Karyn Good

About Karyn Good

I grew up on a farm in the middle of Canada's breadbasket. Under the canopy of crisp blue prairie skies I read books. Lots and lots of books. Occasionally, I picked up a pen and paper or tapped out a few meagre pages of a story on a keyboard and dreamed of becoming a writer when I grew up. One day the inevitable happened and I knew without question the time was right. What to write was never the issue - romance and the gut wrenching journey towards forever.

Develop Your Playful Side

Every December I pick a word for the upcoming year. Except for 2021, which I skipped. Which likely explains my choice for 2022. DREAM. Of possibilities. Both fantastical and ordinary. Chasing the dream, not in a busy, get it done kind of way, but a whimsical exploration. To play and paint and stargaze. Purely for the joy and entertainment of it all.

This is me on a long ago trip to Vancouver gazing out over the water while on a dinner cruise. Can staring off into space considered a hobby? If so, it’s a favourite of mine. Always dreaming up stories.

The longer this pandemic drags on, the harder it is to take time away from the overwhelming amount of statistics, the constant updates, the frustration, and the worry. Now it’s winter and getting through the next couple of months seems rather a daunting task. There’s not much I can do about the pandemic, other than getting my booster, washing my hands, social distancing, and wearing my mask, or the long winter months ahead, but I can dream. I can add joy and playfulness into each day.

Somewhere along the way play turns into something immature and unwelcome as we get older. But 2022 is going to be my time to practice taking a break from reality, to remember to play and laugh. I will remember it’s okay to be silly for a few minutes each day and that adults need recess, too.

The Benefits of Play:

Define What Play Means to You:

Let your imagination go. What is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, but didn’t pursue? Be aware of your energy levels. We’re all drained right now. It’s okay to start small. Be an amateur. Make mistakes. Try something new. Rekindle an old hobby. Do what’s right for you.

It can focus on creativity, like crafting, doodling, knitting. Maybe exercise is your fun thing. Seriously, the belly dancing class I took way back when was a complete hoot. Go for a hike. Try pickle ball. Maybe self examination brings you joy. I know it does to me: journaling, yoga, meditation. Music is key for a lot of people. Try karaoke, or learn a new instrument, take a voice class (even if you think you can’t sing). Socialize. It doesn’t have to be a big group. Maybe it’s scheduling date night. Go axe throwing. Take in a dance class. Go to a poetry reading. But keep it safe.

Make it Happen:

  • Clear your schedule. Set aside a block of time, big or small, to be silly and have some fun.
  • Turn off your phone, TV, and other devices. You can do it.
  • Give yourself permission to do whatever you want. This is your time to dance like no one’s watching. Or to be still and sit and dream.

Until next time…

Live laugh play. Here’s to a playful 2022! What do you do to take a break from life?

December 2021

A Photo Journal

Who else loves biscotti? And dipping in a steaming cup of something? I didn’t do a lot of baking this year, but managed to make cranberry nut biscotti and gingerbread men.

Dabbing in watercolours is soothing for the soul, at lease for me. This month is was all about gift tags.

My husband had last week off and we indulged in a Harry Potter marathon. I recently read an article that explained why some of us love to rewatch or reread old favourites, especially when times are stressful.

I miss my office space. I’m currently writing at the kitchen table and sharing space with a puzzle.

Although, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas movies, The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favourite.

We are facing an upside down Christmas here. Omicron is spreading, and once again Christmas celebrations will be smaller. But we’ve got a roof over our head, food to eat, and we’re looking toward the future. Lots of exciting things happening in 2022. We move back into our house in February and I have plans to release the first book of a new contemporary series. More about those things in the new year.

Until then…

Book Talk Friday: Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

I love talking about books, but I especially love talking about books and authors who are favourites of mine. Sarah MacLean is an auto buy author for me and Bombshell is her newest release.

Bombshell: Hell’s Belles, Book 1 by Sara MacLean

Published: Harper Collins, August 24, 2021

Length: 400 pages

Categories: Romance / Historical Romance / Victorian Romance /

The Blurb:

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss. 

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.

My Thoughts:

Who can resist a book in which a group of women are intent on setting right some of the wrongs committed against other women. Enter Sesily Talbot, who, along with three of her friends, spend their nights making sure the worst of the very privileged men of their acquaintance pay for their crimes. Sesily doesn’t care about her less than pristine reputation. Then again, she doesn’t have to, she’s rich in her own right. But she’s very much attracted to a man, who cares about his own. With good reason. He can’t afford for others to know too much about him. Or his past. That doesn’t stop Caleb from admiring, and very much wanting, Sesily Talbot, who also makes him want to yank his hair out one strand at a time.

What can I say? This is a bombshell of a book! Well developed characters, plenty of heat, beautiful writing, creative world building, as always. MacLean pulls back the curtain of privilege and aristocracy to show us the dark side of an age where the patriarchy reigned and infuses it with light, laughter, and bar brawls. Sesily is a force to be reckoned with and Caleb is the perfect foil to aid her in her schemes and desires.

Sarah MacLean and romance critic Jen Prokop host Fated Mates, a fantastic romance novel podcast. Their latest episode talks about the top ten books that got them through 2021. Give it a listen and add some great books to your to-be-read pile.

I’ll be back next week with a list of my favourite books from 2021.

Until then…

What favourite reads got you through the mess and chaos of 2021?

October and Fall Television Favourites

The sun is setting earlier and rising later. Kind of like me. I love Octobers, especially if they are as beautiful and warm as this month has been. October also gives me an excuse to use one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

We’re thinking of cancelling of our cable television package and are experimenting with streaming our favourite shows, which are few and far between these days. Like, good grief, another NCIS show? How do we feel about the return of CSI: Las Vegas? How is Survivor still on the air? Anyone else feeling like there’s nothing to watch on TV? Or am I in a funk? A deep, deep funk. Admittedly, that due to this never ending pandemic. But still…

There are a few bright spots, of course. I’m liking La Brea. Still enjoying The Rookie and The Equalizer. And Bob Hearts Abishola is always a delight. There’s also some great Canadian programming out there right now. And it doesn’t get enough attention.

My Three Favourite Canadian Television Shows

Family Law

Family Law is my new favourite television program this fall. Family dysfunction at its best. And who doesn’t love Victor Garber. The series is part legal procedural, part family dramedy, created by Susin Nielsen. It’s family dysfunction at its best and the chemistry between the characters is fabulous. I was fortunate enough to meet Susin Nielsen at The Saskatchewan Festival of Words in 2019. The talent that comes to this festival is off the charts. I highly recommend attending. And I definitely recommend Nielsen’s books!

The Great Canadian Baking Show

I enjoy watching baking shows a lot more than actually baking. Who’s with me? I don’t know how these amateur bakers stay so composed under pressure. I’d crumble like, well, crumble.

Jann

For when you need a laugh. Jann Arden is not scared to poke fun at herself. On the show, she plays an unapologetic, self-centred, aging singer songwriter who’s career is on the cusp of obscurity. It’s so funny. And poignant. And she’s surrounded by a super talented cast.

What I’m reading:

Print: Gutter Child by Jael Richardson. A dystopian story about a girl who must overcome the dictates of a harsh regime and find a life and freedom.

Audio: A Treacherous Curse: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 3, written by Deanna Raybourn and narrated by Angele Masters. Still loving this series! Both the story and the narrator. Also, waiting for these two to finally sleep together is killing me.

Until next time…

What’s everyone watching these days? Any new shows you would recommend? Any favourite old shows you rewatch? I need suggestions!

Book Talk Friday: The Golden Couple

More thoughts on books. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Published: St. Martin’s Press

Available: March 8, 2022

Length: 320 pages

Categories: Fiction / Psychological Thriller / Domestic Suspense / Suspense

The Blurb:

If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.

When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

My Thoughts:

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a domestic suspense story but I really enjoyed The Wife Between Us and I couldn’t wait for all the twists and turns this writing duo was sure to provide. I wasn’t disappointed. The story revolves around a marriage in trouble and an unconventional therapist. Few things are what they seem and a teetering tower of lies holds it all together.

Avery Chambers, a discredited therapist, promises to fix a client’s problem in ten sessions. Then the Bishops hire her to fix their marriage. She begins to change her mind once she gets to know them. They say all the right things but they have no interest in telling the truth. They reveal just enough of it to cover up the things they don’t want to be discovered. And Avery has other threats and problems to worry about. Somehow it all comes together in the end in with a bang.

This story makes very compelling reading. I couldn’t put it down.

Writing duos always fascinate me. I’m not sure how they do it. My approach is all over the place and I can’t imagine coherently explaining my thoughts well enough to co-author anything. Apparently, that wasn’t the problem for an interesting writing pairing about to release a book next Tuesday.

I’ll be reading this book. I won’t be able to resist the hype. The combination of Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton is to fascinating to resist and premise for State of Terror is very tempting.

Until next time…

I find domestic suspense, which often revolves around unreliable narrators and what is true and what is not, interesting reading. Having said that, I haven’t read one in awhile. What are your thoughts? I would love some Canadian author and Canadian setting recommendations.

Book Talk Friday: Hana Khan Carries On

Where I talk about books I’ve read and enjoyed. Especially if they’re written by a Canadian and set in Canada. This week I’m sharing my thoughts on Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin.

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Published: HarperAvenue 04/06/2021

Length: 368 pages

Categories: Fiction / Contemporary Romance / RomCom / Canadian Author / Canadian Canadian

The Blurb:

From the author of Ayesha at Last comes a sparkling new rom-com for fans of “You’ve Got Mail,” set in two competing halal restaurants

Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighbourhood. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. But soon she’ll need all the support she can get: a new competing restaurant, a more upscale halal place, is about to open in the Golden Crescent, threatening Three Sisters.

When her mysterious aunt and her teenage cousin arrive from India for a surprise visit, they draw Hana into a long-buried family secret. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.

As life on the Golden Crescent unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community and decide what her future should be.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. If you loved You’ve Got Mail, you’ll find many familiar parallels in this book. I loved the main characters, Hana and Aydin. Both passionate about their chosen paths, both equally invested in succeeding. There’s also plenty of colourful secondary characters to love too. All set in a vibrant neighbourhood in Toronto that comes alive because of the people trying to maintain and protect a sense of community.

There are plenty of rom-com moments that made me smile and gave me all the feels. But there are other moments. Ones that bring attention to the despicable acts of hatred and Islamophobia that continue to happen across this country. How Jalaluddin weaves together a story full of resilience, hope, and the power of love (all kinds) is the real magic of this book.

Uzma Jalaluddin is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. I’ve shared my thoughts on Ayesha at Last in this Book Talk post.

The other good news is that Hana Khan Carries On is being adapted into film by Mindy Kaling and Amazon Studios.

Jalaluddin is also contributing columnist the Toronto Star and her column is called Samosas and Maple Syrup.

Until next time…

Who loved Who’s Got Mail? Is Megan Ryan and Tom Hanks on of your favourite rom-com pairings? If not, who is?

September Musings

September always feels like the start of the new year, rather than January. I love the return to routine after going this way and that way and packing in as much summer goodness as I can into July and August. September is a time to get back at it, whatever your ‘it’ is. Even though we’re in the midst of the 4th wave of this pandemic, and there is a federal election looming, and we’re all tired and frustrated (possibly angry), September is a time to set things back to rights.

My house is relatively organized except for two rooms, my office and the basement bedroom. Oh, and one very large cupboard that is full of memories. My wedding dress is in there. My childhood memories are stored in there. Our children’s memories. This cupboard is packed with all the feels. There is also a tent. I don’t know why.

Reorganizing is a priority right now because we are about to begin renovating the upstairs of our house which was built in the 70s. Very little has changed on our top floor during that time. Removal of wallpaper and painting of bedrooms. Goodbye blue carpet and ugly wallpaper. Have I mentioned that there was either wallpaper or a wallpaper border on every wall of our house. There are also hanging snowflake lights in our bedroom. And a mirrored wall.

Getting everything ready means purging some things that should have gone long ago. Not only the dated decor, but the other stuff. Things that I’ve tucked away and haven’t dealt with. Which makes me wonder why I’m hanging onto certain things. I’m asking myself who will want it? Our children are busy accumulating their own stuff and filling their own nooks and crannies with things that are special and important to them.

I found the article, The psychology of clutter: Why we hold onto ‘stuff’—and what that may be teaching our kids, gave me some insight into why I’m hanging onto an endless amount of craft supplies. I mean I might find a use for them some day, right? Probably not. Why have I held onto it. The answer is guilt. And it will come as a surprise to no one that guilt is not a good reason to hold onto something.

This article was also helpful: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter.

I’m relieved to say I’ve made a dent in things. And excited to welcome in the new. Like vinyl plank flooring, soothing spa colours. Fresh, modern, accompanied by less of everything.

What I’m reading:

Print: Bombshell (Hell’s Belle, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean. Finishing the very last few pages of Sesily and Caleb’s story. Sooo good! Definitely recommend.

eBook: Just started an ARC of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen coming out in early 2022. I’m fascinated by writing duos. And this book is off to a great start!

Audio: A Perilous Undertaking, A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 2, written by Deanna Raybourn and narrated by Angele Masters. LOVING this series! Both the story and the narrator.

Until next time…

Who else thinks of September has the true beginning of the year?

Book Talk Friday: The Christie Affair

Heading into the weekend and sharing thoughts on books I’ve read. This week it’s The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. I was lucky enough to receive a ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) from Netgalley for review.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

Published: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: 02/01/2022

Length: 320 Pages

Catagories: Fiction / Women’s Fiction / Mystery / Agatha Christie Disappearance / Inspired by True Events

The Blurb:

n 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.

I’m no Hercule Poirot.

I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

My Thoughts:

I’m probably one of the only people who hadn’t realized Agatha Christie infamously disappeared early on in her career or that no one knows what happened during those eleven days. This book details one of many possibilities. While the title suggests it’s about the Christies, but it’s really a fictional account of Archie Christie’s mistress, Nan O’Dea, her involvement with the Christie family, and is an intriguing take on might have happened.

There are definitely many unexpected twists and turns in this book that spans Nan’s life from young girl, her life during the 1st World War, until she becomes involved with Archie Christie. It’s an interesting look at life pre and post WWI and the insecurities women faced during that uncertain time. I admired Nan, even though I didn’t much like her. The same goes for Agatha Christie’s character. I definitely wasn’t a fan of her husband.

But, though the concept was entertaining, I couldn’t get past the narrative style which often led to confusion. It was the first person narrative intrusion in scenes that Nan could know nothing of that put me off and pulled me out of the story. Having said that, what bugs one reader will entertain another. This book will definitely be worth checking out when it becomes available in early 2022.

Until next time…

Are you an Agatha Christie fan? Did you, unlike me, know she’d infamously gone missing? Maybe you’re a mystery bluff? What are some of your favourites?

Hold the Pumpkin Spice, Please.

Is there a bigger transition than August to September? It seems like one day it’s summer and the next day someone waves the checkered flag and, that’s it, summer’s in the rearview mirror. The race to claim as much sun and leisure time as possible is over. As much as I love September and settling back into a routine, I’m not ready to exchange the heat and blooms of summer for pumpkin spice everything.

But Fall, like taxes, is inevitable, but far more enjoyable when you wrap your head around the idea.

Here are three things I will be embracing this fall. Okay, there’s four things in this photo, but books are a given.

The Release App: In the midst of the 4th wave of this pandemic and it’s more important than ever for me to take care of my mental health. The stress is real. Tempers are high and patience is waning. The Release App is part of my daily routine. I discovered the Release App when attending an art and mindfulness class. Trina Markusson provided tips on mindfulness and how to stay in the present moment. Meditation takes practice but it’s benefits are far reaching.

My LumberJill Apparel Rundle Wrap: This is the best cozy outdoor/indoor blanket/wrap ever. Great for all seasons. This Made in Canada brand is based in Alberta and all their products are produced in a factory in Edmonton as well as by local home-based seamstresses. This blanket is the best! I love the colour, but they have others. I love the simple mechanics of the design and how much coverage I get without tripping over the length.

Lemon Love Tea from Cuppa T’: Because every season should involve tea. And this particular tea smells like lemon meringue pie. It’s like holding onto a bit of summer.

What I’m reading:

Print: Bombshell (Hell’s Belle, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean. She’s one of my favourite authors and this book is exactly what I need right now.

eBook: I have two ARCs (Advance Readers Copies) ready to go but haven’t decided which to read first yet. But excited about both of them!

Audio: A Curious Beginning, A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, written by Deanna Raybourn and narrated by Angele Masters. Oh my gosh, SO GOOD!

Until next time…

What are your Fall necessities? Or drop a comment telling me what you’re reading!

Book Talk Friday: Fire In The Stars

Where I talk about books I’ve read and enjoyed. Especially if they’re written by a Canadian and set in Canada. This week I’m talking about Fire in the Stars: An Amanda Doucette Mystery by Barbara Fradkin.

Fire in the Stars: An Amanda Doucette Mystery by Barbara Fradkin

Published: Dundurn Press, 2016

Length: 328 pages

Categories: Mystery / Amateur Sleuths / Canadian Detectives / Canadian Setting

The Blurb:

After surviving a horrific trauma in Nigeria, international aid worker Amanda Doucette returns to Canada to rebuild her life and her shaken ideals. There, the once-passionate, adventurous woman needs all her strength and ingenuity when a friend and fellow survivor goes missing along with his son.

A trained first-aid and crisis responder, Doucette — always accompanied by her beloved dog Kaylee — joins forces with RCMP officer Chris Tymko to discover the truth about the disappearance. Their search leads them to the Great Northern Peninsula, a rugged landscape of Viking history, icebergs, whales, and fierce ocean storms. Elsewhere, a body gets hauled up in a fisherman’s net, and evidence is mounting of an unsettling connection with Amanda’s search for her friend. Fradkin writes evocatively of the beautiful, often hostile, Newfoundland landscape where Amanda soon finds herself fighting for her very survival.

My Thoughts:

Fire in the Stars is the first book in Fradkin’s Amanda Doucette mystery series. Amanda, an international aid worker, has returned to Canada to recover from the trauma she experienced during her time in Nigeria. She plans a camping holiday in Newfoundland with her friend and former co-worker. When she shows up, she finds he’s gone missing along with his young son. What follows is a search through parts of Newfoundland’s more remote areas with the help of RCMP officer, Chris Tymko.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this book and we get a real sense of the rugged and beautiful province of Newfoundland. Amanda is on a mission to find and help her friend, Phil, before the worst happens. This places her in several precarious situations as she’s always ready to wade into trouble. Almost too ready, as she took more and more chances. Some to the point of folly and against sound advice. The author makes it clear that Amanda was in the habit of making crucial decisions with few resources in her former job. Still…it became a bit frustrating.

There is a lot happening in this book. We are learning who Amanda is, what drives her and the lengths she’s willing to go to protect the people she cares about. Dog lovers will enjoy the antics of Kaylee, Amanda’s faithful canine companion. Amanda and Tim grow close as they search for their friend. And plenty of other secondary and minor characters show up. It’s a complicated plot. Bodies start to turn up and the situation continues to escalate. All the different things at play make for a confusing read at times.

Overall, I think it’s an interesting start to a series that will take Amanda across Canada, which is an intriguing concept. If you’re looking for an interesting Canadian setting, a daring amateur sleuth, and a mystery that isn’t the least bit cozy, I recommend giving the Amanda Doucette series a try.

Here is a map of Newfoundland and Labrador. Fire in the Stars takes place mainly on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

Other books set in Newfoundland.

Until next time…

Have you been to Newfoundland and Labrador? If you have, what is your favourite part of the province? It’s the only Canadian province I haven’t visited but I plan to some day!