Win a personalized, signed copy of Matrimony by Josh Henkin!

Okay… I have my review for this book written… BUT, my internet at home is out, so I’m forced to come to the library for a while. And the stupid computers here won’t convert my Works doc, so I have to go home and save it in a format it CAN use. >:-(

HOWEVER! I wanted to make sure to post the giveaway announcement!

Seriously, Matrimony by Josh Henkin is an amazing book. I will never part with my copy, and plan to reread it… again and again. It’s more than a great story with tangible characters, but it’s that kind of book that changes you and inspires you to action.

MATRIMONY was a New York Times Notable Book, and Josh has also been participating in a lot of book group discussions of MATRIMONY, so he’s available to participate in book group discussions. http://www.joshuahenkin.com

AND YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO WIN YOUR OWN PERSONALIZED, AUTOGRAPHED COPY!

Simply comment on this post for your official entry, then comment on the review (hopefully, I’ll be able to post it tomorrow) for a bonus entry. Blog and link this giveaway, then post the link here for a bonus 5 entries. So you have the chance to have 7 entries!

This contest is open to anyone, anywhere :-) Josh will send it worldwide :-D

Lefty’s Corner ~New Widget Added

For those of you who might not know, I am left-handed.  I am unique in that I am one of the approximately 10% of the population who are in their RIGHT MIND! 

This past Christmas I got one of those “fact a day” desk calendars devoted to left-handed facts, quotes and trivia.  I finally tore off the pages to today’s date (and actually, for some screwy reason, tore down to March 16th instead of February 16th) and placed the small booklet of daily facts in my pocket to read at the dentist office today.  As I sat there, being wowed by who can be found in the sinister pack (The Free Dictionary, definition 3 for sinister: On the  left side; left.  From the Latin sinister, on the left) and by interesting facts about left-handedness, I thought it might be fun to add a widget to Mt. TBR with the daily facts from The Left-Hander’s Calendar.  So, in honor of one of my favorite stores (one I’ve missed terribly since it closed when Indy’s Union Station closed.  *sniff* Christmas has never been Christmas since… but that’s a tale for another post), I’ve named it Lefty’s Corner.

Since I’ve missed about six weeks’ worth of facts, I thought I blog the best of the Lefty facts thus far:

1)  799 A.D.:   Father of Europe and the Emperor responsible for our present calendar, Charlemagne established an extensive library, founded an academy for educating young Frankish knights, and made a strong effort to produce an educated clergy.  This royal lefty also established a system of justice in which nobles and clergymen traveled about the kingdom, hearing court cases and bringing the law to every town and village.  What’s more, according to MrDonn.org, Charlemagne established “a system of trial by panel. Under Charlemagne’s system, each accused person would be heard by a panel of honorable men, men who had taken an oath to listen and to judge fairly based on the evidence presented.” From this, our modern “trial by jury” system was born.

2)  Left-handers really are special, and brain scanning, along with the latest genetic technology, is finally enabling scientists to crack the mysteries of what makes us left-handed.  Research geneticist Clyde Francks of Oxford University found that left-handers tend to share a variant of a gene named LRRTM1.  This gene, however, appears to influence handedness only if it is inherited from the father.

While genetics play a role in handedness, there are no guarantees. Handedness does run in families, though not in an easily predictable way. Left-handers are about twice as likely as righties to produce left-handed children, but most of their offspring will still be right-handed. Personal fact: My father was ambidextrous, I’m left-handed, as is one of my nephews. Two of my three daughters are right-handed, while my middle daughter is ambidextrous.

Also, whites, blacks, and North American Indians are more likely to be left-handed. Just over 9% of Asians and Hispanics are lefties.

3)  I’m smarter than you are! Tests conducted by Alan Searleman from St. Lawrence University in New York found there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Personal Fact: my IQ is 169 (not that I’m bragging ;-) )

4)  A Danish legend says that on the twelfth night after Christmas, if an unmarried woman walks to bed backward, throws a shoe over her left shoulder, and says a verse to the Three Holy Kings, the man she sees in her dreams will one day marry her. HOWEVER, it doesn’t say that it’ll be a happy, long-lasting marriage or if it will end in an acrimonious, War-of-the-Roses style divorce. AND what of lucid dreamers? If I don’t like who I see, I’d just change it. (BTW, does “a verse to the Three Holy Kings” mean to sing a few bars of the Christmas carol “We Three Kings”?)

5)  Four of our last six presidents have been southpaws: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The country has turned increasingly left-handed. Before Ford, only James Garfield, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman were lefties. (Of course, most children were discouraged to write with their left hands, painfully so with rulers and other whacking tools, so it’s not a surprise there weren’t more.)

PLUS! Our new president, Barack Obama, is also a lefty :-D

6)  W.C. Fields was a lefty born in Philadelphia,, but when he was born is up for debate. Some say he was born on April 9, 1879, and jokingly say he was born again on January 29, 1880. His grandson believes the 1880 date is correct.

7)  The official Boy Scout handshake uses the left hand instead of the right. Although Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, was ambidextrous, he chose the lefty shake because the left hand is nearer to the heart.

8)  On the cartoon The Simpsons, each character has appeared as a lefty at least once. In fact, there are Web sites devoted to tracking just who is left-handed in each episode. It’s no surprise – Matt Groening, The Simpsons’ creator, is left-handed.

9)  There are more than 500 million left-handed people on the planet ;-)

10)  Edwin “Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12, Apollo 11) was the first lefty to walk on the moon. Other left-handed U.S. Astronauts include James Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13) and Wally Schirra (Mercury 8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7).

Some famous southpaws:

Paul McCartney, who said: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Henry Rollins- singer, songwriter, spoken word artist, author, actor, and publisher. He was also the frontman of punk band Black Flag.

Actress Kim Novak

Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz

Baseball player Lenny Dykstra

Journalist Ted Koppel

Singer Natalie Cole

Baseball player Babe Ruth

Actor Rip Torn

Actor Brent Spiner -he played my all-time favorite Star Trek character, Lt. Commander Data, and his hillbilly character, Bob Wheeler, on Night Court was hilarious! Threshold is another one of my favorite shows in which Spiner was cast as the hippy, conspiracy-theorist Dr. Nigel Fenway.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey

Tennis player Martina Navratilova

Author Lewis Carroll

Actor James Cromwell- The man is a legend and highly credited actor, and yet… when I think of him, Farmer Hoggett from BABE is what always comes to mind… “That’ll do, Pig! That’ll do!” Second to Babe, The Sum of All Fears pops into my head. In Sum he played President Fowler, but it wasn’t the last time he played a US Pres. Recently, he starred in W, cast in the role of former President George H. W. Bush, who was also a lefty ;-) .

Actor Scott Glenn

Vincent D’Onofrio, who appeared in Full Metal Jacket  (he was Marine recruit Private Pyle who, after the continual harangue from the D.I., played by real former Marine, Gunny Sgt R. Lee Ermy [I highly recommend checking out Gunny Sgt's site :-D ], ate the end of his rifle.), Mystic Pizza, Ed Wood, Men in Black, The Cell, The Break Up, and more. However, he is now best known as Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Actor Gabe Kaplan, best known for his role as the title character in the television show Welcome Back Kotter.

Actor Balthazar Getty

Actress Diane Lane

Actress Mare Winningham

Actor Telly Savalas, the man who made bald sexy and lollipop sucking acceptable for adults.

Comedian George Burns

Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones

Actor Michael Crawford

Actress Tippi Hedren, who is best known for being chased unmercifully by massive flocks of birds.

Singer Phil Everly, of The Everly Brothers. Songs best known by The Everly Brothers are “Bye, Bye Love“, “Wake Up Little Suzie“, “Crying In the Rain“, “Let It Be Me“, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown” (I’ve always loved Dream), and so many more! One more treat: “Gone Gone Gone” -not that it’s all that great of a song, but WATCHING the video, particularly the girls dancing, made me laugh. I thought that kind of thing only happened on The Corny Collins Show!

Actor Jim Carrey- My favorite Jim Carrey movies are How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Mask, Liar Liar, Lemony Snicket, Dumb and Dumber and Bruce Almighty.

Benjamin Franklin- Inventor, statesman, author and one of the U.S. founding fathers, Benny also appears in Benjamin Franklin: The Punctual Plumber’s commercials (ads played here repetitvely sing out “Benny! I got your number 867-5309!”, a toll free number utilizing the ubiquitous Tommy Tu-Tone’s Jenny’s number) and, along with other money-starring U.S. historical figures, in the Turbo Tax commercials.

Comedian Steve Harvey

Actor Cary Grant -my favorite Cary Grant movies are Arsenic and Old Lace, The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday.

Comedian, actor, dancer Danny Kaye -Love! The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, White Christmas, and The Five Pennies.

Saint Joan of Arc

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- Everyone, of course, knows King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and along with the full speech, I found an interesting short versionthat has incorporated a Spiritual in the clip. In the past year, King’s Dream was revisited in the will.i.am “Yes We Can” song, which incorporated the line

…a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

from Barack Obama’s speech (now President Obama, a major step toward the realization of Dr. King’s dream). Oh! King and Obama are both lefties… :-D

Inventor Thomas Edison

Kurt Cobain- Ah, yes… The anthem of my teenage years, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. I bought the album, Nevermind, which also had “Come As You Are” and “Stay Away” (a song that was more my anthem than the first one). These songs make me feel like I’m an acne-battling, high school student sitting in the corner of the cafeteria by myself, trying not to look friendless. Oh, those were the days…

Billy Ray Cyrus -Okay, everyone over twenty-five KNOWS “Achy Breaky Heart“, and those under 20, or with children under 20, knows Billy Ray Cyrus as Robby Ray Stewart, Hannah Montana’s father and real-life father to Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah.

Lauryn Hill -I love the Fugees’ version of “Killing Me Softly” (Lauryn was a member of the Fugees).

Pink -“So What“, “U + UR Hand” and “Get This Party Started” are my favorite Pink songs, and are on my MP3 player. Besides both of us being left-handed, Pink has the same real first name as I :-D

Prince- Raspeberry Beret is one of my favorite Prince songs. “U Got the Look“, “1999” and “Batdance” are a few others.

Lou Rawls

Paul Simon- forever my favorite, “You Can Call Me Al” is one of the best songs and funnest music videos I’ve heard and seen.

Boxer Oscar De La Hoya

Actor Jason Bateman -Hancock is my favorite

Actors and brothers, Dennis, The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia  was my introduction to those special, warm-tingly feelings, and Randy Quaid, whose character “Cousin Eddie” (Fried Pussy Cat makes me laugh just as hard for the millionth time as it did the first) from the National Lampoons Vacation movies has made Christmas Vacation one of my favorite Christmas movies.

Mary Kate Olsen

Doctor and missionary Albert Schweitzer

Director Joel Coen (of The Coen Brothers) -my favorite Coen Brothers’ movie is O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and a second clip for good measure… and The Sirens Song. LOL.. I love it when Everett and Delmar wake up after drinking with the Sirens, and Delmar screech/squeals when he looks over and sees Pete’s clothes, sans Pete, and a toad hops out of Pete’s shirt.

Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

 k… I’m going to my DVD drawer to grab this movie now.

Former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait can be seen on the US $10 bill)- said “A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.”

Singer Phil Collins, Against All Odds is one of my favorites

Singer Crystal Gayle

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence

Actor and singer David Bowie- said, “We can be Heroes, Just for one day.” I loved Labyrinth! The Dance Magic scene is great, and I love-love-LOVE the ball scene. After watching Labyrinth, I had a little David Bowie crush for a while.

Actress Diane Keaton- Because I Said So and Baby Boom are my favorites

Author James Baldwin- African-American writer and essayist who penned Native Son, among others.

Last thing I want to leave you with is a quote from John Diana’s The Left-Hander’s Guide and Reference Manual.

The Average Lefty:
Thinks Like Einstein
Looks Like Redford
Paints Like de Vinci
Leads Like Schwarzkopf
Sings Like Newley
Fights Like Corbett
Clowns Like Chaplin

Plays:
Baseball Like Babe Ruth
Soccer Like Pele
Tennis Like Conners
Golf Like Charles
Runs Like the Devil and
Swims Like Spitz

BTW… All the people mentioned in that quote are lefties!

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis

Title: Prince Caspian
Author: C. S. Lewis
Paperback: 767 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: 2001
ISBN: 0066298501
Miscellaneous: Second book to be published, Lewis intended it to be read fourth in the series. ALSO, a few of you have wondered about the number of pages listed in my Narnia books. Don’t fret! The book I’ve been reading is a collection of all seven books. The books themselves average 100-150 pages.

“Oh!” said Edmund in a voice which made everyone stop talking and listen to him.

“I’ve just seen it all,” he said.

“Seen what?” asked Peter.

“Why, the whole thing,” said Edmund. “You know what we were puzzling about last night, that it was only a year ago since we left Narnia byt everything looks as if no one had lived in Cair Paravel for hundreds of years? Well, don’t you see? You know that, however long we seemed to have lived in Narnia, when we got back through the wardrobe it seemed to have taken no time at all?”

“Go on,” said Susan. “I think I’m beginning to understand.”

“And that means,” continued Edmund, “that, once you’re out of Narnia, you have no idea how Narnian time is going. Why shouldn’t hundreds of years have gone past in Narnia while only one year has passed for us in England?”

“By Jove, Ed,” said Peter. “I believe you’ve got it. In that sense it really was hundreds of years ago that we lived in Cair Paravel. And now we’re coming back to Narnia just as if we were Crusaders or Anglo-Saxons or Ancient Britons or someone coming back to modern England!”

“How excited they’ll be to see us -” began Lucy, but at the same moment everyone else said, “Hush!” or, “Look!” For now something was happening.

-Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis, page 330

In Prince Caspian, the Pevensie children return to Narnia after what was to them a year’s time, to find Narnia almost unrecognizably altered. Lucy’s naive statement that the Narnians will be happy to see their return is quickly quashed, when many that they encounter feel bitter towards the Kings and Queens of Old as having abandoned them.

In the hundreds of Narnian years that has passed, Narnia has slipped into a dark age. A group of people who were once pirates of Spanish descent called Telmarines, rule with an undying prejudice and hatred of the original Narnians, talking animals, Dwarfs, and other magical creatures. To Lucy’s dismay, the trees have lost their voice and retreated within themselves, and many other Narnians have withdrawn and taken to hiding in the mountains and deep forests where the Telmarines are afraid to go.

The rightful heir to the throne, Prince Caspian, survives an assassination attempt by his uncle, who wishes to secure the throne for his newly born son. With the help of the Pevensies and Narnians, Prince Caspian stands against the cruelty and evil rule of his uncle. But is it enough? Or have the Pevensies returned too late?

I read this book a couple weeks ago, but evidently forgot to blog the review. It was during a crazy time of the year: Two birthdays, a double birthday party at the hotel, the heat went out, the digital part of my cable (my internet is through my cable company) went out a couple times (and stayed out both times for more than a day), and other various craziness. But, at any rate, here it is :-)

Prince Caspian is the second most read and well-known book in the Narnia series. Second to be written and published, most people reading it in the order of publication, manage to get through the second book. Like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian has been made into a movie, a BBC mini-series, dramatic audio recording, and audio books.

In this book, Aslan is absent for most of the story. Lucy alone sees him, but chooses not to follow him because her siblings do not believe her as they didn’t see him. The main message of this book is that seeing is not believing, and faith comes from believing and leaning on those around you no matter what “reality” says nor how the odds seem to be stacked against you.

Like the rest of the Narnia books, Prince Caspian is written as a Christian Allegory. Trusting that God is with you, even when you don’t see or feel the evidence of his presence, and that He has planned for you to prosper, not fail.

My favorite character in Prince Caspian, second to Aslan of course, is Reepicheep. This warrior mouse proves that the size of the body is NOT the indication of the size of the heart found within. He is courageous beyond those ten times his size, and inspires loyalty in his followers, who are willing to even cut off their own tails so that their leader does not have to carry the dishonor of the loss of his own tail alone.

While Prince Caspian is not my favorite Narnia book, that would be The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, nor my second favorite, The Horse and His Boy is, I did enjoy reading it. It’s definitely worth reading, and should be counted among the must-read classics in English Literature.

I give Prince Caspian four out of five stars.

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TSS- Alien Invaders and Holy Matrimony!

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope your weekend has gone well :)

This past week I was dropped on a strange and unsettled planet, survived underground scavengers that feed by night, flying predators that attack by day, and mechanicals that registered me as a warm body, shot me with a tranq dart, then dumped me in a barn with livestock destined for slaughter. I managed to survive all of this because I was lucky enough to be deposited on the planet, which we named Botany, with some very competent and ingenious people… and one guy who was of the race of our captors, but was an honorable and stand-up guy without whom many of us would have died!

Of course, I didn’t really go through all of this ;-) . Rather, it was the plot of Freedom’s Landingby Anne McCaffrey (my review). A fascinating and exciting book of survival and community, of forgetting differences to become a working society.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week, I will be reading Josh Henkin’s Matrimony, a New York Times Most Notable Book. I will having a giveaway for a signed copy of Matrimony, opened to anyone worldwide. The drawing for it will be February 25th, which is the first day of Lent (I thought the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of penance went well together ;-) ). I will post more details in the coming days, so check back later!

This Sunday Salon is short and sweet, as it is one in the morning here and my bed is calling :-D Happy Reading!

Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey

Title: Freedom’s Landing
Author: Anne McCntaffrey
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Ace/Putnam
Publish Date: May 1995
ISBN: 0441003389

An afternoon breeze swirled the black clouds about and Kris caught glimpses of the man, lurching still further from the crash site. She saw him stumble and fall, after which he made no move to rise. Above, the bees buzzed angrily, circling the smoke and probably wondering if their prey had gone up in the explosion.

Catteni didn’t hunt each other as a rule, she told herself, surprised to find that she was halfway down from her perch.They fight like Irishmen, sur, but to chase a man so far from the city? What could he have done?

The crash had been too far away for Kris to distinguish the hunted man’s features or build. He might just be an escaped slave, like herself. If not Terran, he might be from one of the half-dozen other subjugated races that lived on Barevi. Someone who had had the guts to steal a flitter didn’t deserve to die under Catteni forcewhips.

… Keeping close to the brown rocks so nearly the shade of her own tanned skin, she crossed the remaining distance. She all but tripped over him as the wind puffed black smoke down amon the rocks.

“Catteni!” she cried, furious as she bent to examine the unconscious man and recognized the gray and yellow uniform despite its tattered and black-smeared condition.

-Freedom’s Landingby Anne McCaffrey, pages 4-5

Freedom’s Landing is the first in a series of four books by Anne McCaffrey chronicling the struggles and successes of the “colonists” of Botany.

After an invasion by an intergalactic race called the Catteni, tens of thousands of humans are rounded up and dropped off on the planet Barevi, a sort of trading post for the Catteni. Kris Bjornsen is one such Terran, as human are referred, having been captured in Denver. After becoming aware that her Catteni owner has sexual intentions toward her, Kris steals his flitter (a flying personal vehicle) and lives the next few months in the wilds a few miles from the only city on the planet.

When she observes a group of Catteni flitters chasing and firing upon another flitter, she assumes the man being hunted is another slave. However, she is shocked and disgusted that he is a Catteni. Despite her feelings for his race, she helps him to safety and hides him in her absconded flitter she now calls home.

“You’re one of the new species?”

“I’m a Terran,” she said with haughty pride, her stance marred by a convulsice shiver.

“Thin-skinned species,” he remarked. He looked at her chest, noticed the slight heave from her recent exertions that made her breasts strain against the all too inadequate covering and slowly started to stroker her shoulder with one firger. His touch was unexpectedly feather-light -and more. “Soft to the touch,” he said absently. “I haven’t tried a Terran yet…”

“And you’re not going to start on this one,” she said, jumping as far away from him as she could…

-Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey, page 10

When it becomes apparent to Kris that this Catteni intends to reward her kindness by raping her, she conks him as hard as she can, knocking him unconscious, and flies the flitter back to the outskirts of the city with the intention of dumping him where he belongs.

However, things do not go according to plan, and she and her passenger are caught in the middle of a riot. They are gassed and rounded up with the rebellious slaves and dumped on an uninhabited planet.

When they and the other “colonists” come to, many of them want to kill the lone representative of their captors. Kris, who feels responsible for his being dumped with them, convinces Mitford, a former Marine who has taken charge of the people in their dropped group, to spare the Catteni as he may be useful to them.

And useful Zainal turns out to be! Having seen the report on the planet they’ve come to name Botany, he is able to warn them of the some of dangers the planet poses and does his best to save many of those later dumped by Catteni ships.

While this is a Sci-Fi book, don’t let that put you off if you aren’t into that genre. It isn’t all “Dr. Who” and “Star Wars” kind of stuff, though there are a few references made to Dr. Who and one of the machines they encounter is given the name “dalek” because of its resemblance to the fictional “exterminate” proclaiming machine on the show.

More than anything, Freedom’s Landing is a story of survival and the banding together of peoples from differing backgrounds (not only different human groups, but also other alien species -Deskis, Rugarians, and others) to form a new society. If you like Survivor-type shows and books, you’d like Freedom’s Landing.

My friend who introduced me to this book loves the character Zainal, even naming his VR characters after him. And I also like Zainal, who is of Catteni nobility and displays more honor and respect than a lot of the humans he’s dropped with. However, Mitford is my favorite character. Sargent Mitford is the epitome of the concept that one of the best qualities a great leader possesses is the ability to delegate, delegate, delegate! What Sarge is capable of doing with the minimal resources they are deposited with in creating a civilized, working community is mind-boggling. I wouldn’t mind reading a book from Mitford’s perspective.

While there is much I love in Freedom’s Landing, there are a few things I didn’t like. First of all, I found McCaffrey’s writing style annoying in parts. Some of the word choices and expressions she used just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, there seemed to be a few incongruous things written in the book. One example is the initial description of Zainal: His pupils are described as gold and the irises black, but the rest of the book the description is reversed with his irises gold.

Also, McCaffrey never addresses difficulties that would have surely risen with a large number of human females, namely menstruation. With the main character, and from whose perspective much of the book is written, cast as a woman, you would think at least as much verbiage would be used to cover this difficulty as was used to detail the “facilities” for other bodily functions.

Overall, Freedom’s Landingis a fascinating look into the formation of a new society and all the difficulties that brings, as well as the adventure of survival in an unknown land. It’s worth reading, even with it’s faults, and shouldn’t be limited to Sci-Fi nutters.

I give Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey 3 and a half stars.

Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren

TITLE: Bedlam, Bath and Beyond
AUTHOR: J. D. Warren
PUBLISH DATE: January 2008
PUBLISHER:Love Spell (div of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.)
ISBN: 9780505526984

“You know none of this is real, don’t you?” murmured the uniformed fellow at our front door, his voice so urgent that I blinked at him, startle. “I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but this is not your life.”

The words left me feeling like an unsuspecting gnat meeting the windshield of a speeding vehicle. All I could do was gape at him.

“You’ve got to wake up,” he added, handling me my half-percent milk. His whispering became more intense. “You’ve got to remember who you are,” he concluded, before walking away with a nod and a tip of his cap.

Trust me. Four out of five doctors would not recommend it as a way to start off your week.

- Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren, page 1

First off, I must say Bedlam, Bath and Beyond is one of the most enjoyable, fun and sexy books I’ve read in a long time (ignoring the fact I’ve not read a lot of books in the past couple months ;-) ). Reminiscent of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, with a fantasy aspect, Bedlam had me laughing out loud at times, and feeling… erm, rather warm at other times.

The story begins with Corydonais, the tall, attractive milkman, commanding Samantha to wake up and remember who she is, and telling her the world she inhabits is NOT reality. As soon as she does this and finds the exit, she returns to the real world to find what had felt like the last two or three weeks actually lasted almost three years, that fairies are real and co-inhabit our world (and that they find the term “fairy” offensive, Peri is preferred), and that she’s being chased by blood-thirsty, vicious boars through the streets of Las Vegas.

With the help of Cor and the Storm Ravens, Samantha discovers why she had been taken, and that a young girl’s life is in danger of Hell (yes, also real and once recipient of Peri offerings) as the tiend, or gift, from an outlawed sect, The Order of the Crows, who would love to see humanity wiped off the Earth.

Along the way, Samantha learns that real love can be found and that not every man will abandon her like her father did. She’s also disgusted by the girlish flirtation of her mother with Cor’s bodyguard, Landemann. Throw into the mix Nikki, Cor’s a 200+ year-old teenage sister, with a Krispy-Kreme fetish, Doreen, Samantha’s mother’s friend, who continually word-vomits about her bunions, plantar warts, and various other nauseating illnesses and medical procedures whether people want to hear or not (most often, NOT), and an ending that frames the book perfectly (Samantha must do the same for Cor that he did for her, remind him of who he is and help him find the exit). What you end up with is brilliant, pleasurable escape from your own “real world”.

I give Bedlam, Bath and Beyond 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend anyone over eighteen (it does have some sexual content) who is looking for a bit of fun and light reading to take a romp with the fairies :D .

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