Last year (the year before?) Angela James did a complete re-read of the In Death series by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts). Since then I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing, but it is such a daunting task! If you include the short stories, we’re up to 47 books as of Taken in Death in the Mirror, Mirror anthology. Yikes!

Another option was a complete re-read of Suz Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. That’s a little less of a commitment at ONLY 16 books. LOL I listened to the most of the series a few years ago when I was fixing Chez Guppy the First (aka the Condo from Hell) for sale, but I’ve kind of been craving a good Alpha hero (SEALs always welcome) series of books, and I can count on Suz for exactly that.

What to do? What to do? Yeah, Alpha SEALs, but, really, does ANY hero get more Alpha than Roarke? So I did what everyone does these days. I took the question to Twitter! LOL.

The response was overwhelmingly for the In Deaths. Well, really, they were for Roarke, because…ROARKE. Hello? LOl. But this tweet was what made my decision for me:

It appears Carrie Ann Ryan and I will be tandem re-reading for the next however long. LOL. 47 In Deaths plus 16 Troubleshooters….carry the 2….You should see us in April sometime. LOL.

Wish us luck. And in the meantime, you can follow along on Twitter using #InDeathReRead. I’ll also be reviewing the books, but know there will be LOTS of spoilers. Hey, you haven’t read them by now (and why the hell not?!) then your loss, and you won’t care. LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
A Guppy Buried in Death and Roarke 
aka The Fish With Sticks

Yesterday I went to lunch with my friend Mallory where we talked books and authors and electronics. I love seeing her because none of my IRL friends read romance, so it’s nice to sit and talk romance books face to face. Plus she’s just a great lunch date.

I also drafted a review for Kristen Ashley’s upcoming book Jagged for Wicked Lil Pixie which will go up in a few weeks, started staining my loom green, and…then…ran out of steam. LOL So I wanted to blog today. I really did. I sat down in front of the computer and stared at my blog editor and just couldn’t come up with anything to talk about. I can hear my friends snickering now. *Glares at them all*

What’s new with you?

Lynda the Guppy
aka At a Loss for Words Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on April 8, 2013

I’m a HUGE fan of this series. I devoured the previous 6 books and Warrior’s Cross in less than a week and have been waiting for the latest installment, Touch & Geaux. I stayed up all night reading it, SHRIEKED at the ending, and I have no idea when book 8 is releasing. *sob*

Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are two FBI agents who are partners both professionally and romantically. While they’re “out” to their families, and to Ty’s former Force Recon team, they haven’t outed themselves professionally yet. This book starts with a typical day at the office for Ty and Zane. They’re getting called into the boss’s office. This time they’ve being “selected” to be part of a calendar put together by a first responder organization for charity. And like any good FBI agents who have often been deep undercover, they are thrilled! Seriously, there’s some serious pouting going on.

McCoy smiled, though he looked as if he was trying not to. “Am I to assume the two of you will agree to representing the Bureau in this?”
“I think ‘agree’ is too strong a term,” Zane said. “This is a bad idea. Remember when we were on TV?”
“Yes, Grady got fan mail for a month.”
“I did?”
“We burned it, as you should all evil things,” McCoy answered.

And off they go to the calendar shoot. From there things start moving at a breakneck pace. A party, a panicked phone call from a friend, a worried flight to New Orleans, a kidnapping, a murder, and that’s just the first three chapters!

Of all the books in this series, this one was the most heartbreaking. Ty and Zane have some issues that come up which causes MAJOR problems, both between the two of them, AND within the trouble in the book. However, if I try to review any of it, it’ll give too much away. I, personally, LOATHE spoilers, so I hate spoiling anything for anyone else. Just know that I spent a lot of this book sobbing. And the very end? The last two lines? Shrieked AND sobbed. I think I broke something. I KNOW I scared the cat.

All that said, the issue that comes up between the two seemed a little…forced. While my heart totally broke for these guys, in the back of my head I was thinking it was a little TOO left field. I don’t know that we’ve really seen the seeds of this sown throughout the rest of the books. I think if Ms. Roux had written one more book where she dropped a few more hints, it wouldn’t have seemed so sudden. Of course, the shock and suddenness are what makes this whole argument so heartbreaking, so you decide.

Also, Ty and Zane have dealt with Nick O’Flaherty before. He was Ty’s best friend and his “second” in Ty’s Force Recon team. Nick, we’ve learned from past books, was in love with Ty. In fact, last time we saw him was when Ty told his team about Ty and Zane. Nick took it so well he kissed Ty and begged Ty to leave Zane. Yet, in this book, there’s none of that tension between the three of them. Sure, we assume they’ve dealt with it, and there have been calls between Nick and Ty, and even Nick and Zane, but Zane is way too possessive of Ty to have let that go so soon, especially with all the tension in this book. And with the problems between Ty and Zane, even though Nick doesn’t do anything to drive a wedge between them, there should have been more insecurity on Zane’s part.

All in all, I loved this book. I think it’s one of the best of the series. Ms. Roux began these books co-writing with Madeleine Urban, and I think there was a period of adjustment where Ms. Roux needed to learn who Ms. Urban’s characters really were before Ms. Roux hit her stride. I think she’s found it. Ty and Zane are far less interchangeable for me than they were in previous books. Well done.

Rating: 4 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka Team Meow Mix
aka The Fish With Sticks

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on January 16, 2013

There is a sub genre, I guess you’d call it, called M/M. Which is a romance where both characters are men. My only previous exposure to this type of story is Suzanne Brockmann’s book “All Through the Night.” Of all her Troubleshooters books, this was my favorite because my love for Jules knows no bounds. Other than that, though, I’ve never really read M/M. I didn’t know much about it or the authors, so I never really tried it. One of my fellow bloggers (Lori) kept going on and on about this one series of books she was reading. The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. All right. I’ll give them a try. I picked up the first book on January 5. 7 days and 7 books* later, I’m wondering when the next book comes out! (April 8, 2013, according to Goodreads). I’ll have you know I was up until sunrise nearly every day this week reading these books.

The first four books were co-written by Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban, and, honestly, they write together well enough that there is a seamless transition between the books written jointly and those solely written by Ms. Roux.

Ty and Zane are FBI agents assigned to work together to catch a serial killer in New York. When we first meet them Ty is irreverent, headstrong, and a rule breaker, while Zane is buttoned-up, Mr. By-the-Book, and will absolutely not do anything to get himself in trouble. Things change, though, as we learn more about these two. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Ty is still irreverent, headstrong, and a total rule breaker, but he’s also brave both with his body and his heart. He’s kind and loving and romantic. Zane is the one who surprised me. As we learn more about Zane we find he HATES being a buttoned-up Mr. By-the-Book, but he feels he has to be, as he’s on shaky ground with his career.

Watching these two fall for each other and fight it all the way was fascinating. Because both main characters are male, there’s a whole different dynamic at play with the two of them. They’re rougher and more physical than a Hero would ever be with a Heroine. But at the same time, there’s more fear there due to the inherent problems of being gay in today’s society. Do they come out to their friends? their coworkers? their families? What happens if they’re rejected by those around them? What if they each can’t deal with their relationship and one rejects the other?

My biggest complaint, and it was resolved eventually, is that there is more emotional game playing with these two than I would like. A lot of unwillingness to trust.  In a more traditional romance, “I love you’s” would have happened in book 1, and while I might have preferred it a LITTLE earlier than where it occurred in this series, I think Ms. Urban and Ms. Roux really were true to the characters by making them work things out. Slowly. In fact, one says “I love you” far earlier (as in an earlier book) than the other. No, I won’t tell you who. That’s half the fun!

Once they start working through their emotions and really commit to each other, however, their trust is absolute and they are strong and supportive of each other at every step. They’ve made a pact to be more honest with each other and really TALK about things, especially things from their pasts. I enjoyed that the conflicts they face rarely come from within the relationship, but are external forces (murderers, thieves, cats, puns).

I’m so happy I listened to Lori and Pam and read these books. They were absolutely right and the books were totally worth the lack of sleep. I’ll be on the lookout for more, both in the series and from the authors.

*There are actually only 6 books in the series right now, but on Pam’s recommendation I read Warrior’s Cross between books 4 & 5 as some of those characters play a large role in book 5. More on that book another day.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Bring on the Men Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

RATING: 4.5 Stars

I don’t normally do politics posts, but it seems the new blog is encouraging a new me. If you’re just here for the yarn, keep moving. It’ll be back at some point. LOL In fact, I have presents for a new baby which need to be shipped off this week. Once that’s gifted, I’ll share the photos.

As you may have heard by now, the US Government has shut down. The short version (and forgive any errors. I’m watching the news on MUTE): The US House of Representatives passes a Continuing Resolution to continue the budget for the government to keep working. The Senate is vetoing it. Because we have no budget, we don’t have anyone paying the bills, so the government is shut down.

Why? Because the House of Representatives is attaching a rider which says if the Senate approves the Continuing Resolution, then they are also “defunding” the Affordable Care Act, delaying the Individual Mandates for a year, and variety of other things.

I’m about to say something which may get me into trouble with some of you. If so, I’m sorry. We’re still BFFs even if we don’t agree.

I fully support the Senate vetoing the CR and allowing the House to shut down the government.

Why do I support it? Well, here’s my pithy little answer from earlier on Twitter: The US does not negotiate with terrorists.

Here’s the longer answer: Do I think any political official (Dem or Repub) is a terrorist? No, of course not. That’s a ridiculous comparison. HOWEVER, the philosophy is still the same. If you draw a line in the sand, you have to be willing to hold that line, even if it means serious consequences. In this matter the (mostly Republican) House basically threw a little tantrum. “Defund ‘Obamacare’ (I hate that term) or we’re packing our marbles and going home!” The Senate said no, and let the House take their toys home.

What would have happened if the Senate said NO and then ended up caving and allowing the House to get away with it? What would happen the next time? or the time after that? You have to stand your ground and risk everything in order to win.

According to the few polls I’ve heard, most people believe the Shutdown to be the Republicans’ fault, and even those who oppose “Obamacare” do not believe the government should be shut down over it. Especially since it hasn’t worked the last FORTY-TWO TIMES the House has tried this. Yup. You heard me. 42 times. Especially when you consider it is already a law and has been approved (certified?) by The Supreme Court of the United States.

So…why do I hate the term “Obamacare” so much, and why am I for the Affordable Care Act and shutting down the government?

The first question is easy. I dislike “Obamacare” Because it devalues and belittles what it actually is. It is the Affordable Care Act which makes it possible for the currently uninsured to obtain health care coverage. It means women no longer get charged more than men. It means people with pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain affordable coverage and not get dropped for not disclosing the conditions. It means preventative care such as vaccines are provided at little to no cost. It means easier and more affordable access to prenatal care.

I fully support the Affordable Care Act. 

I am currently uninsured. I have been since I left my job several years ago to take care of my mother. At the time I was offered “COBRA” coverage. Cobra would have covered me for a limited time, and it would have cost me $600 a month. Me. A single woman with no dependents would have had to pay $600 a month while unemployed. That’s insane. Of course I couldn’t afford it. Who can?!

With the Affordable Care Act, I am able to purchase health insurance at the mid-level range for approximately $200 a month. Which compared to COBRA saves me approximately $4,800 a YEAR. That’s just on the premium. That wouldn’t include any copays I’d need to pay or medications I need, such as my asthma inhaler or an Epi-pen I need to carry so I don’t die if accidentally eat a nut. Consider, too, that COBRA coverage was probably for the bare minimum of coverage. I doubt it was for the mid-level package.

I am absolutely panicked at the thought (irrational, I know) the coverage for individuals via the Affordable Care Act might not begin on January 1 as scheduled. It will. Of course it will. Its the law. But still I panic.

You see, I have asthma. It’s not severe by any means, and my inahlers usually expire before I use them up, but I have an interesting side effect. When I get sick, even with a minor cold, I get pneumonia. And I get it BAD. Yes, I’ve had the pneumonia vaccine. And yes, I get a flu shot every year, but any congestion at all hits my lungs and hits them hard.

The first time I knew what was happening was a few years ago. I got sick on a Thursday night, started coughing on Sunday, on Monday I made an appointment to go into the doctor, and on Tuesday morning he took an X-ray and very nearly admitted me to the hospital. It was that bad. He loaded me up with a ton of drugs. I had 5 different medications I had to take at different intervals throughout the next week, and every day I had to return to his office for a daily X-ray. And every day he made the determination of whether or not to admit me to the hospital. I was out of work for nearly 2 weeks, but it was scary. It took about a month after that to get back to full lung capacity and be able to walk from the living room to my bedroom without stopping to take a break.

The second time I lost my voice for a day. One. Single. Day. That’s it. No congestion. No fever. No cough. No runny nose. Nothing. I lost my voice. Next day I started coughing. The day after that I was in to my doctor, and BAM! Pneumonia. Once again, daily X-rays, lots of meds, bed rest. Because we caught it earlier, it wasn’t quite as bad, but it was still a lot of medical treatments I probably couldn’t have afforded on my own.

Thankfully during both those times I had insurance through my employer, but I live in fear of the day it happens and I’m NOT insured. it helps a little that my doctor is wonderful and has always said I could see him and we’d work out a discounted payment. It is why I’m so loyal to him. Not only has he treated my illnesses, I feel he really cares about me as a person. He listens to my symptoms and what I’m saying and cares more that I get a flu shot every year and not risk my life to pneumonia than he does making sure he’s paid for every drop of that shot.

I also have a bad knee. It’s REALLY bad. On a good day every step I take is painful. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t walk or stand for even an instant without pain of some kind. Eventually I’m going to need surgery. Without insurance there’s no way I could afford it. I should have a brace, and maybe painkillers stronger than Aleve, but again, without insurance, I can’t afford it.

Can I pay for my prescriptions myself? Sure. Maybe. But let me give you an example. My Epi-Pen? The thing I need to carry with me everywhere so I don’t DIE of an anaphylactic reaction? Nearly $300 without insurance. For one “dose.” That’s for the “cheap” version. There’s another more expensive version, but my doc didn’t want to write for that since there’s no difference in the actual meds.

So do I support the Affordable Care Act? Absolutely. Am I sorry there are hundreds of thousands of people going to be affected by this shutdown? You bet.

It breaks my heart, because it’s not just the actual federal employees. It’s the small businesses near National Parks who run on tourist dollars who are going to go broke. It’s the couple who have spent tons of money to have a “destination wedding” in Yosemite who now can’t have their wedding where they were supposed to and are out the money they’ve spent. It’s the company who monitors the safety of drinking water who lost approximately 1/3 of their staff last time and will probably lose at least that many this time, too. Because those employees had rent and mortgages and car payments and student loan payments and couldn’t afford to “sit around” until the government decides to stop arguing and start governing with respect to the people who elected them.

That same government, by the way, who HAVE affordable healthcare paid for by the taxpayers, and will continue earning (and receiving) their salary while all this is going on.

I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I wish the House hadn’t tried blackmailing the Senate. I wish the Senate didn’t feel it needed to take this stand.

I wish everyone could have affordable healthcare and a living wage and politicians who listened to those who elected them.

If you take away nothing else away from my long-winded rambling, remember this: Mid-term elections are in 1 year. Look up your Senators and your Representatives and see how they voted on this and any other issue which is important to you. Don’t like how they voted? VOTE FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Do your research. Look at everyone’s voting records and see which candidate is right for you.

11/12/2013 UPDATE: Because of sp@mmers, I’m closing the comments on this post. Thanks for understanding.

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Soon-To-Be-Insured Guppy
aka The Get Out and Vote Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Site designed by Laideebug Digital
Laideebug Digital