Milkman Keeps All the Girls from the Yard


1 Pretzel.

It could be my lactose intolerance, but I was just not feeling this one.

A synopsis, in brief:

Milkman is set in Northern Ireland in the ’70s, that’s never specifically said, but I used context clues like car bombings, political unrest, and the early stages of feminism to figure it out. Our unnamed lead likes to read while walking, she has a maybe boyfriend, she is being stalked by the Milkman, but not the real milkman because we meet him later and he’s alright, and she likes running with third brother-in-law. Other things happen that should be interesting, like poisonings and parents running off to be professional dancers, but I just didn’t care about any of it.

Okay, so NO ONE in this book has a name, which bugs me to no end. Perhaps I would like “wee sister” or maybe “middle wee sister” if they were called something. I’m a character driven reader. I need names.

When I was still naive enough to think I’d like this book, I came across a line that stuck with me. Our lead was out walking alone, reading a book. She was approached by Milkman, who she had no interest in talking to. She said – not out loud because there is also no dialogue in this book – “He wasn’t rude, so I couldn’t be rude.” I felt that. Sometimes, when you’re out doing your thing, whether it be reading and taking notes while walking, or something normal like watering your flower beds, you just want to be left alone, especially if someone is just radiating a creep vibe like Milkman does. But society expects us, especially women, to be polite.

Something else I didn’t hate was the lead’s thoughts on running. She liked running, but when Milkman continued showing up at the park, she skipped her runs. She found a new location. She ran with third brother-in-law, which is just a stupid thing to call someone. Give these people names. Anyway, I used to run. I had a running partner even though I actually prefer running alone. I ran in neighborhoods where I knew people. That way, if I was being followed, I had a safe place I could run to for help. I ran with pepper spray. I ran without headphones. All the things men don’t have to worry about much when they want to go for a run.

I’m sure there are some lovely points made in this book, I just don’t care about them because of the writing style.

No names, no dialogue, and minimal paragraph breaks or punctuation. I made the mistake of reading the New York Times review of this book to see if it was just me who hated it (it isn’t) and the reviewer pointed out that Anna Burns has a pattern of describing things in threes. Once it was pointed out to me, I couldn’t stop seeing it. I found her style tedious, plodding, and wearisome. <See what I mean?

I got through it and I’m looking forward to reading something I don’t despise. Like My Name is Trouble or literally anything.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeee!

Smoky Lynx

BLL: Episode 202

61705510_370179190281166_50129453824606208_o^My face when Bonnie’s mom did that chicken bone hand laying ceremony or whatever the hell that was.

4 Pretzels

I am loving this season so far. The biggest take away from this episode is Ed is the only person in the Madeline household who can keep their mouth shut. Damn. Chloe dropping the brother bomb, Abigail just casually tossing out Madeline’s affair. First of all, you live in a cavernous house with, I assume, wonderful acoustics. Stop screaming your secrets into the air where anyone can hear them. That said, I’m glad Ed knows the truth. Speaking of Ed, I sort of wish he would fight Nathan. Bonnie’s mom might be an inappropriate, creepy as hell witch, but she’s right about Nathan. He’s a dolt. The smartest thing he’s done thus far was pretend to be asleep when Bonnie’s mom sneaked into their bedroom in the dead of night to perform a ritual over her body. Good call, Nathan. Now, stop trying to fight Ben Wyatt…I mean Ed. It’s weird.

This seems like a great segue into Bonnie. What the hell is going on? I have a theory. I think Bonnie has maybe, just possibly, been in this situation before. Maybe not this exact situation, but something very similar. I’ve thought this since last season when, during a wave crash montage, we get a glimpse of a petite hand covered in jewelry cocking back a gun. I think we’re about to learn some heavy stuff about Bonnie. And I am HERE FOR IT.

Speaking of heavy stuff, poor Celeste. She’s really going through it. I will say, not everyone can pull off a jammies and raccoon eyes look, but she’s really selling it. I’m excited to see where her relationship with Mary Louise goes now that she’s told ML all the tea. I suspect ML will use this knowledge, and that little altercation with Max, against Celeste and try to take the boys, possibly all three of them, away from their mothers. Because she’s just that awful. What wasn’t awful was the precious Jane, Celeste, and all the boys scene. If I were the Celeste in that scenario, I don’t know how I would handle that situation; I can only hope I’d handle if half as well as Celeste is.

Speaking of handling things, Gordon has done effed up. If he thinks for a moment Renata is going to stand by her man, he’s got another think coming. I’ve never been rich. I’ll likely never be rich. But if I were, I have a feeling I, too, would be screaming “I will not be not rich” at every opportunity. Renata is so rich she’s forgotten about the word poor. It literally does not exist in her vocabulary. Look, the ONLY thing I have in common with Renata is her appreciation of a good fanny pack, but I actually felt for her in this episode. She’s worked very hard and Gordon screwed it up. And had the audacity to be nonchalant about it.

So, we end the episode with all our ladies at potentially life-altering crossroads. I can’t wait to see what happens to them next week.

Are you living for Big Little Lies? Might I suggest another book by Liane Moriarty. The Husband’s Secret is really good and you can get it here.

Are you picking up what we’re putting down? You can also check out our books here.

Okay, I’ll be back with a book review tomorrow, y’all. Until then, byeeeeeeeee!

Smoky Lynx

BLL Pregame: The Monterey Mint


4 Pretzels

So, Big Little Lies is a dope show. If you aren’t watching it, you’re either a fool or you don’t have HBO and that’s totally understandable. I like to do a little pregaming before the big show and, if Sundays aren’t for day drinking, no one told me, so here we are. This week, I’m saluting all the ladies and some of the gents with a little cocktail I like to call the Monterey Mint.

Here’s what you need:


Soda water

Mint simple syrup


Okay, so, simple syrup is, well, simple. You take equal parts sugar and water, put it in a pot, and heat it until all the sugar dissolves. Keep an eye on it because, if it goes too long, it will become caramel. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that. To infuse with mint, you dice up fresh mint as finely as possible to release all that minty goodness and add it to the pot before you start heating it up. Swirl it around a bunch. Seven clockwise rotations, followed by three counter – I’m just kidding; this is not Harry Potter, y’all, swirl as haphazardly as you’d like. When it’s ready, strain it and pour it into a fancy bottle or, in my case, an old Grolsch bottle. Let it cool because, otherwise, it will melt your ice and water down your drink.

I’m more of an eyeballer when it comes to making drinks. If you want actual measurements, you can find a recipe from a qualified person here. Geoffrey Zakarian is a trained chef and also dapper as hell. You can trust him. Or you can put your trust in me. I may not be an expert, but I’m pretty good at maintaining a low level buzz. So, here’s what I do. Add some ice cubes to my glass, pour in what I estimate to be about two ounces of gin, fill the glass with club soda – I use generic brands because I have champagne taste, but a lemonade budget and, with enough gin, they taste the same anyway – and finish off with a splash of the mint syrup and a squeeze of lime. Now, if you want a sweeter, mintier drink, adjust your measurements. I’m not a huge fan of sugar, so I go light on the syrup. It’s your drink, do what you want with it. So minty. So refreshing.

Now you’re ready to sit back and watch Meryl Streep be unnecessarily mean to Reese Witherspoon!

I’ll be back tomorrow with an episode two recap. Are you already behind? Get it together and read last week’s recap here.

Okay, byyyyeeeee!

Smoky Lynx

Folklore Friday: Witchin’ Camaro


Hey Bookworms! Charlaine here! Is there anything better than going for a drive on a summer night? The way that the moonlight washes over the road. The feeling that you and whatever soul is lucky enough to be rolling with you are the only people in the world. Nowhere specific to be. No certain amount of time to get there. Windows down to let the smell of freshly mown grass, honeysuckle, and warm asphalt fill the car. Radio cranked loud as you sing/scream along while you roar down the highway. It makes a body feel alive. Infinite. There’s a kind of magic in it.

Of course, there’s actual magic, and destruction via lizard, out on the highway as well. If your summer travels take you to Mexico, you might just have the chance to experience it first hand. Have y’all ever heard the legend of the red car?

People also call it “El carro de las brujas” which sounds significantly less cool. It translates to “the carriage of the witches”. The story goes that there’s a red car-the sleekest, most pimptastic red car that you’ve ever seen-that cruises the highway from Mexico City to Cuernavaca every night. The owners of that car are three brujas and they are up to no good. They look for men wandering around alone late at night and, if they come across one, they use their considerable wiles to lure him into the car. Then they take him shopping.  A full on movie makeover montage follows. They take off his glasses and his paint stained overalls and show him that as long as he doesn’t mind everything being blurry all the time he can be just as hot as the hottest guy in town.

The brujas drop him off at his doorstep just as the sun rises. He’s a new man and he owes it all to them! Just kidding. They harvest his organs and what not for their spooky dark witchcraft and the police find his body along the highway the next day. That’s the story but, personally, I’m not buying it.

It sounds like a tale told by a bunch of dudes that are threatened by ladies with a whole lotta power and a much doper ride than them. I mean, maybe they do on occasion come across a real jerk and decide to harvest his eyeballs for their potions cabinet, but they aren’t doing blood magic every night. That would be exhausting.

The thing is, people always want to throw shade at the brujas even though they make potions that can heal you if you can’t afford to go to a doctor. Even if those upstanding citizens are lining up at the brujas back door to buy love potions or to have a hex put on somebody trying to steal their boo. It’s enough to make a brujah want to scream.

I think that’s why they go for those long drives every night. Just to blow off some steam. Besides, they’ve got those sick wheels. They have to show them off. The brujas know how reputations work in a small town but hypocrisy is a bad look. Even the HBICs (Highway Brujas In Charge) need a break. They make themselves a bomb playlist and blast that sucker. They always make sure to include a song like “Running with the Devil” or “Black Magic Woman” on there because our gals have a sense of humor. They maybe stop to collect herbs or do a spell under the full moon when their powers are the strongest. Then, if they’re feeling particularly extra, they’ll rev up the engine and do some wicked donuts on the mayor’s lawn. Destroy that priss from uptown’s prize begonias. Spray paint some graphic graffiti on that cheating douchebag Fernando’s new SUV. If you’re gonna have a bad rep you might as well earn it, right? In the middle of all that calamitous insanity, they probably stop and help ladies having car trouble. Get them back on the road and give them a blessing to get home safe. And yeah, if the happen upon a real sleazebag who maybe gets handsy or mouthy they’ll give him a sleeping draught then drop that sucker off sans his sweetmeats. Pobody’s nerfect, amiright?  Blessed be Bookworms!

Did you miss last week’s Folklore post? No worries, friends. You can read it here.

My Name is Trouble


5 PRETZELS! < No idea what the hell this means? Here’s How it Works.

You guys, I love mysteries. I love them so much that I ended up co writing a mystery series with one of my best buds. That love of mysteries got me hooked on Pretty Little Liars which then led me to my love of the Bros Watch PLL Too podcast.

You can’t imagine how stoked I was when the Bros wrote their very own mystery novel with a teen protagonist. I talked about it nonstop for a month before it came out. Now that I’ve read it, I want to talk about it even more. It’s tricky to write about mysteries because you don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just give you the basics.

Jenny Valentine has never met her dad, famous mystery author RJ Valentine, because of…reasons. When a town car randomly shows up one day to take her to Valentine Manor, Jenny thinks it’s finally her chance to connect with her father but it turns out she’s there for the reading of his will. RJ was murdered in a real-life locked room mystery and Jenny and the six other people at the reading are presented with a very intriguing opportunity.

As it turns out, RJ knew someone had it out for him and has invited the seven attendees to solve the mystery of his murder. They have 100 days to provide the executor of his will with proof of the identity of his killer. If anyone solves it, they get all of RJ’s $272 million dollar fortune. If nobody solves it, all of the money goes to charity.

Jenny is determined to win. If she can’t have a relationship with her father, she will dang sure claim her birthright. She has to solve this mystery quickly, though, because someone tries to kill her minutes after she leaves Valentine Manor. Luckily she’s been training as a girl detective her whole life. Those other chumps don’t stand a chance. She has a bottle of adderall, a closet full of disguises, and her name is Trouble. No really, that’s her middle name. Her parents thought it would guarantee that she grew up to be awesome. Spoiler alert- it worked.

The story is a delightful mashup of The Westing Game, Veronica Mars, and my beloved Pretty Little Liars. It’s filled with complex characters, suspense, and danger. It’s also full of hilarious one liners and a heckuva good ghost story. Whodunnit? Was it Jenny’s evil stepmother? Her brilliant, yet troubled, step sister? Maybe the town sheriff who RJ mocked mercilessly in his books?

I can’t recommend this book enough. The story sucked me in from page one and did not let off the gas once. I devoured it in two days and even though I scoured the story for clues I was totally blindsided by the ending. Seriously, I was so pumped after I finished that I had to go run around the yard with my dog.

Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. The ebook is available on all imaginable ebook platforms and the paperback is available on Amazon. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of book two and until I can hold it in my hot little hands. My name is Impatience.

Later Bookworms,

Charlaine LeRoux

Big Little Lies: Episode 201


Book: 5 Pretzels

Show: 4.5 Pretzels only because I will always rate books higher than television.

Because reading is what? FUNDAMENTAL

Haven’t a clue what a Pretzel rating is? Find out here.

So, I read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty a few years ago. Drama and murder mysteries are two of my favorite things. I was instantly obsessed; I mean, I stayed late at work to finish it. And that’s a big deal because I barely go to work. Her writing style grabbed me from the very beginning and I’ve been a fan ever since, devouring all of her books. You can get the book, and you should, here.

Now, the show. When I heard HBO was doing an adaptation, I was stoked, even more so when I saw the cast. BLL was so well done that I was still like, “Oh, girl” when the end came. I’m not going to do a full recap because y’all are grown, but Perry was a legit dirt bag who beat his wife, Celeste, and raped her friend Jane (before they were friends, but still), Bonnie kills him at a school fundraiser, and all the women: Madeline, Celeste, Jane, Bonnie, and Renata, lie about what happened.

So, season 2 premieres with the same cast, minus one, but with the addition of the devil herself, Meryl Streep. She’s portraying Perry’s mother, there to help Celeste with the children and throw all the shade. At one point she clocks Madeline (played by Reese Witherspoon) for being short and then underhandedly calls her vapid. It is nothing but thinly veiled insults coming out of her mouth and I am here for it.

The theme of episode one is grief, guilt, and dammit you are going to college young lady. Celeste is in an interesting situation. She did lose her husband, but she also knew what he was. Her boys, however, do not. Neither does Mary Louise (Meryl Streep). So, she has to walk this line of ignoring her feelings of relief and display more “appropriate” feelings like sadness and anger. I do find it interesting that Mary Louise is ANGRY. Like, full on screaming at the dinner table angry that her son is gone and all these mediocre, middle-management jackholes are still around. She appears almost timid, but then destroys people with passive-aggressive insults and lashes out in burst of anger…much like Perry. Hmmm. Can we get an origin story, puhlease? I’m not saying it isn’t okay to be angry, it totally is; it’s her ability to switch back and forth on a dime that I find unsettling.

The women, with the exception of Bonnie, seem to have moved on with their lives. They’re convinced the police buy their story, or at least can’t dispute it, and they can get back to their normal, every day drama like being the best second grade mom and forcing their older child to go to college, that sort of thing. Bonnie, though, is unraveling. She’s maybe never killed anyone before, so she doesn’t know how to handle it. Right now, she’s mostly going for two-hour runs, but the episode ended with her standing outside the police station. So, this season is the unhinging of Bonnie. I like it. I’m ready for it. I also get it. Season 1 ended where the book ended, so they’re out of source material. I can only hope BLL doesn’t set the train on fire and drive straight up off the rails like another HBO show that just ended that I won’t mention. Except to say this: Bran? Really?

Okay, byeeeeeeeee!

Smoky Lynx



How it Works


Alright, if you’ve read our books – so, like, twenty people – then you know we are OBSESSED with Uncle Bobo and his hot pretzels and dippin’ sauce. We simply cannot get enough.

Also, are they temperature hot or spicy hot? Who the hell knows? I feel like we should, but we don’t. We like to leave some things up to reader interpretation.

A brief history of Uncle Bobo. He is Spring Valley’s premiere restaurateur and a French trained saucier, but he’s harboring a secret past that is sure to come to light.

So, the products, movies, books, etc. reviewed will receive a pretzel rating. The rating system is as follows:

1 Pretzel: Stale as hell

2 Pretzels: Needs salt, but we’d probably still eat it

3 Pretzels: Good with a beer

4 Pretzels: Tasty

5 Pretzels: Uncle Bobo’s Finest

There you have it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Do you need more Uncle Bobo in your life? You do. You definitely do. Read the books. Puhlease. The links are ALL OVER THE DANG PAGE BECAUSE WE HAVE NO SHAME, but here’s the link to Fall just in case you need it.

For more info on us, check out our About page.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeee!

Smoky Lynx


Folklore Friday: Ghost Road


What up, fam? Charlaine LeRoux here. Our publisher, Tipsy Mockingbird Books, lets me do a guest blog every Friday. I thought I’d share it over here as well. This is not a review, folklore is just my jam and I love writing about it. So, without further ado, it’s time for some folklore, henny!

Hey Bookworms! Are you ready to get away from it all for the weekend? Trips to the lake or beach are expensive and a snore. You can do better than that. Have you ever wanted to visit an area where nightmares come to life? Get off the beaten path and spend a night exploring historic zombie road.  Located in Wildwood, MO just outside of St. Louis this hidden gem has been home to the early days of the railroad, a long abandoned resort town teeming with mobsters, and countless grisly deaths. Come on down the path where the past comes to life every night!

You don’t need reservations or to pay admission fees. All you need is a good flashlight and a reckless disregard for your own safety. Scenic Zombie Road is a narrow path carved into a dense and foreboding forest that leads to a bridge across the Meramec River. Rumor has it that the spirits of the Native American tribe who first roamed the land cursed it once the white man started killing and systematically oppressing them. Their restless spirits will have their revenge. We’ve got it coming, haha! The dark and eerie woods around the road echo with unearthly growling and moaning every night. It’s a truly immersive woodland experience. Parasailing schmarasailing, you feel me?

You will be welcomed onto the path by the shrieking ghost of an elderly woman.”So good to see you!” She’ll howl as she storms out onto the porch of her quaint cabin. “It’s a lovely night for a walk!’ She’ll wail as her eyes begin to bleed a dark goo. Not to be confused with the Black-Eyed Children, this is actual goo.  The hairs on the back of your neck and your spirits will rise as you take in the craftsmanship of her cabin. People really knew how to build things back in the day.

After you stop trembling, you’ll continue on down to the railroad bridge. Woowee, there sure is one heck of a view. Way back in the 1950s, a young couple fell right off the ridge just above. The boy’s head got wedged between two tree limbs and his face tore clean off before his body crashed onto the rocks. Their spirits are still on the ridge today. Johnny may have lost his face, but he still only has eyes for his number one girl. Zombie Road is for lovers, y’all!

As you gaze down at the water below, you’ll be gently enveloped by the whispers of the lost souls that local mobsters fitted for a cement overcoats and dumped into the beautiful river. Their skeletal hands are raised towards the surface of the water as they beckon you to release them from their watery prison. Don’t do it! It’s a trap. History really comes to life on Zombie Road!

Speaking of history, let’s talk about the train tracks that snake through the area. So many folks got nailed by one of those majestic old locomotives when the tracks were still active. It’s almost like the place is cursed. Oh wait, it totally is!

The townsfolk with the strongest stomachs would form a search party and gather together the scattered limbs for burial. Now that’s what I call community. The sense of community is so strong that the shadowy revenants of the townsfolk still drift through the darkened woods to this day. Sure, they’ll chase you but it’s just because they’re so excited to meet you. They can’t wait to make you a part of the community forever!

What a special place it is. You’ll stumble blindly down that road for seemingly endless hours praying for daylight. Assuming you survive you’ll have so many awe inspiring stories to tell. Those chumps who went to Cabo will be hella jealous. Sadly, there’s nowhere to buy souvenirs ,but who needs a keepsake t-shirt when you can be forever plagued by night terrors to remind you of the experience? Come on down to Zombie Road, Bookworms. It’s a trip you’ll never forget!




51190847_322398928392526_3331474890191536128_oHello! We are Smoky Lynx and Charlaine LeRoux, adventurers, writers, readers, merkin weavers extraordinaire, and cinnamon enthusiasts. While we write comedic, heartwarming, cozy mysteries, we like to read ALL the things. Well, except romance. Romance is most assuredly not our jam. We hope to bring attention to newbie authors like ourselves, mystery writers, LGBTQ+ authors, books that feature LGBTQ+ characters, and anything else we feel like writing about, okay.

So, a little bit about our books. Turrible Seasons: An Ermahgerd Merstery follows Kimmy Livengood through her seventh grade school year. You know, the easiest of all the school years. The synopsis:

It’s 1993 and Kimmy Livengood is so excited to start seventh grade; she and her best friend, Becky, will finally be going to the same school, she’s logging plenty of volunteer hours at the library, and she’s on track to make it to the regional Magic: The Gathering tournament next summer. Kimmy is living her best life and making the most of all her opportunities, despite her mild speech impediment.

When Kimmy goes on a back-to-school shopping trip with Becky and her friends, things take a turn when Kimmy finds a dead body. Was it an accident? Was it murder? Detectives Jones and Finnigan arrive on the scene to find out.

Now the Detectives must beat the clock as the bodies begin to pile up in the otherwise peaceful town of Spring Valley. The suspects are few, the clues are even fewer; will Carl Jones and Jake Finnigan catch the perpetrator before it’s too late for Kimmy Livengood?

Full of laughs, heart, and plenty of clowns, Turrible Seasons: An Ermahgerd Ermnibus will have you one the edge of your seat, craving a hot pretzel, and considering enrolling in clown college.

Comedy, stunt shows and shenanigans, and murder are our jam. So, you can expect that from our reviews as well. Except the murder. That’s just crazy.

We’ll try to do weekly reviews of what we’re reading, so stay tuned, okurrrrrr.