Mrs. Baker’s Ghost – New Reviews

I wish I knew everyone that posted reviews so I could send them all great big hugs…thank you..

Review by: Max Kinney on Jan. 26, 2013 : star star star star star
From Cory’s “lone note” to Alastair’s “Caw”, Anna Marie draws you in and makes you feel like a welcome visitor at Whiskey Bay. She trickles out information (and gossip) in perfect doses that keep you mildly intoxicated from beginning to end. Colorful and entertaining, Mrs. Baker’s Ghost is a well written story by a very talented author.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Review by: Paula Dennis on Jan. 21, 2013 : (no rating)
What a wonderful story! The characters seemed to pop out in my head as I read and I could just picture the scenes. The author is extremely talented and I cannot wait until Jayi’s Tales comes out so I can read more about Mrs. Baker, Cory, and Jayi’s adventures! And love the recipes at the back of the book! Definitely a book I would recommend to my family and friends!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
Review by: Cindy Cunningham on Jan. 17, 2013 : star star star star star
What an entertaining read! The characters came to life quickly & leaves you wanting to follow their lives further. Light hearted & mysterious. Will definitely be looking for more reads on Jayi & her adventures! ( type in title Mrs. Baker’s Ghost) ( type in title Mrs. Baker’s Ghost)  ( type in title Mrs. Baker’s Ghost)


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (Dec. 20)


Best Sex Writing 2010 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel – I’ve been reading this collection of essays all year. So given that 2010 is almost up I figured I would finish this first. I would say that I enjoyed the collection overall, but too much time has passed to comment on the essays individually.


Still trying to finish the many things with bookmarks stuck in them somewhere. Though there has been lots of Christmas Presents wrapping and Christmas Card writing (which I thought I’d finished).

Happy Holidays to Everyone!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is organized by Sheila over at Book Journey. Be sure to stop by her site and read the great blogs of the other participates.

(On a personal note: I like ask all the guardian angels and the Heavenly Father to look down on us favorably this holiday season. It reach out to those in need and ease their suffering, esp. my friends and family. )

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (Dec. 13)


Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch – This is a very funny book with a very silly plot. If you like to laugh out loud at smart mouth characters and run breathless from action scene to action scene when not stuck in traffic for 45 mins. then this is the book for you. I have to admit it was the fabulous cover art by Dan Dos Santos that drew me to this book (SIDE NOTE: Dan Dos Santos has done the cover art for my friend Diana Rowland’s new book Secrets of the Demon out in January – an excellent book, by the way), but it is the laughter that will get me to pick up the next one. Wonder if it will feature any Giant Earwigs?

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal — For all of you out there who love Jane Austen and find something slightly missing from all the supposed sequels which increasingly feel like fanfic, GO FIND THIS BOOK. It has all the hallmark of Pride and Prejudice that you love, while being its own book. It is a quiet fantasy story that is simply enchanting. I was so sad when it was done. I wanted to further explore this world that was at once familiar and strange all at the same time. I hope the author will give us a new book set in this world. I would love to follow the web of glamour she’s weaved down a different path to explore how it effects every aspect of that life.

Fugue Macabre

Fugue Macabre: Bone Dance by C.J. Parker – This book is by a friend of mine. I loved the first one Fugue Macabre: Ghost Dance and book two did not disappoint. I am sad to say that it took me forever to finish reading it due to technology problems ( right tech, wrong format eBook, etc.). I thought I could put it on my NOOK, but I must have done it wrong. I finally finished reading the book on my iPhone, and I thought I was going to hate that as an experience. But, once I was caught up in the action of the story I totally forgot I wasn’t holding a book. I was “flipping” pages as fast as I could. This is the story of three friends ( who formed a strong bond in Ghost Dance) that head down to the Louisiana Swamp to defend a shape-shifting population under threat from both internal and external forces.  They need a leader and Bobbie Luckman must step into the role she was destined to play. I like what the author has done with world. She has built a whole mythology full of prophecy, spirit warriors, and visions that carry you to this world wind plot. Also, she has included enough back story to make book two stand alone, without sounded repetitive to those who have read book one. There are many gems in the colorful side characters. I hope the next book comes out soon. I’d love to find out more about Rhonda!  So far, Bone Dance is an eBook only title, but it is available in lots of formats from the publisher (linked above) or from Barnes & Noble and Amazon in their respective formats.


I am finding it very hard to concentrate a single book right now. The three book above constitutes my reading from all the weeks I’ve been missing from the It’s Monday party. I’ve lots of things half started, so who knows. I could finish any of those! I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.


I have read lots of blogs.

Check out Beck’s Book Picks’ review of Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball. It sounds awesome, too bad it doesn’t come on audio. I could see this as a perfect Christmas travel listen.

I was reading about a young literary agent who doesn’t tweet. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but the article introduced me to one of his authors — Jane McGonigal, a game designer whose upcoming book is titled Reality is Broken. I think the PW quote is what really got me interested. They said the book is “As addictive as Tetris,” which happens to be my favorite game. I looked up Jane McGonigal and found a TED video by her. I love TED videos. They are a series of inspiring lectures by people passionate about their ideas. That passion is contagious. I’ve embedded McGonigal’s video here, but I think she has a neat idea. It has made me curious about her book which someone described as a manifesto. (In the video she said we like people better after we’ve played a game with them. I immediately thought  board games in the break room. I wonder if I could convince people it’s a good idea?)

Speaking of manifesto. Seth Godin is another person I follow because he also has that contagious passion with his ideas. He is starting his own publishing powered by Amazon company, to not only publish his and other people’s manifestos, but to change the way readers and publishers interact. He calls it the Domino Project powered by Amazon. I have enjoyed several of Godin’s books, esp. Linchpin, and I look forward to seeing what his does with this new experiment.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is organized by Sheila over at Book Journey. Be sure to stop by her site and read the great blogs of the other participates.

(On a personal note: I like ask all the guardian angels and the Heavenly Father to look down on us favorably this holiday season. It reach out to those in need and ease their suffering, esp. my friends and family. )

Review: The Nativity Collection by Robert J. Morgan

The Nativity Collection The Nativity Collection by Robert J. Morgan is a set of six stories beautifully packaged in a medium size gift book. Each story houses some gem of the true meaning of Christmas. That meaning which we seem to search for amongst the decorations, school plays, and snow every year. At first I thought the stories were going to be too Hallmark Moment as staged as the photographs that are sprinkled among the pages of this collection. But, the first one “Ollie,” about memory and compassion, brought a tear to my eye. The stories are very quick reads and you might even see the ending coming long before it get there, but they will still touch you. One of my favorites in this collection was “Nativity Seen Smiling” which has a touch of the Gift of the Magi about it. I’d recommend this book as sort of a pre-Christmas gift (there is a thoughtful inscription page at the front). The introduction said they were read by the author to his congregation, a new one every year. I think that and what it says about stories making up our lives is so true.

Review copy provided via the BookSneeze Program.

Review: Steamypunk #s 1-5 (adult)

Steampunk Challenge Review # 2

Steampunk challenge

Five cutely bound stories, like chocolate in a gift box, seem the perfect package for erotica. Each volume was published by

I purchased these a while back, but only read the first one. Since I’m using this Steampunk Challenge to work my way through the TBR pile, I thought this was a great time to give these confections a try. They are quick and dirty for the most part. Grading Steampunk elements in such short pieces is a tad difficult. Is it really cool wallpaper, a mere mention, or part of the story?

Without further ado, the Steamypunk Collection recap:

#1 A Man of the Waste by Margaret Killjoy

#2 A Pirate of Both Day & Night by Margaret Killjoy

#3 Emerson & Adalia by Dimitri Markotin

#4 Chaos Theory by Dimitri Markotin

#5 Emerson & Adalia Rob A House by Dimitri Markotin

#1 A Man of the Waste — This story while it does not have a recognizable Victorian setting, but it has tons of atmosphere and steam and gears. A young man fresh from the Waste is propositioned by an intriguing woman who then vanishes with no explanation only to reappear later with still less explanation. I loved the world building here and wouldn’t mind seeing more of it. The sex was definitely steamy and the story ends with a note of snide humor which I liked. (Best Story in the Lot)

#2 A Pirate of Both Day & Night — This is a f/f story aboard a full automated steam-driven pirate ship. No mast required. The premise is a one woman crew, raids merchant vessels and liberates it merchandise and a female sailor.

#3 Emerson & Adalia — Steampunk references: airships; mysterious beauty comes shows up uninvited to a ball where the son of a lord is smitten. Sex and crime ensue.

#4 Chaos Theory — is m/m/f story about a penniless scholar and two lecturers who take him under their wing? This story was only okay. It has some Steampunk wallpaper — a scientific theory, the mention of a horseless carriage, and flight in a dirigible. But, they are sort of incidental. Kind of boring with a funny line about poetry.

#5 Emerson & Adalia Rob A House — m/f/f;  Steampunk elements:??? Emerson and Adalia add a friend Edith to their first joint venture into screwing & looting.

Overall I’d say the collection was a C- . I know there is a limited number of things you can do in stories this small and that by their nature sex was a big part, but I wanted a little more Steampunk.

Other Notes:

♦ A while back I mentioned a collection that I enjoyed called Like Clockwork, like in any collection some of the stories are perfect and some go just a little beyond the pale. But, if you are interested in the steamier side of Steampunk that might be a place to start.

♦ Lavie Tidhar also shares her thoughts on sex, science, and Steampunk at the Mad Hatter.

Victorian Fact ( or a line of random text):

“The dandy is fundamentally theatrical being, abjectly dependent on the recognition of the audience he professes to disdain.” p22 Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Manhood by James Eli Adams


The Steampunk Challenge is run by Rikki @ The Bookkeeper.

Review: The Banquet of Esther Rosenbaum by Penny Simpson

The Banquet of Ester RosenbaumThe Banquet of Ester Rosenbaum by Penny Simpson

This is an odd novel, though I was fascinated by it. Time plays very funny within its pages and I don’t think I truly understood why until I got to the end. It was something I should have suspected from the beginning, but I guess I was a little slow. My whole approach to this book has been slow. I saw it first listing in the Advance magazine, then when I actually purchased it, I left it sitting on my shelf for exactly a year (the recipe was tucked into the front cover) before I every picked it up.

At the heart this seems to be a novel about story telling through many media. There are story-recipes, clock-work stories, ballads, plays, pamphlets, and love notes. There is all sorts of language in the book too, while written in English, it is peppered with foreign words German, Yiddish, and more. None of it will put off your understanding of the book, but it gives it texture and it adds to the sense of time and place.

This book is set during WWI-through the beginning of WWII, with its epilogue in 1946. The majority set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. There is lots of talk of war and revolution, and every chapter give a year, but the history challenged you’ll have to piece the extra conflicts together yourself. There is mention of Bavaria, which I never could figure out if it was part of WWI or some separate conflict in this great time of turmoil.

Turmoil both internal and external is what sets these characters spinning. They are an eclectic assortment. Our narrator is a Jewish chef, who is 7th tall, with two different color eyes. She is often the subject of fear and superstition because of her looks, and later celebrated because of her talent with food. But, in these times attention is not always a good thing. There are her friends who are a used clothes seller, a seamstress, a Auntie Mame like woman who drives a motor car badly, gambles, and conspires with revolutionaries, there are more revolutionaries, playwrights, chefs, restaurateurs, artist, actresses, and clock-makers. They are all struggling against a world that doesn’t make sense anymore, and struggling with one another over love and fame and ideas.

The book moves fast and it as if you are just catching snatches, we’ve barely gotten over a fight and we’ve landed into something new. Having said that, it is not confusing. I’d have liked to read more of Esther’s cooking and less of Kaya and Thomas relationship, but it made sense giving how Esther was so emotionally tied to them.

As to the ending, well without giving anything away, all I can say is, I guess I was naïve to believe it could conclude any other way. There were clues right from the beginning, but I didn’t pick up on them. This book wasn’t a tear-jerker for me. There was certainly tragedy throughout, but there was distance in the writing. Not the kind of distance that is off-putting, but that made the action feel slightly less immediate. I understood at the end.

I recommend this book. It is different from my normal genre reads and given that my last venture into literary fiction was disappointing, I am glad this one was not.


side note: third book in a row to use the word ‘pinion’

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (Oct. 11)


The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker — loved this, see review here!

Beauty and the Beast: Human-animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905-1935 by Arnold Arluke — I can’t say I really finished this one. I got a little squeamish at some of the pictures in the middle and sort of did a skim and scan until I had enough. I’ve reviewed the parts I did read here! There are some neat thing in here so should not be dismissed entirely.


The Banquet of Esther Rosenbaum by Penny Simpson — so far, this is a recommend…. I’m hoping it stays that way.


I raided the library and have a ton of books — mostly for skimming and scanning, but who knows what will catch my eye. There is:

The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul DiFilippo; The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen; The Victorians by Aidan Cruttenden; Eminent Victorians (Illustrated Edition) by Lytton Strachey; Magnificent Dreams (Burne-Jones and the Late Victorians) by Frances Spalding; The Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell

I also got several books by fellow member of the Northshore Literary Society, Liz Scott

Never Heave Your Bosom in a Front Hook Bra and Never Sleep with a Fat Man in July – both written under the name Modine Gunch.

→ Her new book Never Clean Your House During Hurricane Season is out.  All the proceeds will go to charity, including The St. Bernard Project, a program that helps those affected by Katrina and the BP oil disaster in New Orleans’ neighboring parish of St. Bernard.


♦ For those of you last week who weren’t too familiar with Steampunk and for those of you who just want to know more. In the Blogs this week there was an interesting article on one of the more common archetypes in Steampunk fiction. Check it here.

♦ Here is an interesting blog post that mentions the idea of Blogger as Translator. It is a concept that I’d not run across before. What do y’all think about the idea?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is organized by Sheila over at Book Journey. Be sure to stop by her site and read the great blogs of the other participates.

( On a personal note I’d like to thank St. Jude, St. Rita, the Blessed Mother, and Heavenly Father for all the prayers they’ve answered in the last month and to continue to ask for their help and blessings.)