Top 5 Tuesday- Favorite Tropes

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm. Click here for the October topics.

Topics for October are a little different, a little harder to decide.

Today is my top 5 tropes. Tropes? A trope is a common or overused theme in literature. Every book and genre has them. If you look at your favorite books you may find a similar thread that links them. Also, my choices have my personal trope titles. In other words, I’m making it up as I go along.

Top 5 Tropes

  1. Female Sleuth. In a small town. Novice. I could add elderly to the list but most of the ones I read are closer to my age 😉 I also meet all three of that criteria. Maybe I should solve a crime. BUT that’s the point. Like most people, I like to read about characters similar to me that I can relate to. (shocking) I don’t know if Agatha Christie started this trope but she wrote 12 novels featuring the sharp, crime-solving lady.

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3)Shades of Earl Grey (A Tea Shop Mystery, #3)2. The ensemble cast. Some plots require a huge cast of characters. Some get more page time than others, but the reader has plenty to love. Granted, some fantasy books have a few too many characters but I like variety. Can you imagine Frodo’s journey without Merry, Pippen, and the gang?

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)

3. There can be only one. This trope gets a lot of heat. There’s only one person who can stop the villain from destroying the world.  But I like that. It adds a bit more tension. Call it the chosen one if you want, but I like it. Maybe someone other than Harry could have killed Voldermorte but I’m glad it was Harry.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

4. Someone’s got to die. I made this one up. I read a lot of mysteries. Usually, almost always, the story is kicked off by a murder/death. I’ve read a few where the body count was zilch. I didn’t like it. I want a dead body with the possibility of a higher body count as the story goes on. Bonus points if the main character has her life threatened in some way. Now, I don’t want blood and gore. Just a nice clean body, in the subway impaled by knitting needles.

And Then There Were None

5. If there’s a hobby there’s a series. This may not be as much of a trope as a trend. If you cruise the shelves of the mystery section of your local bookstore, you will notice a slew of books based on hobbies. And they all solve crimes. Cupcake baker by day, crime solver by night. There’s even a paranormal twist to some.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (Cat Who... Book 1)Crunch Time: A Novel of Suspense (Goldy Schulz Book 16)Assault and Beadery (A Cora Crafts Mystery)

 

What’s your favorite trope?

-CK

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Top 5 Books- Made Me Laugh

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm. Click here for the September topics.

Top 5 books that made me laugh

I love funny books. It doesn’t matter the genre. Humor makes everything better. This took some searching. None of these will be a surprise 🙂 I love laughter & hijinx. (Lucille Ball rules.)

  1. Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon, book 1 in the Miss Fortune Series

Louisiana Longshot

 

There are now 11 books in this series and all of them are funny. Crazy antics. Lots of guns, fast cars, and old ladies.

 

 

 

2. Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick, book 1 in the Esther Diamond series.

Disappearing Nightly

 

 

This series has very funny parts but it’s not a comedy like others on this list. There are moments where I burst out laughing.

 

 

3.  Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer, book 1 in the Davis Way Crime Caper Series.

Double Whammy

 

 

Comedy of errors!

 

 

4. Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer, book 1 in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series.

Lowcountry Boil

 

There’s this one scene in a car packed with Liz, a ghost, and her sister. If I remember, a hairbrush is involved.

 

 

 

5. Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews

Hissy Fit

 

If you’ve ever thrown a hizzy fit– you know.

 

 

What’s your favorite read that sent you in waves of laughter?

-CK

WWW Wednesday 8-29-18

Today is a WWW Wednesday. A weekly meme originally started by Miz B but now hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  

Feel free to join in the fun and let the world know what you are reading.

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Death at the Voyager HotelIn print, I am reading, Death at the Voyager Hotel by Kwei Jones-Quartey. I found this tiny book in the library as I was walking the stacks. Bonus points: it’s set in Ghana. I’ve never read a book set in Ghana before. I’m on page 88/156, so far so good.

 

 

Cry of the Sea (Juniper Sawfeather, #1)

I am also reading, Cry of the Sea by D.G. Driver. A YA fantasy novel. I was reading this last week as well. It’s really good. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had much time to read it.

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Dangerous to Know (Lady Emily, #5)Set in the lush countryside of Normandy, France, this new novel of suspense featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves is filled with intrigue, romance, mysterious deaths, and madness.

Returning from her honeymoon with Colin Hargreaves and a near brush with death in Constantinople, Lady Emily convalesces at her mother-in-law’s beautiful estate in Normandy. But the calm she so desperately seeks is shattered when, out riding a horse, she comes upon the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. The girl’s wounds are identical to those inflicted on the victims of Jack the Ripper, who has wreaked havoc across the channel in London. Emily feels a connection to the young woman and is determined to bring the killer to justice.

Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander, book 5.

I love this series. It’s one of the few historicals I enjoy.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Good question. I have several reading challenges I’m doing but only 1 ends in December. The others are long term. I need a time travel book. I think I will read either:

TimelineTimeline by Michael Crichton: In an Arizona desert, a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within twenty-four hours he is dead, his body swiftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world, archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an astounding technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but to enter it. And with history opened up to the present, the dead awakened to the living, these men and women will soon find themselves fighting for their very survival — six hundred years ago.

 

or

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde- Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that’s just a prelude . . .

 

Which should I read?

-CK

WWW Wednesday 8-15-18

Today is a WWW Wednesday. A weekly meme originally started by Miz B but now hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  

Feel free to join in the fun and let the world know what you are reading.

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Hundred-Foot JourneyThe Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. Another book was chosen based on a movie I’ve previously watched. This isn’t a large tome, only 242 pages, but I’ve been reading it for a week and haven’t finished it. I like it. It’s beautifully written…just slow.

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Louisiana Hotshot by Julie Smith, Talba Wallis book 1. I like it. There was more cursing in it than I expected. Not really a cozy more of a traditional mystery…maybe. Set in New Orleans.  <sigh> I love New Orleans. I don’t know if I liked enough to read the next book but I will give the author another try. The story was very well written.

Louisiana Hotshot (Talba Wallis, #1)WANTED: HOTSHOT P.I. WITH NEAR SUPER-HUMAN SKILLS.

Confirmed grump Eddie Valentino placed the ad. Hotshot twenty-something Talba Wallis knew exactly how to answer it.

And thus was born the dynamic duo of New Orleans private detectives, one cynical, sixty-five-year-old Luddite white dude with street smarts, and one young, bright-eyed, Twenty-First century African-American female poet, performance artist, mistress of disguise, and computer jock extraordinaire. Think Queen Latifah and Danny DeVito.

In Louisiana Hotshot, their job is to hunt down a sociopath and pedophile who’s molested the fourteen-year-old daughter of their client, hangs out on the ragged edges of the rap and recording industries, and has more powerful allies than a Cabinet member.


But both detectives have unfinished business from the past—in Eddie’s case, something he deeply regrets; in Talba’s, a personal mystery, one so frightening no one will help her investigate. But she knows she won’t sleep till she solves it—and the truth will change her forever.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve got several library books I need to read. I’ve already kept them longer than I’m supposed to.

Snakeskin Shamisen (Mas Arai, #3)Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara looks interesting. This is book 3 in the Mas Arai series. I haven’t read the first two in the series. I hope that’s ok.

What are you reading?

-CK

Writing Again…

Finally! I have a new WIP!

My local writer’s group is working on a new anthology with a Mardi Gras theme. How awesome is that?  I’ve written a very rough 3500 words. After a bit of research, I can now go back and flesh the story out. My goal is at least 5500 words. It’s very skinny at the moment.

My WIP is set in Mobile (the home of Mardi Gras) and involves an actual Mystic society. The setting is also historically linked to our Carnival season. Which means…I better get it right. The story is fictional. But I want to depict our traditions as true as possible.

There’s nothing worse than reading a book, set in your hometown and about an event you know well, and being pulled out because your brain yells it’s too fake. A reader unfamiliar with the city or events may not have an issue with the inconsistencies. But a native could be annoyed.

That is the problem I’m facing. The anthology will mainly be sold in town (and online) so I want it to feel authentic. Submissions open in October. I’m probably over thinking this a bit.

As usual– there’s a playlist…

Some of these may not seem like Mardi Gras tunes but trust me. It works.

  • Dancing Queen- ABBA
  • Born on the Bayou- CCR
  • Bourbon Street Parade- Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Celebration- Kool & the Gang
  • Chasing Pavement- Adele
  • Corrine, Corrina- Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
  • Jump, Jive, an’ Wail- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • Tailgate Ramble- The Dixieland Band
  • When the Saints Go Marching in – Louis Armstrong
  • Ol’ Slac by Grayson Capps
  • Lagniappe (parts1 & 2) – Trombone Shorty

There’s actually another couple of dozen song as well but this gives you a good idea.

Laissez les bon temps rouler.

-CK

Road Trip

I love a good road trip. Heck, I love a bad road trip.

Old school map.

I have fond memories from childhood of being stuffed in a car with my family, driving insane distances to view something amazing, and then stop at every odd road side attraction. So of course I wish to pass that on to my kids. But you first must prepare for a road trip. You can’t just hop in the car and go– that causes chaos.

Everyone knows to grab a map, cash, and clothes. But there are other things that are just as important for a long trek in the car. So he goes,

Road Trip Packing List

  • Popcorn– That’s right you heard me, popcorn. Not the store bought stuff on the chip aisle. Don’t get the microwave kind either unless you have a fancy SUV that comes with its own tiny microwave.  I’m talking about that really good popcorn at the local gourmet shop. Now, hold on. Here you can buy 2lbs of buttered popped corn for $10. 2Lbs of popcorn is the size of a toddler. That’s a lot of popcorn. It will last my family of four through an entire one week road trip. Granted when you get home you’ll be finding popcorn for weeks but it’s worth it.
  • Paper towels– You should know this. If you spend 6 hours or more in a car you will need paper towels. Especially if you have popcorn.
  • Red solo cups– They don’t have to be red. Solo cups make the perfect holder for popcorn. It allows you to eat it without getting your hands dirty. Genius! It also makes a great holder for small treasures you find along the way like shells, rocks, and gold doubloons.
  • Playlist/tunes– Every trips deserves its own playlist. I still take a few CDs’s along but most of the time I play mp3’s.  My favorite playlists for traveling are: Spring Break, Summer, and Road Trip. They have tunes specific for the season or long driving sessions. Yes, Radar Love is included. 🙂 Sometime I will make a list geared to the city. New Orleans would have a totally different list of music than Memphis.

    How am I old enough for a teen driver?

  • Reading material– I love to read so I take 2 or 3 paperbacks as well as my kindle. Hubby claims the kindle causes a glare 😦 I also tailor my reading to the trip. This last trip was to North Carolina so I had a handful of mysteries set in the Outer Banks.
  • Toys– That’s right. Take toys. I have teenagers but I still take playing cards, coloring books, and crosswords along for the ride. The girls each took books to read and have a phone but you never know…
  • Towels– It dosesn’t matter where you go. Take a towel. I have one kid who will “accidentally” fall in any bit of water they find. It pays to be prepared.
  • First-aid kit– Again, I have that one child who always needs a bandage or an x-ray.
  • Kites– This is specific to the trip we took. But if you are heading to the beach or an area with open spaces a kite is fun and relaxing. It ended up being too windy to fly our kites but we had them.

Make new friends.

 

Road trips are a great way to bond with the wee ones. It’s an adventure where all sorts of things can go wrong 🙂

What do you take on a road trip?

-CK

 

Haint Blue

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has been crazy, forcing me to put aside writing and focus on home and hearth. And read. I hope Spring will bring a little peace and time, and frame of mind, to write.

Haint Blue

Every Southerner knows what haint blue is and what it’s used for.

Haint Blue is a specific color traditionally used in the South to paint the ceiling of porches. I don’t have a porch. If I did I would paint it blue. A soft blue-green to be precise.

But why the name?

Haint means to haunt or ghost.

So haint blue means blue ghost…?

Why? If asked most will say the ceiling is painted blue becasue that’s just the way it is done. I’ve never seen any color other than blue.  A soft shade of blue brings to mind breezy summer days. It invites a body in to sit a spell and drink iced tea in a swing. I’m not entirely sure what a ghost has to do with it.

A bit of research…

Ah, here we go. Haint blue is protection from influence of restless spirits, much like our bottle trees.

Sherman Williams has a nice page on Haint blue if you are interested in reading a bit about it and browsing through the colors. Maybe after my kitchen is finished my honey will build me a porch.

The Land of Color also has a nice article full of lovely colors.

The Awl takes a more historical look at haint blue. I highly suggest this article.

There you go. Haint blue ceilings. What color is your porch?

-CK