Books Kicking Ass ~ Going Old School ~ Lord Of The Rings

I know what you’re thinking, why is she talking about a book published in the 1950’s? The answer: Because it’s the greatest book ever written!!

Of course, that’s just my opinion and that of maybe a million or so other people.

This is my The Lord Of The Rings story. I remember back in the 70’s my brother read the books. At the time they were published individually as a trilogy. He was obsessed with them and everything Tolkien had created. I was eleven or twelve. I wanted to read them. I really did, but I just couldn’t get my nail polish, lip gloss and Shawn Cassidy brain around it.

The Lord Of The RingsFast forward thirty years. saw a copy of the full three books in one volume on display in the bookstore and picked it up. That night I sat down on the couch with the eleven-hundred page book in my lap. My husband said, “How are you going to read a book that long?” “Just one page at a time,” I said. About ten days later, I was sad to close the book. Why hadn’t I grasped the greatness when I was a child? Who knows. What I do know is J.R.R. Tolkien was a genius and The Lord Of The Rings is a KickAss book. The movies are really great, but they left out so much fabulous detail. Of course, they would each have had to be eight hours long each to cover it all. Even if you’ve seen the movies, you should read this book. Put it on your list of things to do before you kick the bucket.

Tolkien takes the smallest and most unassuming creature in all of Middle Earth and turns him into the hero. A hobbit according to page 2: Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). they were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave freely and eagerly accepted.

These are not fierce warriors out to find adventure and save the world. Yet, that is exactly what little Frodo does in spite of the fact that his kind and happy heart would have much rather stayed at home with a pipe and a good book. For this an a thousand other reasons The Lord Of The Rings is my pick for Books Kicking Ass.

FUN GUY FRIDAY brought to you by Men who try on Spanx

Ok, we all know that most of us have tried on- at one time or another- shape wear. Spanx, target brand, or whatever. Something to help smooth and hide. At a recent even I even went so far as to LAYER my Spanx. Because if one does such a good job, two makes me have the body of freaking Heidi Klum, right?

But getting into shape wear…well that’s a different story. Check out these men trying on Spanx.



You’re welcome:-)


Release Day: Nobody’s Fool #2 Willow Park Romance


In Sarah Hegger’s latest Willow Park Romance, long-held crushes and past frenemies reunite–and wonder if there’s ever a second chance to make a good first impression. . .

Holly Partridge had no plans to return to Willow Park, Illinois, until her troubled younger sister Portia fled her home and aimed herself straight at Holly’s high school nemesis–too-gorgeous-to-be-true Josh Hunter. Riding a manic bipolar high, Portia’s only a danger to herself, but Holly needs to find her before she crashes. That means asking Josh for help.

The ultimate love ’em and leave ’em lothario, Josh was never good for anything but a broken heart. But now he’s lending a hand when Holly needs it most–and revealing surprising generosity and compassion. Has Josh shed his bad boy ways? Or is Holly suddenly grown up enough to acknowledge her own mistakes? Trusting Josh could be a disaster–or the first step in banishing the past to make way for a future happier than Holly ever imagined. . .










Tips From The Chicks – Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips

Hiya everyone! Looks like it’s my turn to share some of the tips I use to make life easier/better/cleaner/faster when it comes to cleaning. I’d never really noticed before but I use a lot of eco-friendly hacks to clean my kitchen (an my bathrooms, cabinets, pretty much everything, but for this post we’ll stick to the kitchen). When I lived in London one of my favorite shows to watch was How Clean Is Your House. The hostesses, Kim and Aggie, visited extremely filthy homes and used natural cleansers and home-remedies to change the dangerous living spaces into sparkling clean abode. I used many of their tricks while cleaning my rented house because many of the US cleaning products I’d loved weren’t available. And we had really hard water. So I guess it was natural for me to continue the natural cleaning options when we moved back home.

Here are some of my favorite cleaning items. Washable microfibre cloths and Magic Erasers, and Vinegar and Mineral Oil.

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I use mineral oil in my sink after cleaning with warm sudsy water to restore it to the shiny new look it had when it was first installed.


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A little soak in vinegar and my Magic Eraser take care of the hard-water schmutz left behind on the water dispenser.

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And my microfibre cloths shine my stainless steel appliances without the filmy residue from stainless steel polish

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But oh! My Magic Eraser is my very favorite tool in my cleaning arsenal. I buy these in bulk and leave one in the shower to remove soap scum on the tile and the glass enclosure. I’m not sure they are biodegradable, and Mr Clean recommends against using them on your skin, but they make my life easier.


It was great putting this post together because after three weeks of being out of town, my kitchen really needed spiffing up. I hope you enjoy the tips and they lead you to more time to read or do whatever you really like to do.

Gemma Sig-1a

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

When I read Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor I was in high school and worked at Waldenbooks. My co-worker, who had watched me devour many romance books in our store, handed me this book (it was a hardback) and told me to read it right away.

When I finished the last page I was bawling my eyes out. It was the first book I’d read that wasn’t a contemporary or a historical. It was both. And the concept of time travel- not really heard of at that time. Mind. Blown.

I read it every year. Hand’s down, it’s my all time favorite book. That’s whyI’m sharing it with you and why -for me- it’s a book that Kicks Ass:-)

P.S. I totally got all fangirly when I saw Ms. Deveraux at RWA! I asked who she’d rather marry, a Montgomery or a Taggert? How about you? For me it’s a tie between Michael Taggert and Jace Montgomery.



From what I understand the newest addition has new material- AMAZON


download-11Once upon a time…as a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress….

Abandoned by her lover, thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery finds herself alone and brokenhearted in an old English church. She never dreamed that a love more powerful than time awaited her there…until Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, appeared. Drawn to him by a bond so sudden and compelling that it defied reason, Dougless knew that Nicholas was nothing less than a miracle: a man who would not seek to change her, who found her perfect just as she was. But she could not know how strong were the chains that tied them to the past—or the grand adventure that lay before them.

I’d love to chat with you about it. If you haven’t read it- let me know what you think should you take the plunge. Thanks for coming by~




Men – What Not to Say

Happy #Friday, everyone! Kyra here to bring a little laughter to your day.

This week I’m sharing a video that popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday and had me laughing out loud. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

And men? If you ever get the urge to say any of the following, just walk away before, well, you’ll see…


Honorary Chick – Xio Axelrod

Honorary Chick – Xio Axelrod

Meet the other half of my brain. Honorary Chick today is Xio Axelrod and I swear we were separated at birth. Let me give you the official bio before we get to know her a bit better.


Philadelphia native and global citizen, Xio Axelrod, is an author of love stories, contemporary romance and (what she likes to call) strange, twisted tales. She also writes erotica and women’s fiction.

Xio grew up in the music industry and began recording at a young age. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages (under a different, super-secret name of course). She lives in Philadelphia with one full-time husband and one part-time cat.

Xio is a big proponent of what she calls “diversity in romance”, and I’m going to ask her to explain what that means to her.

As you know, I’m fairly new to the romance genre – both as a reader and as a writer. As I started to consume all of the wonderful stories out there, one thing that really stood out to me is that they’re pretty…well…homogenous. Do a quick search for “romance novel” on Google and you’ll see exactly what I mean. As a person that lives, breathes and celebrates diversity, I found it shocking. Okay, I realize that not everyone lives in such a culturally diverse place as my hometown of Philadelphia, but it still surprises me how under-represented huge swaths of the population are in mainstream romance. And worst, novels written by people of colour are often shelved differently in bookstores. You have to wander, often to the back of the store, to find these “special” sections. As if a story with an Asian or African-American protagonist wouldn’t appeal to all readers. (Don’t even get me started on books by LGBT authors.)

It’s sad, really. Love is universal and, as an industry, we have a wonderful opportunity to open the hearts and minds of our readers. I’ve always maintained that art is the perfect tool to teach tolerance. What a beautiful, complex, diverse world we live in. Why don’t we celebrate it? I certainly do, and I am not alone in that, thank goodness.

Now for some fun! Rapid Fire Questions:

Favorite Things: Summer rain, travel, and languages. And custard.

Pet Peeves: Intolerance, auto-tune, and the sound of other people chewing. (Drives me crazy, lol.)

Addictions: Genre television (Outlander!!), angsty love stories, and music (obviously).

Kick Ass Superpower: I can write a sentence that will make you laugh, make you cry, or make you… blush. (What did you think I was going to say? Naughty.)

Your best book boyfriend:

  • For the night: Harry Dresden (The Dresden Files)
  • For a dirty weekend: Cole “Deuce” West (The Undeniable Series)
  • To have and to hold: Duh! Jamie Fraser (Outlander)


Early in the fall, Xio will release her long-awaited novel, Falling Stars, a story about finding the right person at the wrong time. It is book one in a series that she promises will be exciting, sexy, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. Click on the image to find out more.