MJ’s Musings: Book Bingo: TBR Pile-WICKED GAMES

My local RWA chapter is once again running a Book Bingo challenge. This year’s Bingo board is 96% different than last year’s challenge. The only square that has not changed is the center square: Written by a CNYRW member. I think this year’s contest is going to be more challenging for me than last year’s was.

However, the first square I completed was YOUR TBR PILE (this included your Kindle version of the TBR pile).  I chose WICKED GAMES by Jessica Clare.

The novel is heavily based on the TV program SURVIVOR. I’m sure there are aspects of other reality shows mixed into the concept, particularly the “romance”-based ones.  I was surprised I liked the book as much as I did, having never watched television of this genre. Well-written and fast-paced, the story could have bogged down describing the challenges. It didn’t. Yes, important parts of the plot were predictable, but the book was still a fun read.

MJ’s Musings: “Do You Have Change for a Twenty?”

I dread having someone ask me this question.

People like me, who use ATMs, always have too many twenty dollar bills.  I’m fortunate that my bank’s ATM has an option with $5 increments, so when I withdraw cash, I make sure it’s $35 or $55 or $75 dollars. (If you take out $95, you get a $50, which sucks worse than a $20, especially since the McDonald’s next door will no longer accept $50 or $100 bills .)

So yeah, I usually do have change for a twenty in my wallet.

But if I make change for you, then I’m stuck with your $20, which defeats the purpose of my banking strategy.  And lately, it seems as if I’m asked if I can break a twenty a lot.

I need to start lying, and others need to change banks.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Kiss An Angel

In 2019, my Thursday Thoughts blog will feature a review of a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel on the first Thursday of every month.

This month’s review is one of my top three favorite SEP books: KISS AN ANGEL. My paper copy disintegrated, so I purchased it on Kindle.

When I learn people who are SEP fans haven’t read this story, I am shocked. The excuse I hear most often is, “Isn’t that the circus book?” accompanied by a wrinkled nose, as in, “Eww.” Really? You would pass up an wonderful story because the backdrop is a circus? The setting isn’t merely a backdrop. It is also the device that explains a huge part of the hero’s behavior and is the driving force behind the heroine’s growth. The circus–a traveling mud show–is a character; a living, breathing entity.You accept a football universe. Why not a circus, which is more varied?

This book makes me cry every time I read it. It is a marriage of convenience story combined with on-the-road elements. DAISY is coerced into marrying  ALEX by her father, who claims his only child needs to “grow up.” That he has an ulterior motive for the match shouldn’t come as a surprise. How, you ask, can a father in a contemporary novel force his daughter to do anything? SEP has that covered.

Alex and Daisy’s individual growth toward Happily Ever After is deep and emotionally moving.

As in all of SEP’s novels, there is a secondary romance. I’m not a huge fan of many of those romances. Some feel a touch creepy-icky to me. The one in KISS AN ANGEL is borderline icky, but it suits the characters involved, and plays a major role in Daisy and Alex’s HEA.

If I were to give out stars on a 1 to 5 scale, KISS AN ANGEL would receive five.