Picture It…America, 2000ish.

Let me set the stage for you. It’s 1998, 1999, 2000ish. Sometime in there. You’re with your friends because it’s Friday night and your parents don’t care. Everybody’s wearing their absolute best low-rise jeans and chunky heeled boots. The eyeshadows are glimmery and the lips are properly smacked.

It’s dark and smokey because people are smoking cigarettes in a public place. A waitress at this public place brings over a tray of drinks and before she pulls a pen and pad from her apron, she wipes her hands down the sides of the threadbare, probably borrowed flannel shirt that she’s tied around her waist. She smiles and the thick, black eye liner she’s lined her red lips with pops, even through dark, smoky atmosphere. She takes the order of cokes and a basket of fries and disappears elsewhere. You make a mental note to find a velvet choker like hers. Nice. It would go so well with the new low-rise bootcut jeans you bought at the mall earlier.

You suddenly know you’re going to have a good time because a song you love from the Jawbreaker soundtrack begins to play. It’s by The Donnas.

You give your friends a sideways glance. The four of you search the entire room (as much as humanly possible), and somebody grabs a lighter. Someone else pulls a pack of cigarettes out of their purse. And the four of you light up, since you’re absolutely sure nobody who knows your parents is there. And, just as you’d hoped, nobody gives a hoot that you’re smoking in a public place, but you’re only sixteenish.

THESE SHOES were iconic. ICONIC I say!

Your food arrives. You eat, drink, and are merry. Until somebody accidentally drops a little bit of ketchup on their Steve Madden wedges. Bummer. The music changes, and this time it’s Six Underground by Sneakerpimps. Everybody leaves the table and heads to a central area to dance. And that is your night’s beginning.

You end up at a house party somewhere else later because there were neon BYOB flyers in town with the promise of music your parents don’t approve of and beer your parents also don’t approve of. And, more than likely somebody’s burner cousin with a hookup will have weed. So, naturally, you have to go.

Somebody’s girlfriend is crying with a bloody knee at the bottom of the stairs. Two drunk girls are taking care of her, so she’s fine and you grab your best friend, link elbows, and head to the kitchen. Smoke is thick all the way there. You try not to trip over your JNCO’s but it’s really hard when your boots are so heavy and you’ve somehow managed to get a contact buzz within five minutes of arrival. But, there is a keg set up on the deck beyond the kitchen and a dude you’re into is out there kicking around a hackey sack. You grin to yourself because you know Manic Panic has your hair looking and smelling like candy.

Yeah. Totally foolproof career.

But, you never make it to hackey sack boy because somebody streaks past you, knocking his naked way into hackey sack boy, who then erupts into hysterical teenage boy laughter. Hilarity ensues, but your bff’s got your back and hands you a red plastic cup full of goodness knows what. And you drink it because that’s your best friend for life and one day you’re going to open a record store together in town. It’s a fool proof plan guaranteed to make money, right? Cause people will always be buying records!

You forget about hackey sack boy the minute you gulp half the contents of your drink down the gullet. You see stars. But, you drink the rest because you’re enjoying your night and are looking forward to watching your friend’s boyfriend fall over on his skateboard for the millionth time since your arrival. Because JNCO’s and skateboards, though aesthetically pleasing and acceptable, are quite hazardous.

But, then, you see red and blue flashing lights. The cops are there to break up the party and everyone scatters. Bestie is nowhere to be seen, but out of the corner of your eye, you see Eminem and he knows your name. He reaches for your hand and says, “I’ll drive you home!”

So, then, he does. You sneak past your dog, crawl into bed, and wake up the next morning to your bff sitting on the edge of your bed. She’s wearing one of those velure track suits, a black set, and doesn’t have on any makeup at all.

“Who drove you home?” She asks.

You shrug. It could have been any one of hundreds of local boys because they all look like the real Slim Shady these days.

Like. Literally all the dudes I knew were Eminem. Or, at least they thought they were.

The Assassin and the Libertine by Lily Riley

***Disclaimer*** I may receive a small commission from any purchases you make using my links to Amazon as an affiliate. This does not sway my reviews in any way.***

***ALSO, I should add that I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley for a review. That will NEVER sway my thoughts on a story. I’ll always tell my readers what I think and if a book is worth picking up or not.***

This is not a classic vampire story and certainly not a classic romance. There are moments when I wanted it to be such, but many more moments when I was glad that it wasn’t.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Let me explain.

18th century France is one of my favorite times and places to read about, watch films about, and daydream about. Versailles is one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the history of…well, basically everything. And Madame de Pompadour has always been a subject of mystery, intrigue, and romance that, for me, can never be forgotten or moved past. She must have really been something! Certainly King Louis XV thought so.

In The Assassin and the Libertine, it is the death of Madame de Pompadour that sets off the story. The story’s hero, Étienne, is accused of Madame de Pompadour’s murder and as the heroine of the story was the best friend of the king’s favorite mistress and in charge of bringing her killer to his justice, a very common enemies to lovers story begins to unfold.

Here’s where I would normally start rolling my eyes and looking for something else to read. It’s a common plot. Only, in this one, the accused murderer is also a vampire. It does complicate things, but the fact is that there are so many stories set up this way, an author really needs to do the work involved in separating their work from the works of others. The bounty hunter/assassin (in this case) vs. evil hunky vampire accused of obscenities and atrocities is done to death. Yet, in this book, the author manages to yank her story out of the void of cliches and plop it directly into a reader’s wildest bloody fantasies.

The book has a decent heat level and the writing is great. I love the story having the depth of the eighteenth century because honestly, it does add more appeal for me. I’ll certainly look for this author again and I’ll most definitely be sure to recommend this book to my friends.

Daphne de Duras is a proper French duchess by day and fledgling assassin by night. Her latest mission is to dispatch justice and protect the French aristocracy by executing Étienne de Noailles, disgraced former noble, legendary rake, and vampire emissary to the court of King Louis XV.

As far as I can tell, both kindle and paperback copies are available at Amazon if you’d like to find out for yourself. Not convinced? Here’s what the blurb says:

But Étienne’s alleged crime—the gruesome murder of Madame de Pompadour, the King’s mistress and Daphne’s friend—doesn’t quite fit the dashing vampire’s nature. With his immortal days suddenly numbered, Étienne needs to convince his would-be executioner not only of his innocence, but that they should hunt the real killer together—a challenge almost as difficult as convincing himself that he isn’t falling for her.

Daphne reluctantly agrees to a temporary partnership when Étienne persuades her that something more sinister is afoot. He can, after all, help her find answers in places she’s unable to go alone. And despite her deep loathing for any and all vampires, she can’t help but start thinking of a few other places she’d like to go with him.


Coming Soon! I’m going to choose a recipe to make and share an early look at The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook, only at RhiannonWritesOn.com!

Gimme Your Best Suggestions!

If you know of any new releases, even if they haven’t been officially released yet, please shoot me a comment, email, or message on Facebook. I’m working on filling at least three open slots for books in November. Please remember that November is a busy month for most people and I’m a mom with an adult child who will be (hopefully) coming home for a full turkey dinner, so I have to cook for a whole week and prepare notes for my typical Thanksgiving speech about the **REAL** story of American colonization, so I will be pretty busy.

I’d love some non-fiction or biographies, but romance and hard case crime novels are always appreciated. You don’t have to be an author or publisher to get me to read something! If you enjoy an author and know they have a new release or a recent release, or even a release you loved that you’d like me to love, too, just give me a title and author’s name and I’ll track it down myself!

I’m considering a blog series for cookbooks and recipe collections one day in the near future. If you’d be interested in something like that, let me know. I’m particularly interested in cookbooks with a nod toward pop culture. There are so many celebrities with their own cookbooks, television series with cookbooks based on them, etc. It’s certainly a fun niche.

Here’s a picture of my best friend, Salem…for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Five Decembers by James Kestrel

***Disclaimer*** Hey, if you click my links and make any purchases, I may receive a small commission from Amazon. That never will sway my reviews, though, and I’ll always be honest with my readers.

December 1941. America teeters on the brink of war, and in Honolulu, Hawaii, police detective Joe McGrady is assigned to investigate a homicide that will change his life forever. Because the trail of murder he uncovers will lead him across the Pacific, far from home and the woman he loves; and though the U.S. doesn’t know it yet, a Japanese fleet is already steaming toward Pearl Harbor. 
This extraordinary novel is so much more than just a gripping crime story—it’s a story of survival against all odds, of love and loss and the human cost of war. Spanning the entirety of World War II, FIVE DECEMBERS is a beautiful, masterful, powerful novel that will live in your memory forever.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been sitting on this book for a few months now. I received an advance reader copy from the publisher. I read it through the summer and did a second read through this week in anticipation of the release date. I flipped through the pages so often I somehow managed to misplace the press release, which I’d folded in half and used as a bookmark. While working through my loss, I made some discoveries.

The first discovery is more of an a-ha. There is a difference, I promise.

It appears as though the author, James Kestrel, has actually been to Hawaii. He has framed his story with the beauty of the islands and the sticky, heavy dread hanging in the air of a pre-war Honolulu. The characters (main and supporting) are very well synched with their time and it shows in the writing and the plot that the author has given many aspects of his character’s lives a lot of thought in that regard.

The second discovery is that this is not just a murder mystery. It’s not your typical whodunit. This novel is also a war story, sort of. I can’t imagine putting myself in Joe McGrady’s shoes. Perhaps because World War II was a war that shaped my family in so many ways, I am a little bit enamored with stories set throughout that time, in places relevant to survivors of war because I grew up hearing plenty of firsthand tales.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve given Five Decembers four stars. I only take away a star because I feel like there were a few weaknesses in the story, but they weren’t so glaring that I felt readers couldn’t get past them (if they notice at all because I really had to think about it). I will certainly remember James Kestrel’s name and look for further works by him.

The writing is strong and the story is a gut punch. And, I absolutely mean that in a positive way.

As with all of my reviews, I will not give away too many spoilers. I don’t want to go through a play by play of the entire book because the blurb pretty much already does just that and I want you to read and enjoy the story and characters for yourself. I really do. And then I want you to come here and tell me about your reading experience, too.

Email me with your thoughts at rhiannon@rhiannonwriteson.com

Three Shows You Should Stream Right Now

***Disclaimer- I may receive a small commission if you click on any of my Amazon links and buy something from them, but that doesn’t change my opinions within this post!***

As the cooler weather settles in and people are staying in more often than they might through the summer months, I thought I’d share with you a few shows I can easily recommend for nights spent in with a bowl of popcorn.

The first one was a recommendation I read on Facebook a few weeks ago and I watched every single episode in no time.

Ghosts, from BBC, is fantastic. Two thumbs up, five stars, all that. The characters are funny and charming and the premise is interesting enough. You’ll laugh a lot. You can stream Ghosts on HBOMAX.

Be warned that one of the ghosts died in a suit jacket, shirt, and tie, but no pants. So, his ghost is wearing only that. It makes me laugh every single time he has a scene.

Note, CBS has created an American version of this series and I haven’t watched it yet, so I can’t say whether or not it’s as enjoyable as the original. I don’t understand why we need an American version when we can just watch the original, but who knows. Maybe I will be surprised and enjoy it.

My next recommendation is (I think) two seasons in and can be streamed from Paramount+ (which is available through Prime if you choose). The actors are great and the set designs are really nice too. I love how each season takes place in a different time period and I absolutely loved the costumes. Also, the stories in each season are great. Fantastic writing.

Also, I should mention that the stories within season one and two are not related at all, but the outcomes of neither are predictable at all. Not everything is what it seems.

Why Women Kill

My last recommendation is probably not for everybody and comes from Netflix. Great British Baking Show releases new episodes every week and is a delightful distraction. Also, there is dessert. If you haven’t figured out by the title of the show, it’s a baking contest type show. There are judges (in the photo below) and at the end of the season there is a winner. Past winners often go on to do some great things in the world and one of them (Nadiya Hussain) even ended up with her own show on Netflix, which was delightful.

Season 11

I should also mention that there is a Great American Baking Show, too, but I didn’t enjoy it at all and it never gained the popularity of GBBS. Probably because it was terrible.

Book Shortage! Aaaaahhh!

Disclosure: If you click one of my Amazon links, I might get a small commission from them if you make a purchase. However, any opinions or reviews I share will be authentic.

So, in case you’ve been living under a rock lately, I’m sure you’ve figured out there are shortages and prices of things from gas to toilet paper are creeping up. I don’t tend to panic about things like this ( this is not my first rodeo, my dears). But, this time it may be a bit different.

This time, books are also on the list of things that may not make it when they’re supposed to or even at all. And, you might be thinking that print books will be the only books not available when we want them, but the release of a print book has a significant influence over the release of its digital copy, too. That isn’t to say you can’t get a Kindle (which I can NOT recommend enough because I love mine sooooo much) and Kindle Unlimited or download the Kindle app and just read digitally because you absolutely can. Just know that publishers have a lot of hard decisions to make regarding the release of titles and the slow of a title’s print release could also mean the slow of its digital release also.

There are other options for readers, too.

Arguably one of the best alternatives to a new book is a new to you book. Maybe you could get together with friends and neighbors and swap titles from your own shelves once a week or twice a month. That way nobody is bookless.

Uh, and libraries. Which, ya know, have been around forever. Centuries, even. Maybe longer. They could most certainly use your patronage and support.

Got any Anne Rice in here?

In the age of technology, books recorded on tapes are no longer the thing and just about everyone I know (which is a lot of people, to be honest) is using audiobooks in one way or another. I have a friend who prefers her thrillers via Audible because she likes to listen to murders being solved while she takes her morning walks. I can’t say that would be my thing because I prefer my murder mysteries on print because they creep me out less that way. But, she can do her and I will do me, which means that when I finally do<a href=”http://<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/hz/audible/mlp/membership/plus?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524216631897&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=rhiannonwri09-20&linkId=63fdcd633f389182fd42b11764e48e90″>Try Audible Plus give Audible a shot, I’ll stick to anthologies and shorter tales. I Think I prefer longer tales in my hands.

Obviously, there is a ton of bloggers online more than happy to provide the world with words to mash on everyday and I, for one, am partial to blogs for early morning reading. I may be biased, but there are a lot of great wordsmiths right here on the big, wide web. But, if you’re waiting on a new title you’ve heard about for months and have been patiently waiting on, you might be waiting a tad longer, and ordering a title for Christmas might take a little bit of research first to be sure the book will arrive in time to be wrapped and presented to its new owner.

I guess if you already have a super duper huge to be read pile sitting around, you might be okay for a while. And, who’s to say this won’t be a problem solved sooner rather than later. I try to stay optimistic about things, but in today’s world, you just can’t be too sure about much of anything.

I already do most reviews through digital copies. The paper copies I do have are coveted, but few and far between. I do wonder about kids in school and how these shortages will affect them. But, until there’s a solution, I’ll try and keep myself and all of you as up to date as possible with the latest on the subject.


The Food From the True Blood, the Exclusive True Blood Cookbook by Rene Reed- Cookbook Review

**DISCLAIMER**As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

My husband and I are True Blood fans and have been for years. While searching out Amazon for True Blood merch, we came across a cookbook and couldn’t turn it down, so we bought it immediately and it arrived within a week.

There are things you should know about this book before you buy it.

First, it’s not the only True Blood cookbook available. There is another one and I want it. I haven’t bough tit yet because I have only just discovered it. It’s called True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps.

I”m definitely not a fan of the black and white pages…


And, this is a big one for me.

The book has rough, coloring book style pages. And, it’s all in black and white.

This may be great for some folks, but I saw a missed opportunity here. This book is supposed to be representative of the foods, smells, and tastes one might associate with vampires and blood. I wanted to see the deep red in the red velvet cake and beetroots. But, nope. None of that.

I was disappointed.

The recipes within the book, however, are pretty nice.

The ingredients involved in the recipes are relatively easy for most people to find in local stores. One recipe does call for venison, so I would imagine some folks might find that one difficult to fulfill, but venison is easily enough swapped out for beef in most recipes. The author failed to mention this, though, and I sort of feel like it should have been included information, but I suppose not all cookbooks are the same and in that vein, not all cookbook authors are, either.

“I”m gonna rip open your heart, and fry it up with some grits and collard greens.” -Tara Thornton

There are other issues, also. In the beginning of the book, there are instances where a recipe’s photo is the right side, full page, and when you turn the page, the ingredients are listed on a left side page. But, the page next to it (a right side page) is the photo for another recipe, so recipes and photos aren’t matching up. I know this was a stylistic choice and maybe the publisher and author didn’t want to waste page space, but this could have been handled and designed better.

I really can’t say I’ll be using this cookbook much. It would be nice for someone who loves beetroot, because there is multiple recipes involving beetroots included. Maybe even nice for someone who doesn’t know a lot of recipes and honestly it’s a nice little piece to keep as a fan of True Blood, but it’s not a book I would recommend someone buy to keep as a regularly used cookbook because it’s just not that at all.

For all of these reasons, I’m afraid this books has gained two stars and no more.

Available at Amazon. I want it sooo bad…

Fall Canning: Rhubarb Jam

She leaves me notes in things sometimes and I love them.

***Disclaimer- As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.***

A few days ago, my grandma told me she had a bunch of rhubarb, already cut, washed, and measured into the appropriate amount. She asked if I wanted it and I said I did because I love rhubarb. Typically, I like a strawberry rhubarb pie, but that wasn’t what my grandma had in mind. She sent along a recipe for a jam and told me I should try it, so I did. I don’t regret it, either, because it was delicious.

I won’t share with you the recipe she gave me because I’m not sure she wanted it to be shared. Instead, I’ll leave the link to Martha Stewart’s recipe here and you can try that one because it’s similar enough that it’s probably almost the same. If you choose to can your jam, I would suggest you water bath for about twenty minutes and leave about a quarter to a half inch of headspace in your jars. You can check the USDA’s website for canning safety if you want, though.

Anyway, canning rhubarb made me realize that summer is over and fall is here.

I’m not late to the party or anything, I realize leaves have been turning for quite a while now and the weather has changed, too, but I really hate when the summer begins to fade away. I don’t mind the cooler weather, but I hate shorter days and I hate that my kids are all going to be in school (or work, in one kid’s case) and I’ll be here on my lonesome. But, isn’t that the way of things for parents sometimes? I suppose I’m not the first to feel this way and maybe my fall/winter seasonal depression is setting in a little bit, but I have come to the conclusion that I may as well embrace my inner prepper and stop trying to fight the inevitable.

It’s very satisfying to look at photos of my handy work…

I come from a long line of practical, yet headstrong Appalachian women. Canning and preserving is just encoded in my DNA. The USDA changes safety regulations on a yearly basis, but the gist of it all is the same. Grow, harvest, can. And, dry, dehydrate, bury, jar, freeze, too.

My canner is a smart canner that I bought last year. It was ridiculously expensive, but has multiple functions. It’s a slow cooker, steamer, pressure cooker, pressure canner, and water bath canner, all in one. I love the stupid thing because even though it’s tall and barely fits under the cabinet (I have to scoot it out to open the lid lol), it’s handy! I realized yesterday though that if my great grandma or great great grandma had been given the resource of a smart canner, she would probably laugh at me (or scold me, even) for complaining about the work that goes into canning and preserving. Still, I managed six pints of rhubarb jam yesterday in almost no time at all and today I plan on working at some homemade chicken bone broth.

The face of a satisfied, yet frustrated prepper.

I suppose the reason behind my post is that I have obviously turned into a squirrel and am now putting away all of my acorns for winter because I am frazzled and tired and I just want to make sure it’s done. I don’t know any other way to live and I certainly don’t want to not preserve things and let them go to waste.

And, the entire time I was doing this yesterday, I kept thinking that I should be writing. I should be working on a novel. I should be working on the cookbook I’ve always wanted to write, but never took the time to plan out.

Productivity is a weird concept.

XOXO Kelly Rhiannon

Revisiting Old Favorites

***Disclosure- As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.***

I have a real soft spot for time travel. A big part of me is constantly searching for an escape from reality and time travel just seeps in to fill the cracks left by that deep longing to be anywhere (and any time) else. I don’t know why I am the way I am. I could fly to a whole new planet where everything is warm, there are no predators to my species, and extraterrestrial cabana boys serve me margaritas all day long and I’d still get the itch to wander elsewhere every now and then. An international pandemic only fanned the flames, to be quite honest.

And, in the spirit of that itch, I have revisited some old time traveling friends thanks to an ad I saw somewhere in a magazine rack at a doctor’s office. I don’t remember the magazine, but I remember it was very dated. I remembered this title because I’d read it probably at about the time the magazine was published (ha!).

It’s funny how an item from a time period can take you back to that spot in your life. Smells can do this also. But, I’m certainly not complaining because the moment I remembered this book, I googled it on my phone and bought a hardback copy (my preference). And, the minute it arrived, I read it all. I only put it down to do the most necessary of tasks. Books like that do tend to be the best to a reader.

I hadn’t read a Jude Deveraux romance in quite a long time and I was instantly taken back to a simpler time in my life (before children) when Sisqo was on the radio singing about thongs and I was trying to convince my mom to let me go to the mall when I’d clearly not done my chores. The story was the same, but it meant more to me because I’ve changed in the last twenty years, as people are apt to do. 

And, the  minute I put Knight In Shining Armor down, I decided to track down the Edilean series because I hadn’t read any of those particular Deveraux titles. Turns out, while I was busy having babies, Jude Deveraux was still living her life, writing wonderful novels… What nerve! (I kid). 

I guess some people have comfort foods, but I have comfort books. And, I’m making a mental list of other authors I should revisit as soon as I’m through the Edilean series. I’m thinking about Kathleen Woodiwiss first. I may even go back to some older Stephen King titles and give them a reread (Christine, I’m lookin’ at you). 

Of course, I’m always open to suggestions from my own friends and readers out there. Drop a suggestion in the comments if there are any older novels or authors you think I should check out. Book recommendations are always a welcome, refreshing addition to my comments and emails. Just fyi, I’ll never not want them.