20 February 2024

Review: 'Murder Under A Honey Moon' by Abigail Keam

Marriage and Murder and Pirates -- Oh My!!!

New Mona Moon is always a cause for celebration. And a great excuse to tuck up with cookies and hot tea and a great read. Murder under a Honey Moon is yet another exciting book by Abigail Keam. 

Mona and Robert have tied the knot and, after an emergency trip to the Moon copper mine to sort that out, they're finally on the boat for their honeymoon. FINALLY!!! But, after all, the course of true love never ran smooth, as Shakespeare once noted. On the ship, they meet a few unsavory characters, have their cabin ransacked and Mona's jewels stolen, and then come across a very dead body investigating the theft. And what cruise on the high seas is ever complete without the threat of pirates? Poor Mona. Just can't catch a break.

It's been a while since I've been this glued to a novel. I came very close to reading straight through the night. Definitely hard to put down once you've started. Keam's ability to interweave historical figures into her narrative makes it all so real. Mona is a strong female character in a time when women knew their place and men ruled the world. But with her beloved Lord Farley at her side, the two make a dynamic power couple and the rules don't interfere. Once they get started investigating, they are unstoppable until the truth comes out. And believe me, it does. 

This is an excellent read. And as long as Ms. Keam keeps writing them, I'll keep reading them. So worth the time!  

Five out of Five stars for Murder Under A Honey Moon! Now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and any online bookseller.

Barnes & Noble

17 February 2024

Review: 'Red White & Royal Blue - The Movie


I can't believe I'm sitting here, weeping. I do love a good romance. Me, the cynical pervert. I'm crying over a really good romance!

Just finished watching Red White & Royal Blue after having just finished the book, and I was not disappointed. I usually am when I love a book and watch the movie thereafter. I usually avoid doing that because the movie turns out to be a bad imitation. But I can tell you, this ain't the case.

Casey McQuiston made some amazing characters in a compelling story. I should write half as well as she does. I love that book. I love Alex and Henry--together and apart. They're truly wonderful souls. But together, they're one romantic power couple. Each damaged in their own way, but they complement each other. And compliment each other. My favorite scene was the "Cake-tastrophe" scene (of course) that sets it all up. It was freaking hilarious. But the talks that Alex has with Henry to bolster his confidence and then the "discussion" with the King about Henry's freedom to love whom he chooses were heart felt and glorious as well. 

The movie doesn't disappoint. In fact, it complements and compliments the book. Taylor Zakhar Perez is the perfect Alex. He's got Alex's smart mouth, sarcastic soul, and gorgeous Latino good looks. Nicholas Galitzine is the perfect Henry. He's snooty and confident, then vulnerable and afraid, and the blond handsomeness of a true prince. These two together lit up the screen like a house on fire. Watching their romance was awesome. Uma Thurman was wonderful as Madame President Ellen Claremont and Clifton Collins Jr was equally divine as Oscar Diaz, her husband. 

McQuiston's story retains its flavor of humor and romantic inclinations with all the complications that such a romance can hold. Watching Alex and Henry navigate through the problems and setbacks, then fall into such heights of love and joy, I was so caught up in it that I sat here with a box of Kleenex on my knee while giggling madly at their antics. Yes, a few details were changed, a couple of characters left out, but I didn't miss them, really. The story focused where it needed to be and was just as compelling without them. 

I love the book. I love the movie. And another 5 out of 5 stars. Forget the "I don't read or do same sex romance" and just enjoy the beautiful story for what it is. A romantic fairytale for the ages and certainly for the modern day.

Red White & Royal Blue is streaming online at Amazon Prime. Worth the free week to watch. And maybe stick around for other good stuff on the channel too. 

16 February 2024

Review: 'Red, White, and Royal Blue' by Casey McQuiston--The Book

 As books go, this one was a little slow out of the gate--set up and exposition usually is. But, like a few other books I've ready, your patience will be rewarded. Once the two men come together, this takes off at a gallop and it's one hell of a wild ride, for sure.

Alex Claremont-Diaz is the son of the first woman president in the history of the US. His sworn, mortal enemy is Prince Henry of Wales in the UK. These two have had a tempestuous relationship since their first meeting and nothing has changed. Or has it? A fiasco at the wedding of Prince Philip, Henry's brother,--the two having a squabble at the reception ends up with them both in the cake. Literally--turns into an international incident. President's answer--you go there and make nice. OR ELSE!! Alex is determined to make the best of it and decides that the only way they can convince the world that they're besties is to start texting. Seeing each other socially on occasion. But friendship has a way of turning into something deeper. And there are always consequences to becoming lovers in a public forum. 

The two are a study in opposites. Alex is a foul mouthed, rebellious son with charisma and real love for the world of politics. He's an idealist who believes in doing good for the people. He's free, if not closeted and questioning. Henry is a true child of royalty, restricted and confined. He's always known who he is and he's not questioning, but he's closeted in more ways that one. Henry is also charismatic and a major romantic. Together, these two are madly in love and afraid of the world at the same time. Watching this play out between them brought me to giggles at times and tears at times. I got so deeply involved with their story that I pretty much forgot MY life. 

The pacing is delicious. Watching the romance bloom and blossom was perfect. The romance itself flowed along a logical progression of events without losing that sense of the romantic. They learn about each other in intimate terms. Nothing is glossed over, nothing is left out. And when the relationship turns physical, it's tasteful and so damn hot that I busted out a sweat, then had a drink and a cigarette.  

Ms. Mcquiston has turned out a brilliant book, a great read, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. This weekend, I plan on watching the movie. I hope it's as faithful to the book as I want it to be. That review will follow. 

In the meantime, five out of five stars. A must read for anyone--even if you're not into LGBTQ lit. If you want a great love story, this is just the thing.

Red White and Royal Blue is available at:

Barnes and Noble
Apple -- must be purchased through the Apple Bookstore on your Apple Device

31 December 2023

Review: "Saltburn" is a "Mr. Ripley" rehash without the charm

 I found an article whinging that "sexual antics" had no place in family entertainment and the movie Saltburn was mentioned specifically. Ooooo, depravity. Any article having a small hissy about depravity in film and preaching against such things certainly piques my interest. I said to myself, "Self," I says, "I simply must."

I really should have saved myself the time. 

Saltburn is certainly no holds barred in the story telling, I'll say that much for it. But it's such a tired cliche, it's not even worth the time it takes to watch it, And if there's a familiarity to the plot, it's not your imagination. You have seen this before. In fact, Matt Damon did it better in The Talented Mr. Ripley. I wasn't overly impressed with the plot then, either. 

Barry Keoghan plays the down-on-his-luck, scholarship student Oliver Quick, a socially inept young man who is only in Oxford by the grace of someone's largess. Ollie is looked down on by the wealthy elite of Oxford until the day he does a solid for the fantastically handsome, favored son Felix Catton, played by the gorgeous Jacob Elardi, and a friendship begins. Felix invites Oliver to his home at Saltburn, to relieve his boredom and things begin to fall apart so easily. The puppet master pulling the strings and watching the wealthy tapestry begin to unravel.

Gods, I wish I could say that the machinations were worth the watch, but they weren't. The sexual antics was about as titillating as a PG film. I've seen more racy Disney films than this. The plot was plodding, taking forever to develop and play out, and by the time the events did play out, I had stopped caring way earlier. The final scene of a naked Oliver dancing his way through the family mansion seemed so gratuitous that I was more bored than intrigued or aroused. 

Elardi's performance was fairly stereotypical as the rich, favored prince. Jude Law was, at least, real in his acting in "Ripley". The normally brilliant Richard Grant and Rosamund Pike did their best to inject life into their scenes but by then, it was too little and too late for me.

And that's usually the problem with British films for me. They're either amazingly filled with action and life or they're so supremely boring that I'm falling asleep. Saltburn falls in the latter category, I fear.

If you've got Amazon Prime, you'll find Saltburn included for your viewing (cough) pleasure. But truthfully, watch The Talented Mr. Ripley instead. Far superior since that movie did it first and did it better. 

One star out of 5. And that's a gift.


17 December 2023

Review: "40 Ways to Lose a Guy" by Donna Mcdonald.


There are very few authors that I will move heaven and earth to read. And then spend more money buying every book they write or have written. Diana Gabaldon. Abigail Keam. And Donna McDonald. 

I've been really enjoying her latest series, Tales of a Midlife Witch. Nothing like a feisty woman who just happens to be a Celtic Witch and puts up with no shit from the son of a bitch who put her in prison on a trumped-up charge. Add a demon familiar, a daughter who thinks she's guilty, and a Wu Shaman named Mulan, and life gets interesting, if not downright dangerous. 

But add an even more dangerous wrinkled -- a hot, studly, sexy celestial being known as a Guardian -- and we're talking danger on a whole other level.

Welcome to the second book in the series, 40 Ways to Lose a Guy

McDonald has this amazing talent for taking the fantastical and making it mundane. You mean we don't walk amongst angels and guardians and demons on a daily basis? Sure feels like it. And after reading these books, I'd be hard pressed to say we don't. The plot is tight, lots of action and suspense. Her characters are so real, you almost expect to have them walk out of the pages and into your living room. And each character has a story to tell and a way of making you involved in their doings and comings. 

I can never put these books down once I start reading. It was no different with the first book, too - 40 Ways to Say Goodbye. And I don't think the coming books will be any different. I look forward to them. I plan on carving out a weekend to sit with some Walker shortbread cookies, a steaming cup of Earl Grey, and the next book - 40 Ways to Tell a Lie

5 out of five starts. Another must read from a talented author. 

Available from:

Amazon - https://amz.run/7WAa
Barnes & Noble - https://bityl.co/N2SU

10 December 2023

Review: Doctor Who -- The Giggle


That was just too much fun. And Russell T. Davies is back with bells on.

Our Doctor is back, my friends. 

We catch The Doctor and Donna at the end of the last episode, where Earth has gone mad. Everyone everywhere thinks they're right and the rest of humanity is wrong. The Doctor and Donna piece the clues together to realize an old enemy has returned.

The Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) has returned to enjoy the fruits of his labor--playing his games--and getting a little revenge in the bargain. 

Fantastic cast, Harris was a brilliant choice for The Toymaker. The chemistry between all the actors was just amazing. The story had lots of action and tense moments. And when the resolution finally came, it was both unexpected and satisfying. A dream come true for our DoctorDonna and a glimpse at the new guy in an unexpected way. Ncuti Gatwa is going to be just fine as the 15th Doctor. He'll take over with the Christmas episode on 12/20/2023.

I am so excited to meet my new Doctor and get involved again in the show. 

5 out of five stars again!!! Bring on Christmas.

02 December 2023

A Whovian in Love -- Review: Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder

 I probably should have written a review of The Star Beast with a returning David Tennant and Catherine Tate, but by the time I got to it, it had been out a few days and I was in the middle of a really hectic busy work week. Just know that I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. And I was--and am--damned having to have Tennant and Tate back again. Their chemistry together is chock full of tension and talent and the two work together like the proverbial hand in glove.

Which leads me to today's episode in the series, Wild Blue Yonder.

A bad pun with Isaac Newton in 1666 certainly underscores the chemistry between these two actors. And first trip for Donna Noble, she's broken the TARDIS. And it left them behind, stranded on a spaceship. In the middle of nowhere. And it doesn't take them long before the Big Bad has them in Big Trouble.

It is so absolutely wonderful to have Russell T Davies back at the helm. The Doctor is the Doctor again. The whimsy back with the drama. The flashes of darkness in the story. And yet it all molds together to become the glory of The Doctor. The close calls. The action. 

Tennant still has the fire. Catherine Tate is still saucy. Wonderful to see Bernard Cribbins (Wilf Mott) one last time, along with Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble) and Karl Collins (Sean Temple). The story is tight and angsty without giving up that whimsy and action. 

I loved this. I can't wait for next week's episode. And it makes me very anxious to meet Ncuti Gatwa. Now that we've got some decent writing again and the Master (no pun intended) at the helm. Again.

Brilliant. Just, brilliant.

Doctor Who is currently airing on Disney+ and the BBC. 

Review: "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"

 I'm not sure who decided this movie sucked but I finally got a chance to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. And it most definitely does not suck. 

We pick up with a very young Indiana, played by the iconic Harrison Ford, on an adventure with partner Basil, played by actor Tobey Jones, stuck with Nazis as the villains, once again stealing treasure...and a notorious artifact. The Antikythera device. A time traveling device created by Archimedes. An adventure to keep it out of the wrong hands. Indeed. Right up your alley, Indy.

But the day is not saved for long when in present day, two milestones arrive. Indy is retiring as a professor, now old and worn down by time and his previous adventures. And his goddaughter Helena, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who turns out to be a bit of a blatant thief. Beloq in a skirt. The other half of the Antikythera device is being hunted by a Nazi passing as the savior of NASA, played by Mads Mikkelson. The world needs Indiana Jones to save us once again. 

Indy has slowed down. Physically, not up for the job. Welcome to a touch of reality, which is probably why the reviews were mixed. We want our heroes young and virile, able to do anything. The idea of an aged hero just doesn't sit well. Which is too bad because heroes come at any age, shape, weight, and form. Harrison Ford once again delivers a brilliant performance. Indiana may have lost the sparkle and dazzle, but he hasn't lost his wit and sarcastic nature. Even in the face of personal tragedy.

It was great to see old favorites from the first movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. John Rhys-Davies. Karen Allen. Every one of them has aged like fine wine and while not as physically active as before, they still retained their spirit. So, yeah, the action sequences aren't as full of ass kicking as they would have been once upon a time, but they were pretty damn good and held my attention. Kept my heart racing and my blood pumping. I held my breath and prayed Indy would get out of this one, only to watch it get even more impossible to survive. And yet he would. One more puzzle after another and he would solve it. 

A fitting farewell to a beloved character as he marches into a new chapter of his story. A wonderful good by to a man that many of us grew up with. And still love. A movie worth of the Indiana Jones name and series. 

Another 5 out of five stars. And here's to Indiana; may he live forever and may his adventures be many. Goodbye to a series that has kept us all on the edges of our seats, entranced with archaeology and adventures. Thank the Gods for DVD and streaming services that the stories and movies still live with us. 

30 October 2023

Review: Abigail Keam's "Death by Theft"

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Worker Bee Press (October 30, 2023)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 30, 2023
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

“Death by Theft” is a dark romp through a great read

 The latest book in A Josiah Reynolds Mystery series is yet another great read. Lots of drama and angst. And what made me happy – more of her daughter, Asa. Yes, Asa is back with her usual dark efficiency.

 Two of Josiah’s friends, Shaneika Mary Todd and the former June Webster of Monkey’s Brow, KY (now Lady Elsmere) have a new foal in common thanks to breeding their two thoroughbreds together. Jo finally gets to get a glimpse of the baby, but two things happen as they always do when Josiah Reynolds is around. The foal is missing. And they find the night watchman dead in his car.

 Lots of action. Lots of plot twists that are enough to turn anyone’s hair white. But Jo gives over to her daughter because, let’s face it, our favorite psychopath Asa Reynolds has ways of finding out information that her mother just doesn’t. Complicated characters that create complicated stories that are still easy reads and will steal your afternoon, if you let them. I know I can’t put them after I started reading. Death by Theft is no different.

 Another brilliant write by Abigail Keam and when you finish this one, go find “Asa is Back”, the prequel short story that leads into this one. More Asa but getting into her head now. Wonderful, real characters that I love and adore. As long as Ms. Keam keeps writing these, I’ll keep buying and reading them.

 Five out of five stars.

Find your copy at:

Amazon - https://amz.run/7Fu8
Barnes & Noble - https://bityl.co/M1tq

Or visit Abigail's website to find other vendors!

16 October 2023

Review - Asa is Back: A short story by Abigail Keam

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CKJ24CTX
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Worker Bee Press; 1st edition (October 16, 2023)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 16, 2023
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

What a great little one shot for the character that I already love. Asa Reynolds is one of those enigmatic characters that you think of as beyond stoic, beyond a riddle -- she's a total badass of a character. And in her bad-assery, it's easy to forget that she is human.
As a prequel to "Death by Theft", this one totally knocks it out of the ballpark and then some. And I loved the tie in with one of Ms. Keam's other series, "The Last Chance Motel". Nice tight plot with action and a case Asa can sink her teeth into. Wounded from an earlier encounter/case, Asa is soon presented with another one. But does she have the physical wherewithal to solve it?
This short plays up on Asa's humanity and we get to learn a little more about her that explains so much. After reading about her in the Josiah Reynolds Mysteries, it's nice to peek inside of Asa's head for a while. See her inner thoughts. I've been waiting for this character to get spun off into her own series. I'm hoping this is the start.
5 out of five stars!!
Grab your copy - https://amz.run/7Crn and then, get Death by Theft on 10/30 - https://amz.run/7Crp