Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Southern Fiction

Cooper Reynolds’s life is going to the dogs… literally. As if being a high school senior in a small Texas town wasn’t hard enough, Cooper has bigger things to worry about than who he’ll take to prom and whether or not the Poisonfoot Padres will win homecoming. He has less than a year before his eighteenth birthday, when a curse placed on his family will doom him to live in coyote form forever. The last thing he needs to complicate his already messed-up life is a girl, but fate has other plans in mind for him when it brings Eloise “Lou” Whittaker to Poisonfoot. She’s grouchy, sarcastic and has no love for her new Texas home, but she might be exactly the right person to help Cooper break the curse. The clock is ticking, and Cooper will have to decide if he’s willing to let Lou in on his dirty little secret before it’s too late. (From

Sissy:  Holy cliffhanger, batwoman! I hate cliffhangers, but I gotta say, I enjoyed getting to it.  I didn’t like Lou’s attitude at first (trying to hearken back to my teenage years to see if I was such a selfish stink-butt to my mom, and the answer is “probably”).  I really didn’t like that her father dying was not her number one pick for the worst things ever in her life but rather number two after moving because her dad died.  But, she does redeem herself in many ways.  The best way is that she ignores everyone who tells her to stay away from Cooper and instead befriends the poor, friendless guy.

Bubby: You were absolutely a selfish stink-butt. I was there. I remember everything! Besides, aren’t most teenagers selfish stink-butts for at least some of the time? My biggest problem with Autumn is that there is so much more to the story and I have to wait to get it. I am not good with waiting. I much prefer instant gratification – why do you think I buy most of my books on Kindle? There is a sense of tension throughout this whole story, even from the very beginning. You know that something is going to happen to Lou in this new town she’s going to. You know that something is hinky with Cooper and his mysteriously missing brother. And you know that there is something else going on but you just can’t put your finger on it. Until the end. The quite literally explosive end. Oh my.

Sissy:  And let’s just get it out there that you were a bratty poop-head.  But I’m over it.  I’m not over Autumn by Sierra Dean, however.  This book is essentially a teaser, a trap to get you hooked into reading the whole series.  You are introduced to the mystery, the curse, the watchers (we don’t really know much about them), the ghosts (yes!  Creepy stuff that I hope becomes less creepy!), and the coyote.  It is no spoiler so I’ll just say it–Cooper is doomed to turn into a coyote on his 18th birthday because of a long-lived curse.  Very original, Ms Dean.  No turning back and forth from human to animal like some werewolf or shapeshifter, but just a one way trip to coyote-hood.  The end.  Everyone in the book except Lou knows more than they’re letting on, and we have to wait.  for.  it.

Bubby: Can you imagine dealing with the reality that you ARE going to be a coyote? At least with werewolves there is a chance to live something like a normal human existence. But not here. We’re not even sure how much, if any, human remains in the coyote. It seems to be a clear-cut case that once you’re turned, it’s all over. But nothing is really clear-cut in Autumn. There are layers and twists aplenty and I am sure there is much more to come. Perhaps there is a redemption in store in the future? And we haven’t mentioned anything about Wyatt and his family yet. Not that I can say much without giving away spoilers, but Wyatt is a super popular kid who also seems to be genuinely nice. But Wyatt has a few surprises of his own up his sleeve. Aaargghh! I want to say more but Sissy would smack me for giving things away, so I will stay silent.

Sissy:  Just so you know, readers, even though Bubby says she is often threatened with smackage by me, the only smack she has ever received from me is the clever verbal type–  even if she was ever annoying enough to receive the physical kind.  That said, I don’t have much more to say about Autumn and since Winter isn’t expected to be released until November-ish I am going to pout for a minute.  Okay, I’m done.  Sierra Dean is quick-witted with her dialogue and metaphors, and her characters are well-rounded.  I especially liked Granny Elle, except for when she was being a stink-butt about Cooper, and who wouldn’t want to live in a town called Poisonfoot?

Bubby: Autumn is a really enjoyable page turner of a read. Oh, and it’s on sale at for only 99 cents right now. What a steal! I can’t wait until Winter comes out. I guess I will have to wait until then to find out what’s really going on in Poisonfoot, Texas. 4 bubbles.

Sissy:  I’m not going to read the next one until all the books are out.  That may be in 2016.  But I’ll give Autumn 4 impatient bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Autumn at

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

We received a copy of Autumn by Sierra Dean from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.


This  series features budding forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. She makes her debut in 1984’s Sick of Shadows, where she investigates a suspicious death at the wedding of her cousin Eileen. Throughout the series, Elizabeth continues to solve mysteries both foreign and domestic, as well as fall in love. We also get to meet Elizabeth’s lawyer brother, Bill and his radically feminist partner A.P. Hill. There are nine books in the series, ending with 2000’s PMS Outlaws.

Sissy: Sharyn McCrumb is one of my favorite authors. She has written other series that I also like but today we’ll focus on the very sharp-witted, interesting mystery series, led by the character of one Elizabeth MacPherson. When the author stopped writing this series to go onto other pursuits,  I wanted to get in the car and drive to the South and beg her in person to continue writing. It was like having my favorite TV series cancelled. I went into mourning.

Bubby: It’s interesting to read these books back-to-back, which I have done, but not in a while. At the beginning of the series, Elizabeth is shy, has a fairly useless degree and no job prospects. The whole tone of the first few books is very light and fluffy but by the end of the series, McCrumb has really come into her own. She has developed a really nice sharp, dry sense of humor, which makes the last two books, If I Had Killed Him When I Met Him and PMS Outlaws, my very favorites. I also in love with the character A.P. Hill, a little tiny petite woman who thinks she’s Napoleon and wants to be appreciated for her brains, not her boobs. She takes feminism to a whole new level.

Sissy: I know how it is to be shorter than your average sixth grader and not be taken seriously.

Bubby: I don’t. Sorry.

Sissy: How can you feel empowered when you go up to the counter in some retail establishment and it hits you about nose level? I get A.P. Hill. I think I shall start calling myself S. I. Sy.

Bubby: S.I. Sy? Sounds like a new type of synthetic fabric! Really, at your age you should have achieved some sort of closure about your lack of stature. I shall have to get you a shirt that I saw someone wearing the other day. It said, “I’m not short, I’m fun-size!”

Sissy: I have one. I also have a shirt that has a picture of a grinning Cheshire Cat that says “We are all mad here.”

Bubby: I fail to see how that is relevant, except as an expression of your ongoing mental state . . .

Sissy: Speaking of which, the characters in these books are just crazy enough to be highly entertaining.

Bubby: I personally find Elizabeth’s obsession with Scottish culture to be a good example of the above, as demonstrated in Highland Laddie Gone. And then she takes her United Kingdom mania one step further in The Windsor Knot where she *gasp* gets a chance to attend a tea party with Her Royal Majesty.

Sissy: In the last few books the author shows a great understanding of the angst of middle-aged womanhood, which Bubby is in denial about.

Bubby: Not so! No denial here! As I am but a wee 29, middle age is far far far in my distant future, not just a memory as with Sissy.

Sissy: You’re delusional. And it’s just that sort of language usage that makes it impossible for me to have closure. Your words imply that there is something WRONG with being short, WRONG with being of a certain age. These things are actually positive! Do I have to start a rant? Do I have to stand on my soapbox? Do I need to start a grass-roots movement?

Bubby: I believe that the rant is already in progress.

Sissy: As scintillating as my rants are, I would like to get back on topic.

Bubby: Hallelujah!

Sissy: I feel that I am giving our readers to this series we are giving them an early holiday gift. Nine good books. Happy Day! I give this series 4 1/2 bubbles.

Bubby: I agree. The series is well worth a read. My favorite line in all the books is when one of Bill’s clients informed him (while in jail for murdering her husband) “If I’d killed him when I met him, I’d be out by now”, hence the title of my favorite in the series. I give these books as a whole 4 bubbles. Happy Holidays!

Click HERE to buy Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb at

Click HERE to buy If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb at

Click HERE to buy If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb at

© Bubble Bath Books 2012

Harlow Jane Cassidy thinks she is happy as a fashion designer in New York City. But when her great-grandmother passes away, she leaves her turn-of-the-century farmhouse to Harlow. Harlow decides to move back to Bliss, Texas and open up a dressmaking boutique called “Buttons and Bows” in her grandmother’s house. Her first customer is her old friend Josie who orders a custom wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses for her upcoming wedding. Everyone is thrilled until Josie’s boss and maid-of-honor turns up dead in Harlow’s flowerbed. To complicate matters, Harlow’s family has always secretly had a touch of “magic” and people are starting to ask questions. Add to this an intriguing handyman and the fact that Great-Grandma’s spirit may not have actually left the building and you get one enchanting book.

Pleating for Mercy (Magical Dressmaking Mystery, Book 1)

Sissy: First of all, I wish my name was Harlow Jane Cassidy and that I had a magical gift.

Bubby: You DO have a magical gift! You sing like a choir of angels!

Sissy: I knew there was a reason I kept you around, Bubby. I also love Texan accents, beautiful clothing and goats. Maybe not so much on the goats. But this is a good new series, a good new heroine, and they don’t say curse words or have tempestuous sexual encounters.

Bubby: Note to self – in the future, blogging must occur BEFORE 7 p.m. or else Sissy’s brain has already gone to sleep. “I love goats?” Really? Let me explain: all the women in the Cassidy family have a magical gift. There is a family legend about how these gifts were acquired, but I’ll let the reader find that out. Harlow’s grandma’s gift is, well, for lack of a better term, goat whispering. Yep. Bet you wish you were a goat whisperer too, right Sissy?

Sissy: Actually I would be completely devastated if that were my gift. Goat meat. Have you ever tasted goat? It’s nasty. Same with goat cheese.

Bubby: I don’t know, a little chevre on a rye cracker with a touch of-

Sissy: I wasn’t finished. (Chevre? When Bubby says this word she pronounces it “Shev-ruh gut rumble”. She should just call it what it is – goat schmutz.) Anyway, all the women in this book are quirky, funny and strong, even if the woman if a ghost. I am a huge proponent of books with strong female characters.

Bubby: I think you may have mentioned that before, but I do agree. Strong women rule! This story had all my favorite elements. It had fashion, (not that I personally have any fashion sense but I like to pretend) diamonds, romance, magic and mystery. Fabulous. Just right for a Halloween read.

Sissy: Yes, perhaps I am repeating myself, but at this time of night I am half-blind and a quarter deaf.

Bubby: Oh, so many opportunities in that statement, Sissy. I will refrain from asking how that is any different than usual and just mention to our readers that it is all of 8:39 p.m. Wow. Bring out the curfew police!

Sissy: You have no respect for my advanced age and frailty. I appreciated how Ms. Bourbon wrote characters who connected so well with one another and how she gives us a glimpse of Harlow’s evolution from city girl back to country girl.

Bubby: I agree. I think my favorite character was Great-Grandma, even though she never says a word and is dead before the book starts. She communicates with Harlow through the house – a banging pipe here, a falling shelf there and is just as feisty in death as we are told she was when alive. I also enjoyed the storyline about the Cassidy’s lineage – I hope that more is revealed in future books.

Sissy: Yes. The author hints at family mysteries and treasure to be revealed at some future date. My favorite character was Grandma Coleta because she is old and crusty and I liked the goat named Thelma Louise.

Bubby: I can sense it! You DO want to be a goat whisperer! Just because your cat abandoned you for a pampered indoor life with the neighbors doesn’t mean you should turn to a life of goat herding. I was initially concerned that there was no romance in this story but it starts creeping in about half-way through and I really enjoyed the interplay between Harlow and “the man”. Don’t want to reveal too much, now. I think this is a great read. I rate Pleating for Mercy a solid 4 bubbles.

Sissy: This has nothing to do with Lucy the traitor cat. At least I don’t spend my days trying to make snooty foods like shev-ruh-(guhguh) – whatever. I will be reading the next books in this series for sure. (Book two is A Fitting End and #3 is Deadly Patterns.) The rating from me is 3.5 bubbles.

© Bubble Bath Books 2012