From the Grab Bag

We’re in the time of year that always seems sort of disjointed to me.  We’ve had Halloween, Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, and Christmas, which is even more weeks away, already dominates the world of retail.  So I sort of feel as though we’re suspended between holidays.  I refuse to start Christmas shopping yet, and it’s too soon to do more than ponder Thanksgiving.

Good thing there are so many books to be read while in holiday limbo.  I’m not ready start reading Christmas books yet, though I love buying short stories and anthologies as well as holiday-themed books.


I just downloaded the latest in Elle Kennedy’s Killer instincts series, Midnight Action.  I love romantic suspense, and these feature hot romance and explosive action.  Kennedy has been building up to this book, which will reveal the shared past of the two team leaders, Nicole and Jim, with hints throughout the series.  Now we get the payoff!

For more info on the series, visit the author’s website,

18811375I’ve also been reading an intriguing paranormal mystery series by Karen Robards.  The latest book (I think it’s the third) is Her Last Whisper and is in my electronic TBR collection.  The books are about Dr. Charlotte Stone, a psychiatrist who can communicate with the recently dead.  She has her own personal ghostly heartthrob/bane in the form of Michael Garland, a convicted murderer who was murdered in prison.

Charlotte recognizes that this is not a good relationship option. Tony Bartoli, the hunky FBI agent who brings her in to consult on serial killer cases, would be a way better choice, yet it’s Michael who makes her pulse race.  And makes her wonder whether he was actually guilty.  The author’s website is

14570913 In a change of pace, I’m looking forward to kicking back with a special CD collection.  I recently met Helen Breen, who has assembled two CDs of songs from World War I.  Y’all know this is an interest of mine.  It’s also one of Helen’s, and she very kindly gave me the CDs.

The first one is pictured at left.  You can listen to clips via Amazon if you click on the cover.

Ice-Forged-cover-21-140x227I’m currently reading the second volume in an epic fantasy series from Gail Z. Martin.  The first book is Ice Forged.  It’s about what happens when mages go to war and things go horribly wrong.  The world is intriguing, and the characters are great.  The hero, Blaine McFadden, has his life turned upside down twice in the first book and discovers that more may ride on his fate than his own survival.

Gail’s website is

25192124044_p0_v2_s114x166And if reading palls, why, there are DVDs and movies.  The dh and I are thrilled that Grimm has finally returned for its fourth season.  Our hero, Nick, has lost his special abilities, and that doesn’t bode well for the home team.  We like the depth of the characters and the way the world keeps developing.

Plus, yes, there’s a lot of action. *g*

24543679936_p0_v2_s260x420Finally, the return of White Collar should carry us into the Christmas season.  We fell in love with this series from the beginning.  The writing was superb, and the actors delivered solid performances every week.  We thought it kind of got away from its bromance roots the last season or two, but last night’s premiere harkened back to the good old days.

It’s too bad that the series ends after these six episodes, but I’d rather see it go out strong than linger and fade.

What are you doing while we’re between holidays?  Are you looking ahead and getting ready, or are you biding your time and diverting yourself?  If you were to recommend a book or TV show to the “I can’t think about it yet” crowd (including me), what would it be and why?  Please tell us a bit about whatever you suggest.



  • Jane says:

    Hello Nancy,
    I’ve been itching to go shopping, but I don’t think the good deals are happening yet. I’m still awaiting word as to which cousin will host the big Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been enjoying a few shows that debuted recently like The Flash and How to Get Away With Murder. How to Get Away With Murder is a bit insane and campy, but addictive and Viola Davis is amazing in it.

    • Jane, congrats on snagging the rooster! We’ve also enjoyed The Flash. I haven’t seen How To Get Away With Murder, but it looks intriguing. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Nancy

    Christmas is the next biggy here in Oz and I really haven’t started to think much about it yet as we are going on a cruise to New Zealand in 2 weeks and that is the thing most on my mind at the moment : although I have been buying a few Christmas stories I have only read one of the Anna’s Her Christmas Earl which I have to say is fantastic and I have been trying very hard to catch up on more books I just finishe Suz’s Close to the Fire WOW awesome read and as I don’t really watch TV there is nothing that I am waiting on there 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Helen, a cruise to New Zealand sounds fabulous! It would take a long time from here, alas, but what a cool thing to do! I have Her Christmas Earl and Close to the Fire but haven’t read either yet. I’m always behind on reading, mainly because there are always new books coming out!

  • flchen1 says:

    Sorry, not much of a TV watcher! I loved Joanna Bourne’s Rogue Spy–a fabulous addition to her Spymaster series (historical spies–so yummy! Her books are very re-readable to me–very intricately woven…) And just read a couple of Jennifer McQuiston’s Scotland books… I recall the buzz about her around her debut, and finally read that debut–well justified, although I found it to be a slightly slow start. And she’s in Africa right now, working on Ebola and health issues, which I admire very much. Can’t believe it’s already November…

    • Fedora, I’ve been meaning to read that Joanna Bourne series. I hear such great things about it–and I do love spies.

      Jenni McQuiston is pretty amazing. She and her CDC comrades did a program at RWA in Atlanta that included how they gear up for hazardous situations. I’ve thought about that since she headed out.

      • flchen1 says:

        I put off reading Joanna Bourne for a long time until I made the mistake of starting The Spymaster’s Lady somewhat late one night. I didn’t stop until I was finished, and well, I was well and hooked 🙂

        • Cassondra says:

          Fedora, when Dianna Love raves about a series, it’s something I always know will be amazing. She told me yesterday that I MUST MUST MUST read this series. That this is now at the top of her autobuy list. That says a lot to me, so I’m going to get it. Gotta find out which is the first.

  • Shannon says:

    November doesn’t seem as much in between time because there are a couple of things going on before the push to the holidays that I’m busy from one thing to another and I do have a certain amount of stuff done before the end of the month.

    Next Monday, I probably need to do some cat herding, which will probably involve a ladies lunch. Wonder if I can get us to go to one or another Mexican place?

    Among the other things is the broadcast of Billy Elliot, the musical which tickets have always been sold out or so high priced that I’ve never gone. No one but me seems interested, but that means I can go out to that odd Mediterranean restaurant afterwords.

    After that I spend a week in a training course. Some times we get off early. And sometimes we get off early with three hours of reading.

    A friend is throwing a big party for her grandson’s confirmation.

    Then my college is hosting a reunion reception on another Sunday. It is at one of the best Lebanese restaurants in town.

    I’m re-readig this. Food seems to be the theme of November for me.

    • Shannon says:

      I take back what I’ve said about Christmas arriving two months before the day. I just came from the grocery store. Everything is about Christmas. Candles, tissues, paper towel, crackers, cookies, candies, cooking gifts, and lots of stuff for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The deli counter even has Christmas sausage! At least they still had on elevator music that was not Christmas tunes.

    • Wow, what a month! You have a lot going on.

      I hate the way “Look! It’s Christmas!” stuff starts at Halloween. The “season” isn’t enjoyable, nor does it seem special, when it drags on for weeks. At least you were spared holiday music, at least for a while.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Thinking about Christmas but haven’t started yet. Would recommend Sarah Morgan’s Maybe This Christmas or Marie Force’s I Saw Her Standing There. Two great reads. Fell in love with the main characters in both books. As for TV, anyone watch the new show Scorpion? The characters are geniuses and social misfits who help the government solve crimes. Love the cast and the humor involved. Also like the new NCIS although the cast just doesn’t have the chemistry the original show provides.

    • Debbie, thanks for the suggestions. I think Scorpion is intriguing. I’m wary of NCIS: NO because bad southern accents give me hives. I rarely watch shows set in the South because the accents are so often either generic hick or inconsistent–present in one scene but not holding up in the next. So it’s good to hear someone’s watching and liking it. Our favorite NCIS is LA. We like its mx of banter and action.

  • Minna says:

    Lately I’ve been reading some steampunk books by Bec McMaster and Cindy Spencer Pape. Vampire books by Kerrelyn Sparks, First to Burn by Anna Richland, dragon series by Lorenda Chritensen and angel series by Dana Marie Bell. Except for Murdoch mysteries, there really hasn’t been any other series on tv I’d bother to watch.

  • catslady says:

    I’m in between although knowing how much has to be done in the near future is always on my mind. We got hooked on Hell on Wheels and just found out it starts up again tonight. Love the characters and hearing about the building of the railroads and not the sterile information that you learn in school lol.

  • Nancy, I’ve had a fairly crazy week so I’m about to go and curl up with a book. I’ve heard a lot about Susanna Kearsley’s books so I’m about to start my first by her – The Shadowy Horses. Romance and archeology and Scotland. Sounds right up my alley!

  • Deb says:

    Nancy, I don’t watch a lot of t.v. any more, and mostly we watch reality shows in our house or news. My husband likes the Alaska Frontier show. I think it’s kind of hokey.

    I don’t really have any book recs either. It has been a crazy fall at school, and even though I pop in at the Lair every day, I don’t always comment or have time to do so.

    I like Christmastime, but hate how retailers push it so early. I have always been a last minute shopper because I can never think of anything to buy people. (Even my own husband.)

    • Deb, I’m sorry the fall has been crazy. Maybe the new year will be smoother.

      I also hate having shopping for Christmas pushed on me so early. I won’t do it. I shop early if I see something that would be perfect for someone, but otherwise, I start after Thanksgiving–and I avoid Black Friday. Fighting my way through a mob does not put me in a happy, generous frame of mind.

      Don’t worry about whether you comment on a given day. We appreciate everyone who stops by, whether or not they have time to speak up.

  • Cassondra says:

    Nancy I am actually thinking about Christmas and not dreading it. Trying to get my mind around clearing out enough space that we can have a tree and maybe actually decorate this year. I’d love that. Tired of just watching teh season go by.

    I have no good tv shows to recommend. Mine would all be reruns for you. “While You Were Sleeping” would be my go-to Christmas movie of course. As for Christmas books, I’ve bought but not read Anna Campbell’s new novella, and Jeanne Adams’s Thanksgiving novella. I think that one will be a good holiday transition book. People ignore Thanksgiving. That bothers me.

    • Cassondra, I love having the tree up. I hope that works for you this year.

      I’d forgotten that While You Were Sleeping was a Christmas movie. I, too, have Anna’s and Jeanne’s novella, along with Tawny’s new SEAL book.

  • Mozette says:

    I’m always working on new work throughout the year. Yeah, my brain never stops working … no such thing as a holiday here inside my head! 😛

    I’m either working on new stuff, editing my finished work or reading books I’ve begun and am halfway through.

    And when television gets just that little bit too corny and Christmas-like, I pull out my horror movies, vampire television shows and ‘Supernatural’ dvd collection and put them on just as ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ reruns come on at 7pm (I mean, how many times can we see that damn show? Honestly!) and I sit at my craft table and paint as many pegs and coat hangers as I can before I run out of room and time… 🙂

    Otherwise, I’m looking forward to Stephen King’s two new books coming out in the next few weeks and next year and I’m hoping to get into reading more of Jo Robertson’s ‘The Watcher’ (what a great book!) and there’s another audio book I’m trying to get from another writer – and am having problems with as the code keeps stuffing up – once I finish listening to ‘The Watcher’ I’ll get into ‘Death by Didgeridoo’. Yep, lots to do and plenty of time to get it all done…

    How? Most of my Christmas shopping has been done over the last month. 😀

  • Amy Conley says:

    I want to read the Karen Robard’s story NOW! I read the first one and was hooked. I’ve read most of her books since so many are set in the Louisville area ( where she lives ) which is so close to me. This latest series has blown me away.
    In the non-book world I am at my in-laws’ house waiting for her to pass away, hopefully in her sleep and painfree.She accused me tonight of lying to her and not staying, but here I sit, getting ready to read Cathy Maxwell’s, The Groom Says Yes.