Moving on ...

A year ago I started a second blog at www.livevicarrieous.com

I had several reasons for the change.

  • Chocolate, No Nuts is a bit of a frivolous name. The .blogspot.com addendum is also amateurish. 
  • Although the livevicarrious blog is hosted by WordPress, I was able to buy the domain name so I eliminated the hosting portion of the blog name so I appear more professional. 
  • Experienced bloggers recommend WordPress over Blogger. 
So, I started the second blog. For a long time I've been cross posting to both blogs. Recently I've been posting book reviews here and other posts on the livevicarrieous site.

This will be the last post on this site. 

Book Talk Tuesday, Woe! It's Wednesday, and Author Spotlight Thursdays will continue at www.livevicarrieous.com

Although I only have 25 followers, I have many more page views so I know lots of my friends and family check in on me here. 

I know it's an inconvenience, but would you please take a minute to click on the link above, and either add it to your favorites or signup to follow that blog? I so appreciate each one of you who either comments on the blog or texts me or emails me or calls me or comments on Facebook to let me know you read my thoughts and ramblings. 

As a thank you, the first five people who leave a comment will win a free book (of my choice). Just leave your email address and I'll contact you for your snail mail address. 

Thank you!


Book Talk Tuesday: The Perfect Summer

The Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice is a wonderful book about the exact opposite of what the title promises. Bay McCabe  loves her life and her family. It's the longest day of the year, a day she loves and savors each summer. Her hopes and expectations for the coming months are dashed when her husband forgets to pick up their youngest daughter from softball practice.
Life changes for Bay and her three children when Sean doesn't come home at all that night. Then the bank officers where he works, the police, and the FBI come around asking questions about accounts Sean managed.
Daniel Connolly was Bay's first love when she was fifteen. They spent a summer hanging out and working together. Life moved on and Bay settled into her life with Sean. Until Sean disappeared and one of the last people he talked to was Dan, now working as a boat builder.
I've enjoyed Luanne Rice's books in the past. I loved The Geometry of Sisters and Follow the Stars Home. This was another good one.
Some snobs may dismiss Luanne's novels as too light or populist, but that's the kind of stuff I like. It takes me out of my life and gives me a glimpse of another's journey through love and loss. This one made me think about what would my perfect summer look like. And at the end of the season, would I look back with joy, peace, and contentment or anguish, doubt, and longing?


Book Talk Tuesday: One Was A Soldier

I'm a big Julia Spencer-Fleming fan. When we took a trip to upstate New York in 2011, I felt very comfortable there, like I'd been there before. The lake. The farms. The dairies. The village. The brick storefronts. It took me a while to realize it felt so familiar because I had been there before, thanks to Julia and her Reverend Clare novels. Julia did such a great job making the setting of Millers Kill come alive on the page that it was a short hop to thinking I’d been there when I saw it for real.

In the latest book, Clare is back from a stint as a National Guard chopper pilot in Iraq. She’s drinking too much, self-medicating too much, and having nightmares. She’s not alone. She joins a support group for other returning vets and gets drawn into their stories. The double leg amputee. The married woman whose battlefield affair follows her home. The doctor who can’t remember which patient he just saw and what he prescribed. The cop with anger management issues.

The ending of this one is a shocker and it's already two years old. I can't wait for the next installment. Please, Julia, hurry up and write!


Book Talk Tuesday: Field of Darkness

Book Talk Tuesday: Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read

I've been looking forward to this one for a long while.
I used to lurk on several mystery writer email loops and Cornelia Read's comments were always pithy, witty, and spot on.

Field of Darkness is Read's debut novel, but it reads like it's from an accomplished pro, which of course it is. She has three more books in addition to this one.

Madeline Dare comes from money so old it was coined on the Mayflower. Except she no longer has access to it. She's happily married but unhappily living in upstate New York and working as the lifestyle reporter for the local paper.

In a dinner conversation with her in-laws, a long-unsolved murder is mentioned and piques Maddie's interest. Her father-in-law shows her his connection to the case: a set of dog-tags he found at the scene. Dog-tags with the name of her favorite Oyster Bay cousin.

The case won't let go of Maddie and she begins to investigate just enough to prove her cousin's innocence. But by then, she's roused dogs that weren't just sleeping, they were tranquilized and now they're hungry and angry.

Field of Darkness was just what I expected from Cornelia Read. Clever, tight, and a rollicking good read. Just enough humor to keep it from being depressingly dark. Enough suspense to keep me turning the pages long into the night.

I'll add Read's other books to my towering stack of To-Be-Reads.


Woe! It’s Wednesday: Perspective

I was reminded today of one of my favorite legends.

I’ve heard it told as an anecdote about the prophet Elijah, King Arthur’s Merlin, and an unnamed wise man. I’ll use Elijah because I want to.

Elijah and his aide were journeying through a kingdom. They stopped at a rich man’s home and asked for shelter for the night. The rich man sent them to his barn and tossed them some pig slop for dinner.

The next morning, Elijah thanked the rich man and paid for a local tradesman to repair his crumbling wall. 

That night they lodged with a poor couple who shared their home and food freely, including plenty of milk from their only cow.

The next morning, the cow died.

As Elijah and his assistant continued on their journey, the younger man became angry with God and demanded Elijah tell him why the rich man was allowed to treat them so poorly and have his fence mended while the generous poor couple had to lose their cow.

Elijah sighed. “What you don’t know is that there was a vast treasure buried in the rich man’s wall. I had it repaired so he wouldn’t find it and become more greedy and selfish. It had been decreed that the poor woman would die that night, but in appreciation for the hospitality, God took the cow instead.”

I love that there’s more going on here that we don’t know. That it all comes down to trust. Trust and obey. Hey, I hear a song coming on…

Oh. Anyway, I remind myself of this story when things happen that I can’t make sense of.

Sometimes I forget that God is in charge and I’m not Him. He has his reasons. He is sovereign. He knows what’s needed and what’s best. I trust Him.

I do.


Thanks, I needed to be reminded that I do.


Book Talk Tuesday: Full Disclosure

Ann Silver is a “cop’s cop.” She’s the officer called in to consult on the hard to solve cases throughout the mid-West. Paul Falcon is a top FBI agent. They meet when Ann works a case and uncovers evidence on one of Paul’s longtime aggravations: a female assassin who’s eluded capture for a decade.

Full DisclosureAnn brings the evidence to Paul and they discover they have many friends in common. Paul is intrigued by Ann and pursues a relationship with her. She isn’t as sure as he is, but she allows them a friendship to see where it leads.

Meanwhile, two other cases consume their time and attention. Then their interests and their cases intersect.

I’ve been a rabid Dee Henderson fan since I picked up my first O’Malley book. I devour them all. I was so looking forward to this one. So perhaps it’s my own fault. I gave it an impossibly high bar to reach. It’s probably not the books nor the author’s fault that for me, this one didn’t quite measure up.

It’s well written. But it just felt flat to me. Part of it is the character of Ann Silver. She’s too perfect. The woman has no flaws. She’s a hotshot consultant. Everyone LOVES her and gushes about how fabulous she is. She’s an ace pilot with friends at every airport in the country. Sure, she’s a lousy cook and she has nightmares. Maybe it’s just me, but I had a hard time feeling anything for her.

Paul is nearly as perfect. Adopted into an already large family, he wears the inherited mantle of eldest son well. He’s intrigued when he meets Ann and questions his friends and family members to learn what makes her tick. He moves their relationship along as calculatingly as if he were spreading a noose for someone on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

As many friends and family member as Ann and Paul had in common, someone would have introduced them long before Ann flew into Chicago to tell Paul a story.

I’ll read more by Dee Henderson, but I’ll be sure to hold the bar a little lower. That way I won’t be disappointed again.


Woe! It’s Wednesday: Positively Maybe I’m Done With Downton Abbey

Unless you’ve been living on the slopes of Mount Everest, you’ve probably heard all the kerfuffle about Downton Abbey and its season ending episode. Viewers are outraged and threatening Julian Fellowes with pitchforks and torches. The writers and production team are busy pointing fingers and yelling their reasons.

I’ve read some of both sides and I have to say, I agree with them both. 

The reasons it made sense:

Viewers liked the actor and wouldn’t want to see that character played by anyone else.

His story arc was done. What else could be done to him?

His death would make the other characters mine their own depths for future storylines.


The reasons con:

It was the second family member death in Season 3. How many tragedies should this family bear?

The whole episode ended with no hope for next year. No reason to tune in. Grief. Mourning. More black dresses.

Viewers feel betrayed.

I’m not sure I feel betrayal but dismay? Definitely.

This season seemed more soap opera than period drama. It also began overlaying 21st century political correctness on early 20th century conventions. I don’t believe that a man who would forbid his family to be served lunch by a former prostitute would be so accepting of a homosexual man dressing him and serving at his table.

I’ll likely tune in to the beginning of Season 4, but they better hook me and reel me in. Otherwise, I’ll move on.

What do you think? Did the ending leave you yearning for more? Or were you let down?