Jun 30, 2015

Review: Minutes to Kill




After corporate attorney Hannah Barrett tries—and fails—to stop a kidnapping in Vegas, she can’t shake the haunting image of the terrified young girl she couldn’t save. She tells herself that a visit to her hometown in Scarlet Falls could be a welcome distraction. But soon, Hannah realizes the kidnappers have all the info they need to track her every move. And when chilling e-mails about the victim appear in her inbox, it’s frighteningly clear what happened in Vegas has followed her home.

Eight months after a terrible family tragedy, Hannah turns to Detective Brody McNamara once again. Brody is eager to help, though he’s embroiled in the investigation of a brutal murder. But the closer they work together, the stronger their feelings grow…and the more they stand to lose when two seemingly unrelated, but equally deadly, cases collide.


* * * * *

I tend to be a bit leery when I start a series on the second book but I really didn't need to worry about it with the SCARLET FALLS series.  While there was a book previous where Hannah and Brody actually met, I didn't feel as though I was lost at any point in the story.

Both of the main characters are wonderful but I fell in love with Hannah.  Yes she can be a polished corporate attorney however she was raised with three brothers by a military father.  This meant that she went on recons when she was a girl so that she was able to spend time with her father.  Those skills and other come in handy in MINUTES TO KILL.

Brody is the perfect counterpart for Hannah.  He is more laid back but he comes with his own issues from a previous marriage that went bad.  He is also justifiably concerned about starting a relationship with Hannah considering she is just in Scarlet Falls on a vacation.

I want to give Ms. Leigh kudos on her villains.  There is no surprise reveal at the end.  The reader meets them early on and goes on to learn more about them.  They are evil personified with their loyalty to each other being their own redeeming trait.  Just thinking about the fact that there are people like them is enough to make me shudder.

As you can probably tell, I very much enjoyed MINUTES TO KILL and will be on the watch for more books from Ms. Leigh.  I definitely recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense.

Jun 29, 2015

New Earrings Monday: Weeks 27 & 28


I missed posting during the last do around.  And it wasn't even that I didn't have any earrings made.  I just plum forgot. 


Since I have been working on a collection that will be going live at Jewelry Because on July 15th, I decided to share a couple pairs I have made for that site.  This is a wonderful online gallery where 25% of the purchase price is donated to charity.  So if you are looking for some jewelry be sure to check them out.  My designs aren't up yet but quite a few artists are ready to go with some beautiful pieces of jewelry.



This pair is part of a set which also includes a necklace.  Gorgeous faceted pearls and golden hematite are wirewrapped to some lovely brass shells.  Hand forged ear-wires complete the look.



For this next pair, I took a dab of  enameled beads by Beads By EarthTones and a pinch of some decorated grunge board and stirred it all together.  This look is highlighted by antiqued brass wire, rings and hand forged ear wires.

Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.
Jun 26, 2015

Summer Waters Blog Challenge





I feel that I have to apologize to my readers for this week.  It has been hectic and my hands have been acting up so I haven't done much posting.  I am just glad that I tend to play with my design kits long before the actual hops.

I had a lot of fun playing with this kit which contained a lot of cultured sea glass from ZNetShows. along with some glass pearls and other various metal do dads.  And I will have you know that I actually took a picture of the kit but I can't seem to find it.

Anyways, I am mostly going to let my pictures speak for themselves especially since my hands are acting up and I have a faceted pearl necklace to wire wrap tomorrow.




These earrings will all be donated,.  I am going to have quite the hoard heading over to Ears To You.





Be sure to check out what the other designers came up with for seaside (though I guess it could be lake side also) jewelry.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

Susan Anderson, La Main Tresor

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Saundra Farren, Something by Saundra
Jun 23, 2015

Book Review: Lying With Wolves




Only her powerful magic can save the Colony and the man she loves...

In the wake of a betrayal, Celia Lawson, the last of a preeminent magical bloodline, is building a new life for herself outside the security of the Colony. Meanwhile, demon raiders have breached the protective barriers of the compound and are threatening everyone she loves. When she learns of the tragedy, Celia races home to help mount a magical offensive--and finds comfort back in the arms of the shifter who broke her heart....

Risking exposure for all that he's done, Malcolm Daniels wants only to redeem himself with the pack and win back Celia's trust. But as demon forces invade, Celia's magic--and her own conflicted feelings for Malcolm--will be tested in ways neither of them ever would have imagined.


* * * * *

I do love reading a good paranormal romance.  Heck I enjoy reading almost any paranormal romance.  There is just something about the 'others' living and loving among us that sets my imagination afire.  So needless to say, I enjoyed LYING WITH WOLVES.

The main characters, Celia and Malcolm, have their issues, some rather large ones, that they need to overcome before they will be able to rebuild a real relationship. And I enjoyed watching them face and try to overcome those issues.  I found however that it was a couple of secondary characters that really stole the book.

Ruby and Jade are Celia's cousins and totally unfamiliar with their bloodlines since their mother died when they were young.   Being worried about Celia, they follow her when she heads back to the Colony.  I found them to be spunky and totally loyal to each other and Celia.  I really hoping that they merit their own book.

LYING WITH WOLVES is an easy to read book but other then the twins, I didn't really find anything that stood out from the other in this genre.  Fun to read if you like paranormal romance but not one I would recommend that you rush out and buy.
Jun 21, 2015

Book Review: Escaping Reality




Infinite possibilities….
Infinite passion…..
Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.


At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?


* * * * *

ESCAPING REALITY is a very hot story about a young woman who is running from her past and a hot billionaire who she is drawn too yet afraid to let him into her life.  Ms. Jones does a superb job of bringing her readers into Amy's  thoughts and fears. Something or someone is after her and she has to keep changing identities and the last thing that she wants is to become involved with anyone who might then be a target.

I really liked both Amy and Liam.  I found myself cheering when Liam refused to let Amy push him away especially as he doesn't know and she won't give him a reason why.  He is a Prince Charming with his one dark secrets who is determined to both have and protect Amy from her Godzillas.  He is sex personified and this is one hot book that delves lightly into bondage.  

My only complaint about this book the conclusion.  Or actually the lack of a conclusion.  It just leaves the reader hanging on the edge of a cliff and I prefer to have some type of closure even if it isn't the end of a series.  

I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy hot reading material as this one is sexy enough to require a tub of ice.  Just be warned that you will need to rush out and get the next book if you don't have both handy and ready to read. 
Jun 19, 2015

Ramblings

English: bangles
English: bangles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



  • I managed to get the moss off my roof. I don't mind heights but getting off the ladder onto the roof terrifies me. But it's done. 
  • Somehow I misplaced three of my bangles. I know I was wearing them at work yesterday and I woke up today and they were gone. No bloody idea what happened. Now I just hope they reappear. 
  • Our handfasting is getting closer. Need to go get wine and other things tomorrow. It's a beautiful ritual and some dear friends are conducting it. 
  • After going nuts all day on Tuesday, I got home and started searching for my bangles.  I found them under my pillow where I had looked that morning.  Have to love our Imp. 
  • Well I managed to get all of my running about done today except for one very important one.  I forgot to pick up dog cookies.  And of course the ones I use are only available at pet stores which are closed by the time I get off work.  Good thing my critters like popcorn.
  • Sorry about the lack of pics.  I just haven't taken any that I haven't shared already this week.  In fact, the only ones I have taken were for the Splendid Procession post yesterday.  So instead, I decided to show some some neat bangles that I found on Wiki.
Jun 18, 2015

Splendid Procession Challenge




Today is the reveal for another of Andrew Thornton's challenges.  Some of these try to sign up for as many of these as I can because they well...challenge...me.  When this one first came out, I thought that I would definitely be pushed.  I mean I love tourmaline but I am so not a pink girl and just look at what I would have to work with.  A lot of pink.



But when I started working with this kit a magical thing happened.   This kit was based around the thought of the Sidhe and their majestic processions between into our world.  In my mind, that is all about grace and power.  Far beyond me to portray but what about all the flowers and beauty they rode through.  Now that I can do.



Now warning, the rest of this post is going to be picture heavy.



I took some of the gorgeous beads from the kit I received...



Planted them with some charms...



And Czech glass...



And came up with a beautiful bouquet of earrings.



All of which will be donated to Ears To You.



Now that's not all.  This kit had this gorgeous vintage Lucite blossom that just demanded to be part of this collection.  To large to be part of a pair of earrings (besides there was only one), it became a focal of a necklace.



Along with some waxed linen that was part of the kit, some English cut Czech glass, some vintage Czech glass and some pewter chain.  This necklace is adjustable from 24 to 29 inches and will be up for sale when I get a chance to add it.  If interested, I am more then willing to set it aside for you.  Just let me know.

Now this is a challenge and nineteen other designers joined in.  Be sure to check out where everyone else went with their pieces.


Jun 17, 2015

Review: Wake to Darkness




Rachel de Luca's uncanny sense of perception is the key to her success as a self-help celebrity. Even before she regained her sight, she had a gift for seeing people's most carefully hidden secrets. But the secret she shares with Detective Mason Brown is one she has promised to keep. As for Mason, he sees Rachel more clearly than she'd like to admit...

After a single night of adrenaline-fueled passion, they have agreed to keep their distance—until a string of murders brings them together again. Mason thinks that he can protect everyone he loves, including Rachel, by taking them to a winter hideaway, but danger follows them up the mountain.

As guests disappear from the snowbound resort, the race to find the murderer intensifies. Rachel knows she's a target. Will acknowledging her feelings for Mason destroy her...or save them both and stop a killer?


* * * * *

I love it when I run across an author that I have really enjoyed in the past and well have forgotten about.  Ms. Shayne is one such author.  I first discovered her in the paranormal romance genre but after reading WAKE TO DARKNESS, I think that she has found her calling.

This was an incredible book that I just couldn't put down.  Rachel is a self help author who doesn't believe a word she writes and Mason is definitely a tall, dark and handsome hero who has his hands full trying to protect everyone.  There is a lot of heat between them but this book never cross the line into the erotic.

All the the characters are just so real.   I also fell in love with Rachel's niece Misty who is so wise for her age and her blind bulldog Myrtle. Of course, I am a sucker for books that have animals.

Also with the fantastic characters, Ms. Shayne does a wonderful job with the build up of tension and the false trails that she lays for her readers.  There are so many twist and turns that I wasn't able to figure out just who the real villain was before the great reveal.

I do recommend WAKE TO DARKNESS for any of my readers who enjoy a romantic suspense that will keep them on the edge of their seats.  It is great for all ages though some of the scenes might be a bit violent for younger readers.
Jun 16, 2015

Book Review: Spectrum




New York City: home to world-renowned museums, theater, restaurants, iconic sports franchises. Central Park. Wall Street. And an infamous serial killer who's terrorized the Big Apple for decades.The year is 1995 and the NYPD has just graduated a promising new patrol officer named Karen Vail. The rookie's first day on the job is anything but easy when she finds herself at the crime scene of a young woman murdered in an unusual manner. Vail is unsure of what she's looking at or what it means--but it's a case that will weigh on her mind for nearly twenty years.As the years pass, Vail's career takes unexpected twists and turns--as does the case that's come to be known as Hades. Now a skilled FBI profiler, will Vail be in a better position to catch the killer? Or will Hades prove to be Karen Vail's hell on earth?

* * * * *

As you can probably tell, I have been doing a lot more reading lately so I have a lot more reviews to share with everyone.  And boy have I been reading in varied genres and have been reading some good ones.

SPECTRUM, which is the sixth book in the Karen Vail universe, is one of the good ones.  It is almost a prequel since it relates to the first case she caught back  in her rookie days with the NTPD.  Notice that I said almost?  It jumps back and forth in time with just enough info about what is happening at various points in her life that I am really intrigued by this universe and will have to check out the other five books.  

This book is really hard to classify in a genre because I would call it suspense or even a thriller though there are very few edge of the seat  moments since a lot of it occurs in the past.  It's more a puzzle where you are given all the pieces and you get to try to put them together before the conclusion (which does have some tense moments).  Even so I was caught up in the case shown from both Karen's point of view and overviews of possible suspects lives.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a wonderful introduction to this world and to Karen Vail.  I think that my readers who enjoy police procedurals and suspense will find it satisfying.
Jun 12, 2015

Ramblings




  • This week didn't start out the best. I had a potluck to attend with the ladies in my Red Hatters chapter and my car decided to act up at Safeway. It finally decided to start after forty five minutes but I didn't want to risk getting stranded. 
  • Instead I spent time in my studio and made a few necklaces for my new collection. I posted a pic of one on Facebook and it sold almost immediately. Yeah that was a bright spot. 
  • I tried to fix my car and found out it wasn't what I thought. I have some kind of random short somewhere where it won't start. Won't even engage the starter. And it is totally random. 
  • Got a notice from my homeowners insurance that they are canceling my policy because I have moss in my roof. I live in Washington.  Moss is everywhere. They want me to get a new roof. What irritates me is that I went with a more expensive policy simply because I couldn't afford a new roof. 
  • Looks like I need to go out and get a new car. I didn't want a car payment but I am not going to sink a lot of money in a thirteen year old car. 
  • I received a beautiful pair of earrings from my swap partner and some more earring beads from another. I am really enjoying Swap-Bot. 
  • I love how something good always happens just as I am about to throw up my hands and scream.  The Universe really does try to keep things balanced. 

  • I went out to get a new car since mine is getting so unreliable and found out that according to my credit report, I have two home loans.  It pulled my credit score down so I ended having to finance at a higher rate then expected.  I did get my new car though.  And it's a hybrid so I shouldn't have to put gas in but every six months as little as I drive.
  • I talked to another insurance company about getting a home owner's policy and I am going to climb on the roof to see about ridding myself of the moss before they come inspect it.

Jun 11, 2015

Art Bead Scene June Monthly Challenge


Feuilles, 1928
By Seraphine Louis
Pigments on Canvas

The picture chosen for the monthly challenge immediately caught my eye.  All those orange and pinks as well as the leaf shapes.  It really is a feast for the eyes.



I had ordered some brass leaves in a destash and as soon as they arrived, I just knew that I was going to use those.  The next thing to do was to find an art bead or beads that would fit the color scheme.  As I was digging, a ring I had picked up from JKD Studio caught my eye.  It blended both the pink and orange in wonderful swirls of polymer clay.



I added some Czech glass beads, some chain and wire wrapped it all together.  I have to admit that it came together easier then I thought when I first saw that glorious painting.  All it took was that one ring to pull it all together.
Jun 9, 2015

Book Review: Under Her Clothes




When Colby St. James dresses like a man to prove she can succeed in the male-dominated world of professional cooking, she never expects to fall for the handsome chef who will decide her fate. They agree that nothing that happens after hours will affect Colby's chances in the competition and begin a secret affair. It’s been years since Dominic Fevre felt a sexual attraction toward another man. He thought he’d put that stage of his life behind him when he focused everything on his career. But something about Colby St. James makes him want to break all his own rules...

* * * * *

If you tend to avoid novellas because a of a lack of character depth, you will want to read UNDER HER CLOTHES.  I was surprised at how much character development Ms. Edwards was able to portray in a shorter book.  Both Colby and Dominic have to face their demons before they ever have a chance of a future.

This book is also sizzling.  There is so much chemistry between them that is just jumps off the pages.  And yes there are some sex scenes but they contribute to the overall plot rather then seeming gratuitous.  Add in some great dialogue and interesting secondary characters (though not a lot of character growth there) to make for a great recipe for a delightful book.  

I very much enjoyed UNDER HER CLOTHES.  It was a quick read that is easily finished before bed, or even in bed.  I am going to have to search out the rest of Ms. Edwards' backlist.
Jun 7, 2015

Book Review: House of Echoes




In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family's dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it's just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven's chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn't the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village's haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

* * * * *

Starting out from Ben's point of view,  HOUSE OF ECHOES starts out as he is hopeful that restoring the old house will give his family the fresh start they need.  He has his worries since they are dealing with Caroline's mental issues and he needs to finish his latest novel.  Gradually, other stresses are added to the mix as not all is as it seems. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book but it did have its issues.  The tension seemed to ebb and flow as the author switched view points.   I also had issues with the ending.  Rather then finishing on a climatic high note, the author kept writing and it finished with a squeak.

I grew up reading Gothics and after reading HOUSE OF ECHOES, I have to wonder why I ever wandered away from the genre.  I really enjoyed the slow build up of tension, the little clues that are spread throughout the story and the answer that seems to come from left field until you ponder all those clues that had already been dismissed. I will be looking for future releases from Mr. Duffy as I do like his voice and hope it will become more focused.
 
Jun 5, 2015

Ramblings




  • Well I spent the weekend binge watching Outlander.  I guess that it doesn't make for quick as good of an ending scene if Jamie is getting sea sick.
  • While watching, I managed to get a couple pieces of jewelry completed for my From The Sea collection.  I need to get get fifteen done by July 5th with all the pics taken and descriptions written up.  The pic above is of the start of one of the bracelets.  I love mixing lampwork and cultured sea glass.
  • I need to stop buying beads so I can save up to get some bigger stuff around the house.  No big tragedy since I have a lot purchased already.  Now it's time to sell some so that I can buy more.  Yeah novel concept.  My jewelry business needs to support itself.
  • We have a younger woman living here trying to get herself back on her feet.  Well it seems to me that she is actually backsliding rather then taking advantage of the space and time we have given her.  I really hate laying down the law but I think that I am going to have to.  Otherwise, we will have room that we can rent out.  Hey bead money!

Jun 1, 2015

New Earring Monday: Weeks 23 & 24



Most of the earrings that I have been able to make the last couple weeks have been for challenges so they will make their appearances at the proper times.   However I have recently joined Swap-bot and one of the swaps that I joined was to make and send a pair of handmade earrings. 

Well I was an overachiever and actually made two pairs to send out.  This first one is made with patinaed brass, aquamarine rounds and copper findings. 



My partner had told me that she loved colors.  I recently picked up these glass beads from a destash and thought how they would really fit the bill.  It also includes brass filigree and findings.




Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.