Monday, March 13, 2017

Don't worry, I still love some things

I can be a snarky critic, but when something impresses, I'm a natural enthusiast. I can't have you read my last post and leave you with the impression that I'm looking at everything skeptically. Here's a list of what's currently knocking my socks off on TV. (Check my Amazon profile if you want to see what I'm loving in books.)

Legion Oh my god, this show. We're five episodes into an eight episode season, I can't tell you exactly what's going on, but I can't stop watching. How much do I love this? I actually stay up to watch this at 10 PM because I might not be able to sleep anyway if I have to miss it. Dan Stevens, who's almost unrecognizable from Downton Abbey, is David Haller, a super powerful mutant whose power (consciousness? brain? reality?) has been food for some kind of creature (another mutant?) since he was a young boy, and it's screwing with his mental health. Is he imagining everything we've seen since the first episode? Or is reality this disconcerting to someone with so much power? I can't tell you yet--hell, I can't even tell you when this is taking place--but I can't wait to find out. 

The Americans Another series on FX that's taking a much slower pace of storytelling, but it's just as engrossing. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are "Elizabeth and Philip Jennings" in the early 1980s, but they're really Soviet spies who have been here for decades and have gone full-on into their covers, including raising a family together. It's 1984 now, and the Cold War tensions are escalating. Elizabeth is a true believer and is willing to do anything to serve her homeland, while Philip has always tormented himself with questions before he does the same things. Giving them pause are their children, particularly daughter Paige (Holly Taylor), who knew something was off and had her worst theories confirmed. Elizabeth thinks they can be both good parents and patriots, but Philip knows that something is going to have to give. And that's just for starters. 

"Knock, knock"
The Young Pope I was as skeptical as everyone else about this series, and I was just as wrong. It's absurdist in part because nothing stays sub rosa for long, but part of its brilliance is its acknowledgement that everything changes eventually, even the Catholic Church, no matter how much the young, energetic pope can force his possible supernatural will over his minions. Jude Law is amazing--I need to be reminded that he's in fact British--as the man who's neither good nor bad but pure in it's most ruthless sense. 

Westworld Another example of someone taking a piece of Seventies schlock and turning it into an artistic masterpiece. How much consciousness does something have to have before it becomes immoral to treat it like a tool? And what does it say about someone who needs to play at inflicting pain in order to feel alive? Rachel Evan Wood, Thandie Netwon, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins are mesmerizing as the people (and androids) both grappling with those questions and living out those consequences. 

Finally, while I don't get to movie theaters that much, I did get to see The Lego Batman Movie, and I was legitimately impressed. The whole movie is one big wink at superhero storytelling period, but it's brilliant in addition to being hilarious. And can we give a big shout out to the casting department, if only for casting Kate Micucci as Clayface? 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017



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 Find out what love tastes like in a new twelve book series set at Copper Mountain Chocolates in Marietta, Montana.

Book #1: Melt My Heart, Cowboy by C.J. Carmichael 
Who is the handsome cowboy who comes into small town Marietta’s chocolate shop every week to buy a box of chocolates? More importantly…who is he buying the chocolates for? These are the questions sales clerk Rosie Linn asks herself as she waits for her sadly neglected childhood home to sell so she can pursue an exciting new career in L.A. Rosie finds out the answers the day rugged ranch hand Brant Willingham introduces himself and asks for her help in managing the care of his younger sister. Brant’s mother has recently died, leaving him the sole guardian of eighteen-year-old Sara Maria–who has been a puzzle to Brant ever since she began exhibiting signs of autism at age two. Rosie and Brant come up with a plan. She’ll help with his sister if he handles repairs and a new paint job for her old house. It seems the perfect solution, but a new dilemma is created when the couple start spending time together. Brant discovers he doesn’t want Rosie to sell and leave, and Rosie fears she will have to choose between love and her dreams.
Author website:

Buy Links - $3.99 
Book #2: A Thankful Heart 
by Melissa McClone 
Chocolate is better than men, and so are dogs. At least, that’s what Dakota Parker tells herself as she mends her broken heart and finds forever homes for rescue animals. So far, so good. She can indulge her love of chocolate where she works while her foster dogs provide her with the unconditional love she craves. What more does she need? Seattle architect Bryce Grayson is counting the days until he can return home to the big city with his father in tow. That is if he can convince his dad to leave Montana. Bryce’s escape plan, however, goes astray when he meets Dakota. Her sweet kisses put the chocolate she sells to shame. Maybe he should be the one to move to Marietta, but could he be happy living in such a small town? He has until Thanksgiving to decide. Author website:
Buy Links - $3.99
Book #3: 
by Debra Salonen 
Ad exec Krista Martin, while feeling more Grinch than elf, still jumps at the chance to co-chair Marietta’s Secret Santa Society. Why not? Especially since brilliant, attractive, and innovative tech wunderkind Jonah Andrews has agreed to help. He’s well connected and Krista’s hoping for some advice on rebooting her career. Jonah knows Krista has a not-so-hidden agenda, but sparring with her over cocoa at their Secret Santa meetings is the most fun he’s had since returning to his old hometown. Krista may come across as all business, but Jonah’s positive he’s glimpsed a little girl inside her who wants to believe in Santa… and in love. Author website:
Buy Links - $3.99
Book #4: The Chocolate Cure 
by Roxanne Snopek
No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men! New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it. But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her. The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions... on chocolate... on meddling... and especially on men.
Author website:
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Book #5: The Valentine Quest 
by Melissa McClone 
Keep your competition close…and your heart even closer. When Nevada Parker travels to Marietta, Montana, she anticipates enough peace and quiet to finish her PhD dissertation. Cupidville turns out to be anything but quiet. In fact, it looks like Valentine’s Day—her least favorite holiday—exploded all over the small town. Among the sea of red hearts, “Be Mine” signs, and pink, pink, pink, Nevada spots a flyer for a multi-day race called The Valentine Quest. The grand prize—a luxury tropical vacation—would be the perfect welcome-home gift for her brother who’s leaving the military. Dustin Decker sure could use a break from giving city slickers sleigh rides. Even with a bum knee from his bull-riding days, the race’s grand prize is as good as his—until he realizes he needs a partner if he wants to win.
Buy Links- $3.99
Book #6: Charmed by Chocolate by Steena Holmes 
(Releases on March 2, 2017)
When Leah ran off to Southern California, she hoped to leave freezing cold winters and unrequited love behind. She was never meant for a small town life and the timing with her longtime best friend–and secret soul mate–was always hopelessly off. But after a mishap on the hit reality show Charming, Leah declares her love for Wade nationwide and is publicly dubbed "Lonely Leah." She returns to Marietta to hide at her family's home–from the media who wants to turn her into a human interest story, from the townspeople upset with her blunder, and most of all, from Wade, who wants to talk. It took Leah leaving town to wake Wade Burns up to the reality that he's head over heels in love with his best friend. But now that she's back home, she's giving him the cold shoulder. With chocolate and a grand gesture, can Wade charm his way back into Leah’s heart? Author website:
Buy Links- $2.99
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