Updates About Restaurants I’ve Reviewed

Howdy, howdy!  Happy November!  Is everyone getting ready for the holidays?  They’ll be here before you know it.  I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and the month where everything is peppermint flavored.  Are you looking forward to anything?  Anyway, Dad and I recently went to a restaurant I reviewed a long time ago and it was kind of blah.  So, I thought I would take the day to look back on past reviews and see if there is anything I need to update about them.  Let’s just go in chronological order from the beginning.

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1. The Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro.  I honestly have no idea how this one is holding up since I haven’t been back to Maine recently.  It’s still open according to Google, so if you’re in the area, check it out and let me know how it is.

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2. Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill.  This place is still one of our favorites.  We don’t get out that way as often as we’d like, but we still recommend it to anyone in the area who loves seafood.

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3. Big Shucks Oyster Bar.  This place is still the best when it comes to scallops.  We haven’t gone recently (we’d rather go to Half Shells most of the time), but we still love it.

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4. St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin.  We haven’t been to any of the Deep Ellum restaurants in a long time because of all of the stuff that’s been going on (violence and the scooters of doom mostly), but we always enjoy St. Pete’s when we do go.

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5. The Free Man Cajun Cafe.  Same as St. Pete’s.

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6. Real Mexican Tacos.  It’s still our go-to taco place.  We usually end up here once or twice a month since it’s so close.  Say hi if you drop in and we’re there!

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7. The Mansion Restaurant.  We haven’t been back and have no plans to go back.  It’s a wonderful experience, but not something that needs to be done every year.  Splurge if you’re celebrating something big.  Otherwise, there are less expensive places where you get more food.

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8. Zenna.  Everything has gone downhill here.  The food is always disappointing and the service, while friendly, is always a little messed up.  It’s not really a place I’d recommend anymore.

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9. On the Lamb.  They shut down a long time ago.  I kind of miss them, but didn’t really expect them to make it.

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10. Texas de Brazil.  Still awesome.  And it’s our new Thanksgiving tradition!  Dad, our neighbor, and I already have our reservation for turkey day.  So much yum.

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11. Seafood Shack Mariscos.  We’ve only been back a couple of times, but we enjoy it.

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12. The Schooner Restaurant.  Haven’t been back and don’t want to.  Even if we were in the area, we wouldn’t go back.

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13. Crispy ‘N’ Puffy Taquito.  They are closed.  It’s no surprise.  But they blamed the city of Mesquite and its strict regulations regarding signs.  It had nothing to do with awful food.

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14. Trinity Hall Irish Pub.  We’ve been back a couple of times and it’s still great.  Go and enjoy!

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15. Yoshi Shabu Shabu.  We haven’t been back, so I don’t know how it holds up.

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16. Fritzl’s Euro Grill.  Still recommend it.  Maybe we’ll make it back some time before Christmas.

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17. Burger Style Cafe.  Still go here every couple of weeks or so.  It’s delicious and nearby, so what’s not to love?

There’s my update.  Most of them are still good, a couple are closed, and one is meh.  Life goes on and things change.  What are some of your favorite places to eat?  As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on BLACK ROCK BAY

Hello, hello!  Tomorrow is Halloween, so guess what that makes this post!  Yup.  Welcome to October’s book review.  This month, I decided to try something a little darker, set on an island off of Maine.  It’s called Black Rock Bay and it’s by Brianna Labuskes.  It was released yesterday (October 29th), so of course I got an ARC.  Therefore, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher, Thomas and Mercer (an imprint of Amazon Publishing), for giving me access to the book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Now, let’s get onto the fun part.

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A simple cover that actually has something to do with the story.

Black Rock Bay follows Mia and her newest detective partner, Izzy, as they get sent to Mia’s old home in order to investigate a suspicious death.  It’s an unusual assignment since they handle cold cases, but the islanders are secretive and only warm up to their own.  Granted, Mia hasn’t been back in fifteen years due to a mysterious suicide attempt gone wrong, but her boss hopes being born and raised there will earn her some good will.  As Mia and Izzy dig into the suspicious death, they uncover something far more sinister than the average murder and it takes Mia right back to the time of her life she most wants to forget.

Sounds cool, right?  And it is, to a point.  I think I’m just going to jump right into my issues with the story.  The plot is interesting and plausible, but at the end there are a few loose ends that are never adequately explained.  Normally, this wouldn’t be so bad, but it affects the believability of key parts of the story.  For instance, why is Ellen so easily manipulated?  Yes, people in trouble do weird things, but we never really get to know her motivation which makes her flat and seem like she was added specifically as a tool for the baddie.  But my biggest issue was what Sammy did.  He had absolutely no legitimate reason for that.  And the excuse we get was a vague mention that the baddie might have had something on him.  It was a really weak spot that made the whole story less believable.  And it was a twist that was completely unnecessary.  Even the author couldn’t come up with a better explanation than “psychopaths do things for shits and giggles.”  Like, yeah, but this is fiction.  There needs to be a reason for all the major plot points or things start to fall apart.

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Something all writers should ask themselves.

That being said, I really liked the core characters.  Mia was strong and a good lead.  She had her own issues to face, but fought against them until she absolutely had to deal with them.  Izzy was a nice foil, but she could have been more.  Lacey was a fun character that was a little hard to read.  And Cash was a bit neurotic.  I’m not entirely convinced he was supposed to be, but it made him more interesting.  The whole reclusive islander thing worked really well.  Izzy’s ostracization was entirely believable.  No one was overtly rude to her, but they effectively shut her out.  That dynamic was probably my favorite part of this book.  And Izzy breaking down barriers with some of the islanders was artfully done.

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Me as I was trying to figure out who I was supposed to be in the mind of: Mia or Izzy?

The writing itself flowed nicely and made for an easy read.  It was interesting how the point of view swapped back and forth between Mia and Izzy; however, the narrative voice never really changed enough to differentiate the two, so if I didn’t note who each chapter was focused on (it tells you at the beginning of each chapter), I admit I got confused.

Ultimately, I found Black Rock Bay to be so-so.  It’s not bad.  In fact, the beginning is pretty good.  But it doesn’t hold up.  It’s not something I’ll read again and it doesn’t make me want to hunt down other books by the author.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.  Probably closer to 2.5 if I’m being completely honest.  It just didn’t work for me, but maybe you’ll like it.

Halloween Movies

Howdy, howdy!  Since Halloween is only a week and a day away (wow!), I thought I would take the chance to share some of my favorite Halloween-ish movies with you.  I’m not really a movie person, so you’ll notice that they’re all super old (like 1995 or older) and none of them are scary.  Don’t get me wrong.  Scary movies are fine, but I’d rather be laughing at something meant to be stupid/funny than rolling my eyes at people who keep making stupid choices and dying.  If I’m going to spend time watching something, I want to be entertained.  Anyway, here are five movies/specials I enjoy around this time of year.  In no particular order.

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1. Hocus Pocus.  It’s funny and a good waste of an hour and a half.  Granted, I haven’t watched it in about ten years, but my tastes haven’t changed that much.  I’m just too lazy to record it when it’s on.  If it were on Netflix or Hulu, I’d rewatch it in a heartbeat.  Alas, if I want it commercial-free, I’d have to pay and I’m too cheap to do that for something I’ve already seen.  But it’s cute and a little creepy if you have your mind in the gutter.  If you haven’t seen it, find it.

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2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  I know it’s only a TV special, but I’m still counting it.  Dad and I watch it every year and probably will until they decide to stop airing it or until we die.  Whichever comes first.  I mean, who doesn’t love Peanuts?  I don’t care what anyone says, the “I got a rock” bit is never not funny.  It’s a half hour out of your life.  Sit down and watch it.

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3. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.  I haven’t seen this one since I was a kid because they decided to stop airing it.  I don’t know why.  It’s one of the few TV specials that I still think about every year, but I haven’t been able to find it (crap quality bootleg versions don’t count).  Although, Google says Amazon Prime has it.  I don’t have have that particular service, nor do I want it, but if you do, go check it out.  It’s a half hour of giggles.

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4. Casper.  I know, I know.  It’s a dorky choice, but I enjoy it.  Yes, I realize it’s a childhood nostalgia trap where the movie might actually suck, but I don’t care.  I’d still watch it again if I could find it.  It’s been a while (10+ years) since I’ve seen it all the way through.  And since it appears Starz currently has it, I won’t be catching it any time soon.  But it’s a fun waste of two hours.  Especially if you’re into ’90s teen dramedies.

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5. The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Or pretty much any Tim Burton film.  Beetlejuice, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands.  The list goes on and on.  But if you grew up in the ’90s, The Nightmare Before Christmas is probably the one you have a soft spot for.  After all, we liked it before it was cool.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite Halloween movies?  Do you prefer old or new?  Funny or scary?  Feel free to share your list here or on my social media pages!

Things I’d Rather Be Doing Than Blogging

Howdy, howdy! As I’m writing this on Tuesday, it’s a warm (mid-80s), dreary day in October.  Not unusual for north Texas around this time of year.  But it has me feeling blah and lazy.  It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling to come up with topics for my blog each week, so I thought I would take the chance to let you know what I would rather be doing.  Some of which I will probably indulge in after I finish this post.  Please forgive me if it’s a little shorter than usual, but I’m really lacking motivation.  Without further ado, here are three things I’d rather be doing at this exact moment.

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I mean, Christmas is coming up.  Or my birthday.  Size XL.  Just saying.

1. Binge watching anime that I’ve fallen behind on.  I was watching a new episode of Fruits Basket as it came out each week and now I’m suddenly nine episodes behind.  I don’t even remember what initially interrupted my watching streak.  It wasn’t that I got bored with the show, I know that much.  Plus I have at least ten shows in my queue that I either want to watch or rewatch.  No idea why I haven’t made time for anime, but on days like this, watching it is all I really feel like doing.

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2. Crocheting.  Yeah.  That hobby I talked about trying months ago is still a thing I’m working on.  I don’t have any finished products yet, but I’m really enjoying doing something with my hands.  And seeing the progress I’m making is really cool.  It’s a creative outlet that’s so different from writing.  I’ve always been a super harsh judge of my writing.  Mistakes and shitty storylines that I have to keep reworking are annoying as all get out.  But with crochet, I see errors and loose stitches and I’m still at a point where I can overlook them and see my improvement.  It’s still fun.  And if I ever finish anything, I’ll be sure to share it (warts and all) here.

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3. Reading.  I’m currently trying to finish up a book to review.  I have one more chapter left.  But I also have a bunch of books I want to start when I’m done, including one to review next month.  So many choices, so little time.  If I’m honest, I should read the next review book and get ahead a little, but I’ll probably pick something fun that I’ve been wanting to read for a while.  Maybe a cozy.  Maybe not.  If you follow me on GoodReads, you’ll find out when I decide.

That’s enough blogging today.  I think I’m going to go finish reading that book real quick, then get in some crocheting before other things distract me.  What about you?  What would you rather be doing on gloomy work days?  Would you like to snuggle up with a good book and a glass of something yummy?  Or maybe you’d rather go for a jog?  Whatever you decide, tell me about it.  Feel free to share your lists or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Candy Nopes

Howdy, howdy!  Since it’s October, the great Candy Corn debate has started up again.  If you’ve been on any social media platforms, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The passive aggressive memes about there being two types of people in the world (Candy Corn lovers vs. Candy Corn haters).  The more aggressive memes that claim the best way to eat Candy Corn is to throw it in the trash.  You see similar memes around most holidays with various foodstuffs.  Well, since I have nothing else to ramble about and I’ve pretty much exhausted favorite candies/chocolates in past posts, I thought I’d share my top five candy nopes.  Also known as candies I’m just not a fan of.

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Or just don’t buy it in the first place.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Candy Corn.  I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan.  Would I throw them away?  Probably not.  But I wouldn’t buy them for myself.  I’ll eat them if they’re there, but they’re always disappointing.  They just taste like sugar and they have a weird waxy texture that ends  with an unappetizing grittiness.  They’re not bad, but they aren’t good either.  There are other things I’d rather put in my mouth.

2. Peeps.  These are typically debated around Easter, but Halloween versions exist, so I’ll say it now: I don’t like Peeps.  To be fair, I don’t really like marshmallows, so they didn’t stand much of a chance in the first place.  Sure, s’mores are okay.  And I wouldn’t turn down hot chocolate with marshmallows.  But if I’m eating a marshmallow, there needs to be chocolate with it.  Or something to make them taste interesting.  Peeps don’t meet that requirement.

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Halloween Peeps on parfaits?  Maybe.

3. Mounds and Almond Joys.  I like the flavor of coconut and small amounts of toasted, shredded coconut is fine.  But a mouthful of shredded coconut makes me feel like I’m chewing on a clod of moist hair.  I don’t know why it brings that image to mind.  I know it’s completely different, but I can’t do it.  It’s my one texture thing.  I can do slimy and pretty much anything else, but not hairy type stuff.  Make fun of me all you want.  I’ll just be over here not having to pick moist coconut flesh from between my teeth.

4. SweeTarts and Smarties.  Actually, pretty much any sugar flavored chalk is a no from me.  This includes the heart candy you see around Valentine’s day.  It’s not bad, but it’s not my cup of tea.  I do like the chewy version of SweeTarts, though.

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M&M.  But it still applies.

5. Peanut M&Ms.  Sorry, not sorry.  I love peanut butter in my chocolate, but not peanuts.  I’m iffy on almonds too.  Nuts in my chocolate are great if there’s a good chocolate to nut ratio, but companies rarely get it right.  And yes, I heard it as I was typing it.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

So, what are your candy nopes?  Feel free to share your lists and comments here or on my social media pages!

Year-End Reading List

Hello, hello!  It’s the beginning of October and I have nothing useful to ramble about.  Confession: this year has been far less productive than I had hoped.  But I have been continually submitting despite not writing as regularly as I should.  I’ve written a few short pieces, am slowly revising one of my novels so I can start the agent hunt again, and have read pretty much every day that I wasn’t sick this year.  It’s nowhere near what I should have accomplished, but that’s life.  It’s my own fault.  I’ve decided that over the next three months, I will stop procrastinating and hit the revision as hard as I can, so that I can submit to agents again starting in January.  I will keep submitting my short pieces every Monday.  And I’ll keep reading, which brings me to the point of this post.  Here’s my planned year-end reading list in no particular order.

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As usual, I plan to read at least two books each month, one for my book reviews and one for fun.  I currently only have one of the book review choices picked out, so here is that one and my three “for fun” books.  I might try to squeeze a couple of others in if I have time.

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1. Black Rock Bay by Brianna Labuskes.  This will be October’s book review.  I was missing Maine and looking for something a little darker than a cozy, so I picked this one up from NetGalley.  Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads (where you can also find links to preorder it):

Detective Mia Hart never planned to return home. One terrifying summer night, Mia lost two of her closest friends to suicide. Scarred and broken, she fled St. Lucy’s, a small island off the coast of Maine.

Now fifteen years later, when the body of a journalist is fished out of the bay near St. Lucy’s cliffs, Mia is forced to help with the case—and face all she’s been running from. As she approaches the island, the wintery winds of Black Rock Bay usher Mia home again.

When Mia digs into the reporter’s death, she finds he left behind a written clue: It wasn’t suicide. Mia soon discovers it’s her own tragic past he was referring to. Now, as she tries to untangle a web of lies, Mia realizes that solving this case means becoming the next pawn in someone’s blood-chilling game of truth or die.

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2. The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill.  This is the second in his Hester Thursby mystery series.  I reviewed the first one here, and enjoyed it enough that I’m looking forward to this one.  It’s another one that seems to be on the darker side, but it actually falls in the cozy realm.  Also, I had no idea it was going to be set in Maine, so that’s just a bonus.  Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:

Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt. Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.

Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.

Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong…

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3. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss.  The third and final tale of the women in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.  I fell in love with them from book one.  What’s not to love about the daughters of a bunch of villains and madmen running around saving the day?  Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:

Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club… especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!

As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.

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4. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chien.  It’s the fourth in her Noodle Shop Mystery series.  A true cozy series.  It’s just a fun bunch of books and I enjoy them.  Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:

The Asian community is kicking off summer with the return of its popular Cleveland Night Market festivities, and Lana Lee is excited to represent the Ho-Lee Noodle House booth with her favorite chef, Peter Huang. Lana is confident that the evening marks the beginning of a great season to come. Not only is she looking forward to the warm temperatures, but her birthday is only weeks away, her handsome boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, is planning a romantic get-away. Life couldn’t be better.

But before she can get too accustomed to the idea of a carefree summer, an explosion involving a nearby food truck, Wonton on Wheels, kills one of the proprietors and injures several others in the nearby vicinity.

When the authorities discover that this was no accident, the family members of the dead man become the number-one suspects in a front-page murder story. Lana and her best friend, Megan Riley, fall back into detective mode. But as they uncover family secrets of abuse and angry costumers, Lana’s own family drama raises its head. Will Lana be able to juggle everything the universe is throwing at her, or has she jumped from the frying pan to the fire? 

What about you?  What’s on your year-end reading list?  Feel free to share your list here or on my social media pages!

Thoughts on LAST PEN STANDING

Howdy, howdy!  It’s already the last Wednesday of September.  Where did the month go?  For that matter, where did all the months since March go?  My internal clock is kind of lagging.  Anyway, it’s the last Wednesday and that means it’s book review time!  I decided to go back to a cozy mystery this time, because I wanted something with a guaranteed happy ending.  So, I requested Last Pen Standing, the first in a brand new series by Vivian Conroy.  It was released yesterday (Sept. 24th).  As usual, I must thank NetGalley and the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for allowing me access to an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Let’s get to it!

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Cute cover and pretty fitting.

Last Pen Standing follows Delta Douglas as she embarks on a new chapter in her life.  Delta’s grandmother gifts her a large sum of money because she wants to see what Delta will achieve with it instead of waiting and passing it on as an inheritance.  So, Delta quits her big city job and becomes co-owners of a stationery store in a small town with her college bestie, Hazel.  During their first workshop event at the town’s fanciest hotel, one of the hotel guests is murdered.  Hazel’s brother, Finn, is accused and everything kind of spirals from there.  Delta didn’t expect to be using her creative skills to help solve a murder, but things don’t always go the way you want.  With the help of her new friend, Jonas (an ex-cop), his dog, Spud, and the Paper Posse (the local gossips and crafters), Delta tries her best to figure out what’s going on.

I have to admit that I didn’t pinpoint the correct suspect right away.  I had the person in my list of probable suspects, but I wasn’t positive until I got closer to the end.  That made the story all the more fun, because I was able to eliminate suspects right alongside Delta and the others.  The plot was full of twists and turns.  I really liked the slow build of tension and the subtle clues sprinkled throughout.  It was just paced really nicely.  I wasn’t absorbed enough that I had trouble putting it down in order to eat and sleep and work, but I also looked forward to picking it back up again.  That’s the kind of balance I enjoy with cozies.

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Works with writing.

As far as the characters go, I loved them.  Delta was an interesting and likeable lead.  She rarely came across as pushy or bratty like some cozy leads can.  She left a lot of the snooping to the town gossips and only pried into things when she was relatively sure there was something useful to be discovered.  The love interest, Jonas, was a nice foil.  He helped Delta proceed with her investigation and made sure everything she did was above board.  Being an ex-cop gave him access to more information than usual, so I suppose that’s why Delta didn’t have to pry as much as some cozy leads.  Even the rich people came across as mostly human.  It was nice.

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Because people talk weird.

The writing was done well for the most part.  My only complaint would be that a lot of the dialogue was stilted.  “People don’t talk like that” was my mantra as I went through this book.  It was like the author wanted to give the reader a bunch of information and couldn’t find a better way of doing it than having people say it.  But people don’t say things like that, especially if they think their listener knows what they’re talking about.  Like, the stationery shop is across the street from the diner.  She works at the shop, so she knows where the diner is.  Don’t have the woman she’s talking to say to meet her at *insert name of diner*, the diner across the street from where you’ve been every day this week.  It’s not realistic.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed Last Pen Standing.  I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for future books and maybe even try something else by Vivian Conroy.

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Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  The dialogue is annoying enough that I took a star off, but if you like cozies and stationery and western type stuff, you should pick this book up.

5 Assumptions People Make About Me That Aren’t True

Hello, hello!  How is everyone this bright and beautiful (or dark and gloomy depending on where you are) Wednesday?  So, August and September are usually time for my yearly check ups with my specialists (pulmonologist and neurologist) and whatever doctors they randomly decide I need to see.  I dread these appointments for various reasons, but mostly because hospital staff are the worst when it comes to making assumptions about me.  And it got me thinking about the most common assumptions people in general make (even my friends to some extent, at least in the beginning).  Anyway, I thought I’d share the first five that popped into my mind.

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Pretty much.

1. That I have to be on some kind of prescription medication.  This is the one that gets doctors and nurses the most.  They ask if I take any meds and poise themselves to take notes, then when I say no, their faces always do this weird cross between awed and unbelieving.  Like, chill.  I take Aspirin if my pain levels go above my normal pain threshold for too long.  I take Benadryl and Zyrtec for seasonal allergies as needed.  But no, I don’t have any prescription drugs I take on a regular basis.  And they always act like that’s an impossible answer.  People can be cripple and still be relatively healthy.  It’s a thing.

2. That I’m mentally disabled (or whatever the current term is).  The majority of people I meet make this assumption.  Even doctors.  Hell, even some of my professors over the years obviously thought I was mentally disabled until the results of our first test or essay of the semester came in.  It’s weird and sometimes annoying.

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Pick one or the other.

3. That I’m a democrat.  This is mostly assumed by my friends.  I’m a disabled woman with a questionable sexuality, so I must be a democrat.  But I’m not.  Nor am I a republican.  I don’t believe all the issues can fit neatly in either box, so I take each issue separately and find my own opinion on it regardless of a political label.  Some of my thoughts lean left and some lean right.  Then, I keep my opinions to myself.

4. That I’m a devout believer in some kind of god.  And then people have the audacity to look upset when I tell them I’m not.  If I’m being honest, I’m agnostic leaning atheist.  I don’t deny the possibility of a higher being, but it’s really low on my list of “how everything came into being.”

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5. That it’s perfectly acceptable to touch me without asking first.  This is mostly limited to doctors, nurses, and strangers.  I mean, I get it’s your job to take my blood pressure or check my range of motion or whatever, but I break easily.  Communication is key.  And it has gotten to the point where I repeatedly tell doctors and nurses that Dad has to do everything just to avoid grabby hands.  Strangers mostly just like touching my arm or shoulder or stuff like that, which is fine, but still a little weird when they do it with that “poor thing” look in their eyes.  I never realized this was awkward until I met a guy at an anime convention who asked if he could love on me for a minute (just rubbing my arm and hugging me).  It was one of the strangest questions I’ve ever been asked, but the consent part made the whole experience much less awkward than someone randomly hugging me.

What about you?  What kind of assumptions do people make about you?  Feel free to share your lists or stories here or on my social media pages!

A Reverse Bucket List

Howdy, howdy!  We’ve all heard of bucket lists, those lists of must-dos before we die.  Some of you probably even have a list hidden away somewhere (or out in full view for everyone to see).  I don’t.  It’s not really my thing.  But did you know that reverse bucket lists exist?  Apparently, people also make lists of things they’ll never do before they die.  These lists seem to be mostly for people who have no idea what to blog about that day, week, month, whatever.  People like me!  So, even though I don’t like saying I’ll never do something (because who knows what the future will bring), I thought I’d share a list of ten things I can confidently say I’ll probably never do.

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1. Bungee jumping.  Why, you ask?  Aside from the fact that I physically can’t, I don’t think I would even if I could.  Something about falling toward the ground only to snap back up again and continue the up and down bit until gravity wins just isn’t appealing to me.

2. Going vegan.  I could probably do vegetarian for a day or two, but I like cheese too much to go full vegan.  And no, nut cheese is not cheese, it’s just someone’s attempt at making veganism fun with bad innuendo.

3. Skydiving.  Mostly because I can’t, but also because I have this thing about being suspended in the air without a firm foundation underneath me, so I wouldn’t even want to get on the plane.  If I could get past that, I might try this one.  But cripple privilege means I don’t even have to worry about being asked to try.

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4. Mountain/rock climbing.  I’d honestly try this if I could, but I don’t know of any wheelchair friendly mountains or cliffs.  So, yeah.  I’m fairly confident in saying I won’t be doing this.

5. Giving up coffee.  I don’t drink it often (once a week maybe), but I wouldn’t give it up.  Especially if it has booze in it.

6. Off-roading.  The roads have enough bumps around here.  Why would I intentionally go looking for worse ones?  No, thank you.  You can keep your whiplash for yourself.

7. Getting super hungover drunk… again.  Once was enough for me to learn my lesson.  I don’t remember much of that night.  It was just before my mother died and Dad and I got loaded with some of her family.  Dad’s a bad influence.  I’ll blame him.

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8. Finishing all of the books o my to-be-read list.  It’s just not possible, especially since I keep adding new ones.  Unless all the writers in the world stop writing, my list will keep growing.  There’s no way to stop it.  It’s a dilemma every reader must face and accept.  You will never catch up.

9. Seeing all the places I want to see.  I can’t fly and cruises are expensive, so I won’t be seeing a lot of places.  Add to that the fact that much of the world isn’t wheelchair friendly (stupid stairs), and there’s even more I won’t see.  But that’s what books and TV are for!

10. Giving up dessert. Just nope.

What about you?  Do you have a list of things you’ll never do?  Is it as ridiculous as some of mine?  Is it full of profound introspection?  Feel free to share it here or on my social media pages!

Dos Equis Pavilion: Worth It Or Not?

Hello, hello!  A couple of Fridays ago, Dad and I went out like normal people.  It’s rare for us to leave the house on Fridays and Saturdays, let alone venture into Dallas, but we did it.  We went to a concert at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Fair Park.  Heart was playing along with Joan Jett and Elle King.  I haven’t been to this venue in years (since Edgefest stopped being held there), so I was hoping it had improved some.  It hasn’t.  So, I thought I’d share our experience with you all.

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First and foremost, the concert itself was wonderful.  I didn’t know Elle King and didn’t really care one way or the other for her set, which is normal for me and opening bands.  Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were pretty good.  Not my favorite kind of music, but I knew more songs than I expected to know.  Heart was impressive.  I knew four of their songs and most of the covers they did.  It’s incredible to realize that Ann is 69 and Nancy is 65 and they’re still putting on such wonderful shows.  Not to mention they can still do a mean Led Zeppelin cover.

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View from the lawn borrowed from the Dos Equis Pavilion Facebook page.

Now, onto the venue itself.  It’s nice enough if you’re not a wheelchair user.  But we’ll get to that in a minute.  First, I want to point out that the website is mostly useless.  They take forever to post the gate times, then refuse to give you an actual time for when the parking lots open.  Sure, they give an estimate, but I don’t want to show up early only to discover the lots aren’t opened yet.  I even Facebook messaged them and couldn’t get a straight answer.  So, your best guess is as good as theirs if you have questions.

Then, there’s the fiasco that is the parking lots.  They make out like they have plenty of handicap parking (and they do), but they block the spots off with cones so you have to have someone move the cone, plus they actually tell people to park in the loading zones.  What good is a handicap parking space if I have no loading zone to unload in?  What the actual hell, people?  Use your brains.  And that’s not even the worst.  The parking lot attendants don’t know their asses from their elbows.  We went in Gate 11 (like the Facebook messenger person said to) and asked the attendants for help (again, like we were told to do).  Instead of getting out of their chairs and actually helping us, they pointed vaguely toward a row without handicap spaces that turned out to be a dead end, so turning around was a joke.  Thank god for the T-Mobile booth guy.  He’s the only one who actually helped us in the parking lot by finding us a space and telling us how to get there, then moving the cone for us.  Everyone but him were useless as teats on a bull.

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Wheelchair seating in red.

Inside, it was much easier to navigate and the staff was much more friendly and helpful.  My only real complaint is that there is a noticeable lack of wheelchair friendly seating.  We get one row each at the back of sections 100 and 102, plus a couple of small areas in the lawn seats.  Nothing with a straight on view of the stage, which is ridiculous.  We never get seating any closer than this (an issue at every large venue I’ve been to), but to be pushed off to the sides with no direct line of sight options?  It’s kind of insulting.  Just because I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I don’t want good seats.  Either stop charging ridiculous prices for less than optimal seats or start offering wheelchair users better seating options.  Easy peasy.

Like I said, Dos Equis Pavilion is a decent venue if you’re not confined to a wheelchair, but unless one of my favorite bands come through, I’m not planning a trip back any time soon.  Better training for the parking lot staff would go a long way towards making this a decent venue for everyone.  And better seating options for cripples in wheelchairs would make it a great venue.  As it is, I’d rather go back to the Toyota Music Factory than here.