Guest Hope Clark reviews her fave bookstore in the Lowcountry

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

The Edisto Bookstore – Edisto Island, SC

             If I owned a bookstore, this is what I’d want. A store just big enough to carry all the appropriate reading material anyone might need on a trip to the beach, and small enough to not overwhelm them with selection. And do I have to say it? It’s at the beach.

Edisto bookstore

Owner Karen Carter established The Edisto Bookstore (http://www.edistobookstore.com/) on Edisto Island, South Carolina about 25 years ago, and she understands the needs of both area residents and the transients that filter through. Not only does she have all the good Lowcountry fiction authors: Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank, Karen White, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Anne Rivers Siddons, and, okay, me, but she also carries nonfiction that addresses topics like Edisto’s history, Lowcountry ghosts, local wildlife, and anything sea island in nature.

In the back you’ll find the used book section for children and young adults to swap books. Off in another section, you’ll find nautical charts and topographic maps of Edisto and the surrounding coastal area as well as road maps and fishing charts. And don’t think Karen can’t talk the charts, either. After making the mistake of underestimating the small, salt-and-pepper hair bobbed lady, people realize she knows the area.

2014-06-13 15.38.42

The signature of Edisto Bookstore, however, is Emily Grace. A stray, silky gray and white cat, Emily Grace lives in the store, open or closed. She welcomes pleasant guests and conveniently dodges the rowdy, staying just out of reach of those who don’t understand the dignity of how to treat a lady. She’s a mainstay and a mascot everyone knows.

2014-06-13 16.56.56

 

What I love about this store most, however, is the atmosphere. The white walls and beach mural painted behind the tiny two-computer Internet Café ooze coastal, and you’ll find enough non-book items to tempt you dearly. From hand-fired ceramics to stationery, from seashell puzzles to crab decorated aprons, you’ll fall in love with everything Lowcountry. Just like you wish you could stay at the beach forever, the Edisto Bookstore makes the book lover crave to not only visit, but also to work in this store, absorbing the literary beach feel.

2014-06-13 15.44.21

I’ve signed three times at Edisto Bookstore and presented at a book club meeting, each event amazingly successful for such a compact place. This store understands how to handle a signing, from the advertising to supplying the books, with Emily Grace adorning the signing table for as long as you let her. And Karen knows how to attract the authors, too. Mary Alice Monroe is a regular.

2014-06-13 15.27.05

On one hand, I wish the store were a little larger, but then I’m not so sure. The quaint tightness of the place might be a pro instead of a con, since visitors learn to talk to each other as they pass almost elbow to elbow, asking where each other where they’re from and if they own or rent their house. Plus, Karen Carter has marvelous taste in presentation and unique book-stands to capitalize on every square foot. It’s tiny but I’ve yet to find a Lowcountry or Edisto book it does not carry. To me, that tells me Ms. Carter knows what she’s doing. And it’s one of the first places I stop whenever I feel the ocean calling me back to Edisto Beach.

Highly recommended, and highly respected by myself, by island readers, and by the other indie bookstores throughout South Carolina.

 

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest mystery release is Murder on Edisto, a book you’re sure to find at The Edisto Bookstore as well as anywhere books are sold. Hope is also known for her award-winning Carolina Slade Mysteries and her resource website FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

BLURB from Murder on Edisto:

When her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan suffers a mental break and relinquishes her badge to return home to South Carolina. She has no idea how to proceed with her life, but her son deserves to move on with his, so she relocates them to the family vacation home.

But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her, and the home that was to be her sanctuary is repeatedly violated. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who’s turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody’s safe. But what will it cost her?

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Why being pregnant with amnesia is so romantic


The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress (Silhouette Desire) ♥♥♥

Synopsis

Chrysander Anetakis is a Greek hotel magnate who found out his former mistress is pregnant and she has amnesia. While he does not forgive her for betraying his trust and selling company secrets, he wants his child. So since she does not remember anything, he does not tell her that they broke up months ago. Instead he tells her that she is his fiancée. Now he has to pretend they were happy before the “accident” that caused her amnesia.

Marley is pregnant and scared. There is a stranger named Chrysander Anetakis telling her that they are engaged. While she cannot remember anything besides her name, she has a feeling in her gut that there is something not quite right about their relationship.

Opinion

This is not the first time that I have read of the hero using amnesia as a reset for the relationship. I do not understand why though because they act as if the amnesia is not going to eventually be cleared. Once that happens, the woman/love interest discounts everything up until that point as a lie.

As a side thought: Chrysander was grimy for sleeping with Marley when he was supposed to be disgusted with her.

For that in itself, he should have come clean.

It bothered me that Chrysander had niggling doubts about Marley’s guilt, but he did nothing to try to investigate what else could prove her guilt or innocence. He thought that “Marley’s eyes looked innocent,” but he refused to acknowledge the potential truth in that. Then when he actually thought about it, it took 2 seconds for him to identify the culprit. The villain confessed in even less time.

It was as if Chrysander was saying, “Even though you were savvy enough to devise a plot that implicated my girlfriend, let me trick you into confessing to orchestrating the company sabotage that cost me and brothers billions of dollars.”

The villain was like, “Ooops My bad”.

I did like that Marley tried to be as perceptive as possible to figure out her situation. She was suspicious and she had every right to be. Kudos to her for calling out Chrysander on his bi-polar behavior. He was trying to act loving but be standoffish at the same time.

Chrysander’s response “Don’t mistake my hesitation for disinterest” made no sense though.

No wonder she was confused.

While she did not have anywhere to go, I like that she did not ignore what her subconscious was trying to tell her.

The more he talked, the less desirous she was for marriage.”

When she her memory came back and she remember the truth, her breakdown was so painful. I knew it was coming but it hurt me to read about it and I have never been pregnant.

Random question that has been bugging me the entire book: How did she understand his Greek endearing expressions with her amnesia if it was the first he used them?

 

In the end, I think that she forgave too quickly considering all that she had been through. Truth be known, I am probably too vindictive. While Maya Banks’ pregnant heroine has to suffer a lot of trauma, the reader infers that the hero is suitably chastened to put the love of his life on a pedestal and never let anything else happen to her ever again.

Overall, The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress was okay. All is well that ends well, I suppose. This is not a life-changing, in-depth novel that will solve the problems of the world. It is a time filler. If you need something to read with characters that are not over-the-top annoying, this fits that bill.

 

Who does it better?


Big girls do it series 1 – 4♥ ♥

1 …do it better

2 …wetter

3 …Wilder

4 …on top

In this series of books, Anna is a stylish, curvy size 18 but lacks self-esteem. She cannot understand why not one but two sexy guys would be attracted to her when there are smaller sized women available. Anna bounces between physical relationships with both men.

Opinion

There are two guys in this series: Chase is a singular and rock star who is interested in Anna. Jeff is Anna’s DJ partner and also love interest.

If the author had stopped at the end of book one and gave it a decent ending or epilogue, I would have rated the book higher. There were several things that were negatives for me.

  1. Love triangle
  2. She sleeps with two men in alternating books. Put very simply: I do not like that. This book seems to be about lust and physical gratification instead of the physical intimacy being an expression of love. If she loved the first guy, why jump in the bed so quickly with another guy? If she fell in love with the second guy, why bone the first guy again? Maybe she should have taken a timeout to decide who she wanted to be with.
  3. I felt sorry for her instead of connecting with the romance. It is obvious to the reader that she is bouncing from man to man because of her lack of self-esteem. I am a strong believer in monogamy. THAT being said, if she wanted to bed hop, let it be because she was decisive enough to know that she wanted multiple partners, not because she was constantly doubting if a man could be attracted to a woman with substantial curves.

I initially bought this book set because the main character was a plus size woman. I am not a size 2 skinny person (or even a size 6) and I thought it would be nice to read a story about a woman who look somewhat like me. That is why I was disappointed with her self-esteem issues. All too common in stories with plus size women, the main source of conflict in the book is the woman’s lack of self-esteem. Why can’t there be more stories with confident women wear their weight is not an issue?

Overall, I think this book set is like a car accident. As annoyed as I was with the items that I mentioned above, I continued reading. I think I thought it would get better. It was as if I cannot look away. Hence, the car accident analogy.

If you want a series that is all about trashy lust (I refuse to call this romance), this is for you. In all other cases, take my word for it and pass on this one.

Obsessive billionaire is not as bad as it sounds


The Billionaire’s Obsession: The Complete Collection: Mine For Tonight, Mine For Now, Mine Forever, Mine Completely ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Synopsis

Kara is a single woman going to school for nursing. As the story begins, she is being evicted because her ex roommate failed to pay the rent. She has nowhere to go and she is extremely sick. Simon, her boss’s son, convinces her to go to his house where she can get well. There is some attraction between the two of them, but Kara is wary of the whole situation. She has learned in her life that you cannot depend on others.

Simon is a billionaire computer programmer that has made his wealth selling video games. He has had a crush on Kara for quite a while. When he sees her in distress, he is quick to help her. She is his obsession; nonetheless he does his best not to let her know how deep his feelings are.

Opinion

When I read the first book, I did not realize it was the first installment a set. I rated the first book 2 stars on Goodreads and thought no more about it. I was annoyed that the book file was not a complete story and I thought Simon was a creeper. A stalker that was preying on a girl with unfortunate circumstances.

When I bought the collection Beyond Desire, I did not connect the two stories until I was halfway through. As I was reading, I thought to myself that it sounded very familiar and that’s when I looked in my library and realized I had bought the story on its own. Since I now had the rest of the books, I decided that I might as well read the whole story to see if the entire collection improved the story line. I am so glad that I read the entire story. My feelings have changed for Simon.

I still agree that he was obsessive, but at least he was self-aware enough to try to control his inner feelings. Although he had an intensity warring within him, he tried to keep it reigned in so that she did not feel as though he was trying to control her.

He cared more about Kara that he wanted to… And it scared the ever-loving crap out of him.”

Kara did not have a stress-free life before Simon, so it was easy for her to have trust issues. Despite it all, she recognized the sweetie beneath the gruff exterior. While they try to navigate their relationship, external forces motivate them to appreciate what opportunity that they have been given. Kara did not have a blind love for Simon. She put her foot down to make him deal with his inner demons.

I loved it when she said “I want you. And it has nothing to do with your money.”

That was so sweet!

To me, Kara and Simon’s story was a contemporary version of the classic Beauty and the Beast story. I enjoy stories where the layers of the strong, masculine, alpha-male are peeled back to reveal a big, teddy bear softy.

The whole story was decently paced with balanced with drama, tenderness, and comedy.

In the end, it can be summed up by this “she loved her primitive, protective, possessive male who had a heart of gold”.

My only criticism of this story is that the love scenes are very explicit and there is a lot of profanity. It can be a little kinky, but not for the reasons you would expect. Still not for those under 18 audiences though.

 

 

I love a story with heart


The Heart of Devin MacKade (The MacKade Brothers) ♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

In the small town Antietam, Devin has loved Cassie for 12 years. When they were younger, he hesitated to make a move, not knowing that she would marry the first man who showed her interest in an effort to escape a miserable home life.

Fast forward to the present day: Cassie is now divorced with two children. Her family carries the emotional scars from the domestic abuse that was a daily occurrence. Her ex-husband is in prison and Cassie is trying to heal.

Still hopelessly in love, Devin is now sheriff and has a list of reasons/excuses to see Cassie every day. Cassie is ignorant to the depth of his feelings.

A friendly gesture ignites the passion between them but can their love last?

 

Opinion

Devin has everything going for him: looks and charm. In my mind, I think he is probably a hotter version of Andy Griffith. It was sweet that he had loved Cassie for so long. When he sees his chance to make a move, he tries but thinks that he might have unintentionally friendzoned himself. I understand that he does not want to make the same mistake he made years ago, but she is not the same person she was years ago either.

“Was he going to have to settle-always- for protecting, for watching over, for being the dependable friend, the favorite honorary uncle?”

Cassie likes Devin’s company but thinks that is all it could be in their relationship. There is the added embarrassment (in her mind) that he is the sheriff and knows more than anyone else about the mistreatment inflicted by her ex-husband. She has only known abuse when it comes to physical relations. When she experienced tenderness from Devin, she does not know what to think. He makes her feel things that she did not know were possible.

“Why did you kiss me like that?”

 

I loved this story because the characters were so lovable. I could empathize with Devin’s frustration and impatience when things did not go according to his plan. He knew he had to maintain that delicate balance to help her move forward with her life while she healed from the past hurt. Additionally, Devin had to be concerned about the emotional well-being of Cassie’s two children. They were dealing with the consequences of their father abusing their mother. As for Cassie, I admire her strength. She was emotionally abused by her mother and physically abused by her ex-husband, yet her spirit was not completely broken.

In the end, The Heart of Devin MacKade is not a love story between a man and woman. It is a love story between a man, a woman, and her two children.

Great story! Loved it. This is a classic romance to be expected from Nora Roberts.

FYI: While The Heart of Devin MacKade is available for $7.99 on Amazon, I saw The MacKade Brothers Bundle: The Return of Rafe MacKade\The Pride of Jared MacKade\The Heart of Devin MacKade\The Fall of Shane MacKade available for $9.99. What a steal!!!

Papi’s World Famous Travellin’ Tacos

Papi’s World Famous Travellin’ Tacos

Looking for something different in the downtown Greenville, I found Papi’s. This restaurant is located below Lazy Goat and I think it has the same owners. Like Taco Boy in Charleston, this is expensive Mexican food.

Tacos are $3.

I am a traditionalist. I knew I had to pass on ordering tacos when I saw that the taco al pastor had pineapple in it. I do not know what part of Mexico that is from, but that is not what I had in Mexico City or Cancun. And that is not how the local taqueria makes theirs either.

I decided on a torta al pastor. Sandwich with the chopped cubes of marinated seasoned pork, tomato. lettuce, avocado, queso fresco, jalepeno, minus beans and onions. I cannot eat Mexican street food without drinking a Jarrito (the only soda I drink since I usually ask for water).

What I like about Papi’s -the atmosphere – it is a cute place with a lot ambiance and character. The walls paintings are bold and colorful. There is Spanish music (salsa, bachata, merengue) playing that makes you want to get up and dance.

The food was okay. I did think they were stingy with the jalapenos. If you never ate real Mexican food at the house of somebody’s abuela (translated grandmother) or at an authentic restaurant (the local Mexican restaurant that serves tortilla chips before your meal does not count) where someone’s abuela is the cook (she will not think she is a chef), you might think Papi’s is awesome. If you do not want to venture into the barrio (translated ‘hood) for $1.75 tacos, Papi’s is your place for tacos and tortas.

In any other case, you will probably think like me. I thought the flavors were muted. Toned down for a different palate. Do not misunderstand me. I think that Papi’s is a nice place to eat. However, for me, there are more traditional, bolder flavors at other Mexican restaurants.

You may go for the Mexican food, but (to borrow terminology from my hubby)….

One Lovely Blog Award

Extra post alert!!

BIG Thanks to , I have been awarded the Lovely Blog Award.

https://cicisrant.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/one-love-blog-award-two1.jpg?w=179&h=213

I guess she gets my weird.

Since I choose to accept this nomination, I have to follow the instructions (that’s how they get ya) and I will try to do my best to keep this going…

Rules of the one lovely blog award…

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Rule 1 & 2 & 5 already done.

7 Facts about myself

  1. My favorite romance author is Amanda Quick. Her heroes are always so dreamy, even when they are trying to be dour. I like the strong silent type. I think that is what attracted me to my hubby. I digress…
  2. I like camping. My hubby introduced me to the outdoor life and I love it (as long as I have electrical hookup, running water, my kindle, ipad, and decent phone reception :))
  3. I am in love with food (but you probably could tell that already).
  4. I read my poetry at open mic events in my hometown.
  5. I made it a personal goal this year to read the entire Bible in less than a year. I am 75% through so I think I will make my goal.
  6. I like to play tennis. Sometimes when I serve, I pretend to be Serena Williams.
  7. Sometimes I read the dictionary for fun. I admit I am a logophile (word lover)
  8. An extra fact: Today 9/5/2014 is my 3 year blog-aversary!!!!

Nominating bloggers for this award

This is me right now 

soooooo I am only nominating 9 blogs.