Category Archives: fiction

How to tell that a person should not own a gun:

I thought of you when I read this quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“Is that a real gun?” asked one of the boys.
“It sure is. It’s a police-issue nine-millimeter Smith and Wesson,” he answered, drawing the revolver from its holster. Lucy eyed the gun distrustfully. “Don’t worry, Lucy. I made sure the safety’s on.”

 Culpepper held the gun out in the flat of his hand for the boys to admire, then twirled it around his finger a few times before replacing it at his side.”

This is police officer Culpepper shortly after bitching that State Police won’t involve the local clips imn the investigation.

I’m not going to lie. One of the quickest ways to make me dislike an author is when they create incompetent cops. I read to escape real life and in a perfect world, the cops are damn good at their jobs and aren’t arrogant morons who think a badges and a gun makes them powerful.

Culpepper was okay until he decided to become John Wayne and show off. 

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Trump Supporter

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“This evil person” —and here the minister paused before hissing—“this sinner, must have come from outside our town. 

“Every night the evening news tells us of the violence that pervades the cities of our country, of international syndicates dealing in drugs and death, and of political terrorism. 

“This is the lesson of Sam Miller’s death. We must fight the evil that is overtaking so much of the world, and we must keep our town as a good place to let our love for each other shine as a beacon of light in an ever-darkening world. Amen.”

This was the end of the Eulogy given by the pastor.

The brother looked disgusted. The wife was wearing a veil so we couldn’t see her face.

Lucy pretty much shrugged and said “could be” after bringing up the idea that the brother is the killer and having it be shot down because he’s a good guy. And making fun of the wife’s preference for less than sensible shoes and clothes. 

By the way, I’d totally wear a veil! I wouldn’t want people looking at me.

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Character Introductions

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

I’m not very far into this new-to-me cozy mystery series. Most of the main characters are still being introduced, and since the murder has already taken place, of course, other characters are speculating on the obvious suspects: the wife and the brother.

I personally judge characters based on how they talk about other people, especially people they don’t like. It’s how I judge people in real life, too. It said a lot to me that my husband has always been factual, but never catty, about his ex-wives. 

So far, Lucy and her friends come across as bitchy gossips. 

I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt about the wife when they described her as a pretentious snob for rejecting an invitation to the Friends of the Library because I’m an introvert and these women are obviously extroverts who don’t believe introverts are a thing. Not being social is a sin in their book. I figured that with a bit of time and real exposure to the wife, they’d revise their opinion of her. This was merely the author giving her characters room to grow as people. That’s okay!

Then we get introduced to the brother and how he doesn’t live up to his brother’s “golden boy” status. He’s not a show off, he’s a “mama’s boy”, he goes to theater productions, he collects stamps, he’s not Ken Doll handsome, and, gasp! He might be gay because he doesn’t have a public girlfriend.

Which leads me back to the quote I shared above: 

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

Now, again, this could be the author’s way of giving her characters room to grow. It could be a red herring meant to subtlety call out any homophobic readers who hvw decided that the brother is guilty because he checks all the boxes on the “what a murderer looks like” list according to small town, USA.

McCarthyism at it’s finest.

But this doesn’t sit right with me.

I’m all in favor of subtle snubs at the homophobic and racist status quo. But, while most people who call out their hometown for being homophobic or racist will say soomething as blatant as “Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove”, they will usually emphasize it by making it it’s own paragraph, the literary equivalent of standing in the center of main street to voice it. Then they will immediately make some kind of statement that definitively shows that they are against homophobia. Period.

Instead, this sentence sits at then end of a paragraph that lists all of the brother’s “faults”. Being gay is just another one. He’s the jealous brother because he’s ugly and not a real man because he likes theater, stamps, and potentially other men as sexual partners. He’s the murderer because he’s different. 

Then she changes the subject.

Like I said, Lucy is a bitch. She fits every stereotype of small town, small mind that I can think of. I’ll give this book it’s fair share and finish it, but a lot of crow will need to be eaten for me to read the next one.

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Ready for marriage?

Before We Kiss (Fool’s Gold Book 16)” by Susan Mallery –

“Sam glanced at the door and thought about bolting. This wasn’t his area of expertise. Yet even as he inched toward freedom, he realized that he knew exactly what she was doing wrong. His mother would be so proud. He took a seat across from Fayrene.

“This has to stop,” he told her. “Put on your big-girl panties and tell Ryan what you want.”

She rolled her eyes. “I can’t.”

“You won’t. There’s a difference. If you’re not prepared to ask for what you want from a man who loves you very much, then you’re not ready for marriage. It’s a full-time commitment. It requires everything you have, and being honest about how you feel is the cornerstone to success. If you can’t be honest about this, what else won’t you be able to talk about?””

This is some excellent advice :-).

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Lives Worth Saving

 “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling –

“I’d like to appeal to all our listeners to emulate their example, perhaps by casting a protective charm over any Muggle dwellings in your street. Many lives could be saved if such simple measures are taken.” 

“And what would you say, Royal, to those who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards first’?” asked Lee. 

“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first,’ and then to ‘Death Eaters,’” replied Kingsley. “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.””

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Amish guy speaking:

 “Murder, Plainly Read: An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery” by Isabella Alan –

““Everyone in my old district disliked the old bishop in some way or another. He was a hard man. To him, life was meant to be about work and suffering. There was no joy in his heart. He believed the more you worked and the more miserable you were, the closer you were to Gott. It was something I could never believe. If Gott loves us so much, how could he want us to suffer?”

 I blew on a spoonful of stew. “Even still, it must have been hard to leave.” 

He was quiet for a moment. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” He smiled at his wife. “But I have never regretted my decision. I know this is the path that Gott wanted for me.””

Yes, this is fiction, but the idea is true for most conservative religions: one person trying to pick the path of another by proclaiming that “it’s what God wants”. A prominent example that routinely pisses me off is the idea that women belong in the home while men are the sole income earner. The abuse that tends to come out of this “ideal” is appalling.

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Characters

 “Born of Legend (The League: Nemesis Rising)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon –

“Maybe they know me better than I do, really. Are we not all a thousand characters in millions of plays throughout our lifetime? Is Ushara the mother the same character as Ushara the daughter? Or Ushara the admiral the same as Ushara the older sister? Or the younger sister? Did your husband not know a different side of you than anyone else in your life? What about the male who knows Ushara the testicle-launcher? I’m sure he would paint a very different image of you than I would. Who among us is not ever-changing? Ever evolving into someone new? Maybe someone better … or someone worse.”

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Refugees are the same no matter the source.

“The War of the Worlds (Signet Classics)” by H.G. Wells, Karl Kroeber, Isaac Asimov –

“It was about two o’clock when my brother, having paid their fares at the gangway, found himself safely aboard the steamboat with his charges. There was food aboard, albeit at exorbitant prices, and the three of them contrived to eat a meal on one of the seats forward.

There were already a couple of score of passengers aboard, some of whom had expended their last money in securing a passage, but the captain lay off the Blackwater until five in the afternoon, picking up passengers until the seated decks were even dangerously crowded. He would probably have remained longer had it not been for the sound of guns that began about that hour in the south.”

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Slavery’s affect on a simple look admiring beauty.

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

“Ulysses came down the stairs above me, impeccable in his livery. I moved, and he turned his head, catching the flicker of my skirts. His eyes widened in a look of frank appreciation as he saw me, and I looked down, smiling a bit, as one does when being admired. Then I heard him gasp and jerked my head up to see his eyes still wide, but now with fear; his hand so tight on the banister that the knuckles shone.

“Your pardon, madame,” he said, sounding strangled, and rushed down the stairs and past me, head down, leaving the door to the cookhouse breezeway swinging in his wake.

“What on earth …?” I said aloud, and then I remembered where—and when—we were. Alone for so long, in a house with a blind mistress and no master, he had grown careless. He had momentarily forgotten that most basic and essential protection—the only true protection a slave had: the blank, bland face that hid all thoughts. No wonder he had been terrorized when he realized what he had done.

If it had been any woman other than myself to have intercepted that unguarded look … my hands grew cold and sweaty, and I swallowed, the remembered scent of blood and turpentine sharp in my throat.”

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