Nov 27, 2015

Book Review: Shadow Wolf



He wanted justice. For his family. For her. 

Elite tracker Kino Cosen is hunting for the drug lord who murdered his father. After a decade of searching, he's finally got the Viper in his sight—until a woman gets in the way. Now Kino has a new lead. Aid worker Lea Atlaha has seen the Viper face-to-face…and lived.

But now Lea's a target. And while Kino thinks he's protecting her because she can help him get justice for his father, he soon realizes that she's not just another witness. As the Viper moves in for the kill, Kino has to choose between his need for vengeance, the traditions of his tribe and the woman he has grown to love.



I really enjoy reading a tight, suspense filled romantic thriller.  They satisfy that need in myself to prove that love really goes conquer all.  But they have to be well written because content errors will pull me out the story quicker then a bucket of cold water.

* * * * *

Unfortunately, I found errors in SHADOW WOLF.  When someone breaks a door down, I have to wonder just how they are able to dead bolt it five minutes later without fixing the frame.  Or why there are a few sentences that contradict themselves all in the same paragraph.  So love might conquer all but errors in the story line.

I really can't recommend this book to my readers because it was a struggle to finish it.  As soon as I would start to get back into the story,  I would thrown back out of the story.  It does looks like it would be a good book but it really needs to be reworked. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Nov 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

English: Turkey dinner
English: Turkey dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I know that most people Thanksgiving is a day to spend with your family enjoying a huge meal and time spent catching up with each other's lives.  Neither myself or my husband have any family close by that we associate with so it tends to be a day to relax and recharge our batteries. 

Now just so you don't think that we are turkey deprived,  I wanted to let you know that our monthly potluck in November is a huge turkey dinner where I do up the turkey and my chosen family & friends bring the side dishes.  Much less stress then trying to do the whole dinner ourselves.  And since I don't have to worry about cooking on Thanksgiving itself, I have time today to actually reflect on what I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my husband Saje Williams.  We have had our rough times but I have always known that you have my back.  I love you enough to marry you several times over.
  • I am thankful for my friends.  I tend to be a loner but my friends have become my chosen family and always there to help celebrate my wins and my sorrows.
  • I am thankful for my home which shelters myself, my husband and my menagerie.  I managed to purchase this home through the help of a good friend who I will always treasure.
  • I am thankful for my job which allows me to work from home and to ensure that I have a roof over my head.  I have worked for the same company for almost fifteen years and for the most part, have been treated well there.
  • I am thankful for my cirtters who are always ready to cuddle and love me.
I hope that you are having a wonderful day with your friends and family.
Nov 25, 2015

Ramblings




  • We had our Thanksgiving potluck on Saturday.  My job was to provide a turkey and I had a great coupon for Whole Foods for a turkey at $.99 per pound.  I went to grab one and discovered that it was a free range turkey that had never been frozen.  I wasn't sure if there would be a difference in taste but the flavor and the moistness of this turkey blew my socks off.  I think that I will only be getting free range turkeys in the future.
  • I understand why all the candidate put signs up all over the place but I really feel that there should be stiff fines levied against the candidates personally if there are any signs left out after the elections.  I could see giving them two weeks to clean up the mess but why should us taxpayers have to pay for the public services picking up their litter.  Isn't that why there is such a large fine against littering?


  • I was lucky enough to be chosen by Blueberry Cove Beads to receive one of their monthly kits.  Just look at all the goodies that came with the kit (there are a few more but duplicates of what you can see).  My next mission is to create some jewelry with it.  Be sure to keep an out for the pieces.  I just love those wooden snowflake buttons.
  • I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 10.  If I absolutely hate it, I can always go back down to 7.
  • I think that my router is going out since my internet down in the office is only 5mbps which is really slow considering I should getting 150 mbps.  I know that being down a floor from the router will slow it down but it's an older router.
  •  Black tea with coconut sure makes a cold day seem warmer.  And I am not a huge fan of coconut but I have been loving it today.  I get mine through American Tea Room.  
  • Just found out that my supervisor is changing departments so I am getting a new supervisor.  Not a bad thing since the sup I am going to is one that I have been friends with for years.  He started out in the Sales department, went over to the Verizon team with me and then decided that he wanted to move up the ladder.   He has been with the company as long as I have so I won't feel as though I am training a new sup.
  • I am a bit worried about my Jindo.  BeiJing thinks that it is part of her job to come to work with me on the days that I work in my home office.  She's got her bed that she snoozes in and I enjoy her company.  So why am I worried?  My office is downstairs in the basement and her hips are starting to bother her.  And I can't see myself trying to carry a sixty pound dog down my steep stairs without killing both of us.  I think that it is getting close to time for her to retire but how to convince her without breaking her heart.
  • It's only taken a year and a half but Pooka, my wild child, will finally take treats from my fingers.  I have NO idea what was done to him before we adopted him but he has serious trust issues.
Nov 23, 2015

Gold Dust Special Challenge




I used to wear silver exclusively along with a primarily black wardrobe.  That all changed when I discovered that I look much better in gold and browns.   Now I work a lot with golds, brass and copper.



So how could I resist this special challenge that Andrew Thornton put out based around gold.  Just look at all the treasures that he put together for this challenge.  I was immediately drawn to the drop there in the upper right hand corner as well as the lavender gold vintage czech glass in kit.



I haven't knotted up any pearls in a long while but those Czech glass wheels just felt like they would be at home in such a ladylike necklace.



So I decided to listen and this necklace was born.  I also used the dainty gold clasp that Andrew sent as part of the kit.



Next up is a necklace that features that golden Lucite drop as well as the gold Czech glass crystals.  I haven't totally gotten away from wearing black so I decided to highlight all the richness with onyx beads.

Now there are thirty other designers that were able to work with this wonderful kit so be sure to stop by Andrew Thornton's blog, The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton, to see what they have designed.   It is always a delight to see where everyone ends up when we all start at the same place.

Favorite Dog Breeds



My dogs are getting older and I have started to ponder what breeds of dogs I really like.  Now I am really only considering larger dogs as I am planning on doing Final Refuge fostering for Old Dog Haven for the little guys but I do feel safer with a big one to protect the house and me.  Now let me say up front that regardless of their size, all of my dogs are part of my family and none of them are stuck in the back yard.

 Korean Jindo




This is my all around favorite breed.  They are very loyal and independent thinkers.  They also tend to be rather healthy as the AKC hasn't been messing with their breeding.  My current dog, BeiJing, is a Jindo who at twelve is as healthy as some six year olds I have seen.  They tend to be rather protective but because they aren't that common, they haven't been hit by breed bans or jacked up home owner rates.

Boxer 



Another breed that I have been considering is the Boxer.  They are a smart, fun loving dog.  They also have short hair which is a real plus for me.  My only concern about this breed is that they are rather high energy.  By the time I am done with work, I am often exhausted and my current dogs get their exercise by playing in my fenced yard.

Akita



I really tend to prefer the Asian breeds because they tend to think for themselves.  They are definitely not for everyone as they aren't the most obedient but they do tend to be really loyal and loving.  I would get an Akita in a hot second except for the fact that they have been targeted for breed bans and insane home owner's insurance rates.  

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 



Another incredible breed that has been discriminated against by insurance company and breed bans.  These dogs are patient, loyal and loving with their families yet are also very protective.  They can be absolute clowns and used to be trusted with babysitting the kids.

Rottweiler 



I think that I am seeing a pattern here.  The breeds I love tend to be the ones that can ruffle the feathers of people that don't love dogs.  They all tend to be dominant breeds that take an alpha personality to really make them shine such as the rottweiler.  These dogs are wonderful guard dogs that think they are huge lap dogs.  


Book Review: Soul and Blade



Being a mind runner isn’t easy, but catching criminals is all that matters to Jane Spears. Though her job may be gruesome, she’s not willing to stop just yet. And even as she admires the ring from her fiancĂ©, she has no intention of letting a wedding sidetrack her work—not when she’s about to delve into the darkest mind she’s ever encountered.

As she starts to explore the twisted ruins of a sociopath’s psyche, Jane realizes she may have finally met her match. She knew this case would be a challenge, but she didn’t expect to get caught in a mind-bending nightmare. Because this irredeemable murderer seems to know something about Jane that even she doesn’t—something unspeakable lurking in her past. Can she escape the killer’s derangement unscathed and ready to walk down the aisle?


* * * * *

SOUL AND BLADE is actually the third book in the Blood and Bone series but it is the first one that I have read.  I do have to the Ms. Brown kudos for giving me enough information on the happenings that I didn't feel lost yet not so much that I felt like I was undergoing info overload.  It's a fine balance to walk and she did a great job of it.

I can't call Jane Spears a nice person but I can understand her.  She believes in an eye for an eye and doesn't care what it does to her or what it takes to complete her missions.   She has the ability to slip into a criminal's mind to discover information that they would prefer not come out.  The only problem is that she comes out of it altered or tainted every time she does.  Perhaps because she doesn't really know herself very well.

I very much enjoyed reading SOUL AND BLADE and watching Jane grow as she learns more about herself and about love.  Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time setting it aside for silly little such as meals and working.  I am sure that my readers would also enjoy it as much but I do want to give a warning about the fact that it does contain a lot of violence as well as graphic sex.  It also deals with issues such as child pornography as well the black market trade in children.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 22, 2015

Book Review: The Lost Codex




In 930 CE, a revered group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from which other major religions will grow. But in 1953, half the manuscript goes missing while being transported from Syria. Around the same time, in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered—and promptly stolen. Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical extremists, threatening the lives of millions. With the American homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel. Their mission: Find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.


* * * * * 

I wasn't really sure just what I was getting into with this novel as I am not a member of one of the major religions effected by the documents mentioned in this book.  That might be a good thing though as I didn't have anything to prove or object too when I started the book.  

I actually picked up THE LOST CODEX because I have read a few books featuring Karen Vail and have very much enjoyed them.  She is an interesting character who has moved up from the NYCPD into being a profiler with the FBI.  In this book, Karen's career has taken another interesting leap where she is working with a whole alphabet of agencies trying to find the lost documents.   

This book was fast paced for the most part and intriguing.  I enjoyed learning more about Karen's associates Uzi and Hector as well as Karen herself.  I was also taken to several different locations such as Paris, Israel and Gaza.  If I had any criticism about the plot itself was how everything seemed to drag to a halt as they were dealing with the various official channel but I think that we have all experienced this.  

I find THE LOST CODEX to be a great addition to the Karen Vail saga and I recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy her story as I do.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 19, 2015

Book Review: Lev




From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman's club, he can't take his eyes off of her.
For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can't process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.

When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn't hers, she falls apart. She's tired, lonely and hasn't eaten in days.

Lev offers her an ultimatum... A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.

Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.


* * * * *

When I have a friend tell me that she has found a book that I just have to read, I take her seriously because she is usually right.  And in this case, this book is so good that I have to share it with everyone.  

The hero in this book is Lev Leokov.  It never comes out and states as such but I am sure that he has Aspergers or something else in the Autism Spectrum.  His brother and sister have taught him how to react to social cues but he is quiet and lonely.  Lev knows the definition for emotions but doesn't think that he feels them until he rescues Mina when she steals his brother's wallet.

Mina has been living on the streets for years but it has finally come to the point where she is ready to sell herself just to get some food so she can survive.  Instead, the opportunity to steal a wallet presents itself but she finds that she has been caught by Lev.  When he offers her the choice between jail or a job, Mina figures that she doesn't have anything to lose by taking the job.

As Mina gets to know Lev, she discovers that he is different but in a good way.  She quickly learns to trust him and begins to fall in love with him.  Watching their love grow is magical.

This is the first love story that I have had the opportunity to read where one of the main characters has the Autism Spectrum and I was entranced with the story.  My husband has a mild case of Aspergers so I can attest to how rewarding it can be to take the time to build up the trust and love.  I highly recommend Lev to any readers who enjoy a good love story that can get rather steamy as they connect.  I know that I plan on searching out this authors other books and dive in.
Nov 18, 2015

Ramblings



  • I know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is coming.  I am looking forward to it and have been trying to save up so I can take advantage of the sales.  So why oh why do all of my favorite artisans put up all these beautiful beads to tempt me?
  • My shoulder is really starting to act up.  I have been trying to stretch it out since I don't have the time to go to a physical therapist with my work hours.  I think the next step is surgery.  The good thing is that it isn't my right shoulder so if I need surgery, I can at least feed myself.
  • Found myself a new podcast that I have fallen in love with.  It's Edict Zero which is a science fiction audio drama series.  It's in the third season so I have quite a few episodes to catch up on.  In my mind this is a good thing as I hate to wait on the next episode of anything be it a book, a television series or a podcast.
  • I find it sad that we make a big deal out of holidays like Easter and MLK but Veteran's Day will slip by unnoticed.  Unless you work for a bank or the government, it's not a day that one expects to get off even.
  • I think that someone is telling me that I need to get back into shape.  I just won a bike through work.  Think I will be riding to the thrift stores this coming summer. 
  • I am so sad about the people that lost their lives in Paris.  I don't understand why people think that violence is the answer.  It just breeds more hate and pain.
  •  Getting some really nasty wind storms.  I am crossing my fingers that we don't lose power.  I could just imagine going to a hotel with my menagerie of dogs and cats.
  • I just spent 45 minutes working on fixing an order for service.  And it's not even one I will get paid for.  Why can't people just do the job right the first time.
  • Now is the time I should be filling up Shaiha Designs.  I have the jewelry ready to go but I can't seem to get the weather to cooperate.  If it is pretty enough for pics, I am at work and vice versa.

Nov 17, 2015

Book Review: Dead In Her Tracks





On Christmas morning, Solitude, Oregon, unwraps murder…
 
This wasn’t how Police Chief Zane Duncan expected to spend his first Christmas with fellow officer and girlfriend Stevie Taylor. But when a local motel calls in the discovery of a dead body, the couple’s holiday takes a grim turn. This is the second murder in Solitude within the week, despite the fact that their primary suspect is already in custody. Together, Zane and Stevie must face a disturbing truth—their small town may be harboring two killers.

As their investigation digs deep into the backgrounds of newcomers and longtime residents alike, Zane and Stevie also struggle to adjust to life under the same roof. Even if the stress of homicides and cohabitation don’t bring an end to the couple, the murderer lying in wait just might.

                                                                  * * * * *

DEAD IN HER TRACKS is the second novella set in Solitude Oregon.  This story focuses on another of the Taylor sisters and her boyfriend Zane.  I do have to say that the Taylor clan do lead interesting lives and the sisters tend to find strong men to compliment their strengths.

I rather enjoyed this novella as it was just long enough for me to feel that I have really gotten to know Stevie and Zane.  There is some tension as there is a killer running around loose in this small town but I found the story to be more about the two main characters and how they work together.   Carly and Bruce from the first book do make short appearances in DEAD IN HER TRACKS also.

As my readers know, I don't tend to read a lot of novellas as I feel they just don't have the time to fully flesh out the characters.  I didn't find that to be the case in this book and while it is part of the series, I feel that it would stand nicely on its own.  I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense and are looking for a quicker read.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Nov 15, 2015

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tower




In adversity lies strength beyond imagining.

Abandoned as a baby, young Emelyn’s life as a housemaid in the quiet village of Fallow is unremarkable—and empty. That is, until a host of magical creatures arrives and inflicts terrible misdeeds on the townsfolk. Inexplicably immune to their enchantments, Emelyn joins a pair of Magi intent on stopping the cause of the trouble—and who claim to know of her parents, promising Emelyn answers to a lifetime of questions.

But the answers Emelyn seeks prove to be more elusive than she hoped, and the world outside Fallow more perilous than she imagined. Magical creatures roam the land over, attacking yet another town before coming after Emelyn. The key to her survival—and finding her family—lies deep within her, if only she can conquer her doubts and believe she is more powerful than she ever dreamed.

In a journey that explores facing one’s fears amidst the uncertainties of an unknown world, The Thirteenth Tower is a magical tale of discovery, growth, and of love’s enduring strength. 


* * * * *

THE THIRTEEN TOWER  is a magical tale of growing up and discovering what one wonders a person is capable of.  From the very first page, I felt that I was truly in a different world compliments of Ms. Snider's marvelous world building.  

Emelyn was deserted as a baby and raised by the cook in the manor house as a servant.  It was a hard life but she never expected otherwise though she would have loved to have known who her parents were and why they deserted her.  Her life suddenly changes when the village of Fallow is attacked by magical creatures.  

Emelyn starts a journey with two Magi who claim to know who her parents are and a young man named Corran who isn't quite what he appears to be.  During this journey, Emelyn will meet new people both human and magical.  She will gain confidence in herself and discover gifts that she had never dreamed she might possess.

I have found that I really love Ms. Snider and her fantasy books.  THE THIRTEENTH TOWER is no exception.  I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages as it is sure to delight.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 13, 2015

Superstition Blog Hop




It has always amazed me how so many people are convinced that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day.  I have always found it to be particularly lucky.  Perhaps that is because everyone else is drawing the bad luck to themselves.



Anyways when one of my Facebook friends, Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard,  came up with the brilliant idea to have a hop on Friday the 13th featuring black cats, I was all for it.  After all my familiar is a black cat who happens to be rather camera shy.



Tammy sent all of the designers selected to participate a lovely polymer black cat focal.  I absolutely loved the way the black and silver shimmer together as a background for the cat.  (I do want to apologize for the pics.  It seems that the only pretty days perfect to take pics happen when I am at work and can't take advantage of them).



I wanted to play up those lovely shimmers and I came across a black stone in my stash that had glints of silver.  I wish I knew just what the stone is as I would love to get more but it happens to be one where the label fell off. 



I knotted the unknown stone beads together with waxed linen and a fun cat clasp.  I really like this necklace and am torn between giving it as a Yule gift to a friend that is as nuts about cats as I am or putting it up at Shaiha Designs. 

Now I am really looking forward to seeing what all the other designers made using this delightful focal. Be sure to check them out and show them some love also.


Tammy Adams (Hostess)
Renee Hong
Betony Maiden
Coral Law
Lee Koopman
Jeanette Belmont
Shai Williams
Beth McCord
Robin Lynne Showstack
Lori Blanchard
Deb Fortin
Michelle McCarthy
Maria Rosa Sharrow
Kim Dworak
Divya N
Karin Grosset Grange
Mowse Doyle
Rebecca White
Shawneen Fagnani
Catherine King
Brook Bock
Kari Asbury
Nan Smith
Carolyn Lawson
Linda Anderson
Ann Schroeder
Melissa Trudinger
Kathy Lindemer