed so true for me that I connected with them without hesitation. I watched them argue, crush and fall for each other, I sat in the pub and drank with them and I wanted to slap nobility, which was a first for me. The landscape that they called home was so well written that I could smell the grass, the water and the ale. And that castle? I fell in love with it too. If I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind, I’m pretty sure I could feel stone under my fingertips and be struck dumb by the beauty of such a grand old architectural wonder.

I read so many books that sometimes I’m immune to the sex scenes. But in Modern English I found the most cranial, sexiest, intelligent love-making I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. But even more so than that, Vic and Sophia were equals. Not by the end, but all the way along. Sophia was just too daft to see it. They were equal partners who challenged each other to reach for their dreams while they supported each other and challenged each other to grow And that? THAT made me fall in love with the book, the characters and most importantly, Spangler’s writing genius. And I don’t toss those words around often.

It is saddening that I cannot give this book more than five stars. It is worthy, every word, of ten stars.
My name is Carolyn, and I am an unashamed Spanglerite.

Modern English is a #WLW romance novel, so if that’s what you like to read, get your copy here. (Tell them Carolyn sent you)

Testimony

Testimony is based on a real-life case against a professor at UCLA suspended in 1952 (without pay) after being observed through her own window kissing another woman.
Can you say invasion of privacy?
Sorry, I digress.

Testimony’s main character, Gen, is based on the very real professor Martha Deane. I don’t know if Gen’s personality was entirely her own, or if it was borrowed from Professor Deane, but to me, Gen seemed as real as you or me. I could hear her voice in my head as she taught, as she had drinks with Fenton and tried to live life under the social-police radar. My heart broke for Fenton, and there were a few times I just wanted to pour him a drink and tell him it would get better.
All of the characters stood in their own limelight – sharply crafted, finely tuned in their own ways and each with their own struggles. Ruby became a favourite of mine too.

The homophobia of that time period was written as an appropriately tense undercurrent that dominated the entire landscape of the novel. You couldn’t help feel the danger underlying every decision, every conversation and almost every character. Over this dark skeleton, the author built a highly readable tale that stays with the reader long after the last word of the acknowledgements has been consumed.

This is a novel that should be required reading. For everyone. This is a novel that should be an award-winner.

Go get a copy at Bywater Books. Tell them Carolyn sent you.

A Feminist Tour de Force!

Blue McCarron has a Ph.D. in social psychology. She teaches and writes while living reclusively in an abandoned motel in the middle of the California desert with her Doberman, Bronte. A minister’s kid, she has an imprisoned felon for a twin and a broken heart from grieving over her lost lover, Misha. When a body is found trussed up in a public freezer and widow Muffin Crandall claims she killed an intruder in self-defense and then did some dumb things, including freezing the corpse for five years, Muffin’s brother Dan hires Blue to free his much older sister by analyzing her. It is apparent to Blue and forensic psychiatrist Rox that Muffin’s story is a hoax. But who is Muffin protecting? Who wants her dead? And, maybe more important, will Blue ever resolve her love for Misha and love again?

Complete with commentary by a Rastafarian Greek chorus in the form of ex-felon BB the Punk, the witty, suspenseful lesbian-detective thriller is hard to resist.

“Blue” is a different sort of book. I don’t mean the genre, it’s a murder mystery, but what is different from anything else I’ve read this year is that Blue doesn’t seem to follow genre conventions, and that’s refreshing and perplexing at the same time.
We have a main character with an unusual profession, who lives in an unusual place with a very unique past and a delightful dog with great taste in music, if a poor sense of timing. In fact, all the characters in this novel are stand-outs. You are given the information you need to know, and not a word more. And that is both different in this genre and highly refreshing.

You might think you know where this story is headed, but trust me when I tell you…nope.
All of the characters have very clear motivations, they are all true to themselves and their ideals and so very full of surprises.

The plot will keep you guessing, the editing is great and can we just take a moment to admire that cover?

This book gets my highest recommendation.
Find it at the Bywater Books website. Read it.
Ponder it when you’re done.
Roll it over in your mind like a full-bodied red wine for your mind.

You’ll be glad you did.

Home~A Review

Home

Can a chef from the Rose City find true love in the heart of Texas?

I was caught by the cover, so of course, I wanted to know the answer to that question!

I loved everything about this book, the cover, the descriptive passages painting a humid picture of Texas, the horses, and did I mention the cover? There is humour here, heartache, frustration, hope, and did I mention horses? The writing is top-notch. The characters are so real, you can feel their dreams, feel their disappointments, their passion and fears. I could smell the horses, see the stars, taste the food…oh, the food! The food alone is a great reason to read this book.
Seriously, I did not want this book to end. If I could give it fifteen stars, I would.
I will be reading this one again. It has definitely earned a place in my read-once-a-year-pile.

It’s that good.

And not just because of the horses.
Did I mention how much I love that cover?

Thank you to Jenn Alexander for a wonderfully captivating book, and Bywater Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review that resulted in my love affair with this book.