Mar 30, 2016

Ramblings



  • One thing that I have noticed as I have gotten older is how my emotions have really mellowed out.  I used to be so dramatic and swung from being of the top of the world to being in the deepest despair.  Now I am on a much more even keel.  It has even gotten to where I dislike the things that are designed to pump me up such as sales rallies.  Now when I have to attend one, the main emotion I feel is annoyance because they tent to be so loud and well they hurt because of that noise.  I have had to give up a lot that I enjoy due to noise such as good music, concerts and festivals so why can't I give up the sales rallies?
  • There are some days where I just want to hide in bed such as Friday.  Within 15 minutes of waking up, I managed to break both a tea mug and my e-vaper.  What else could go wrong?  Well I am glad that I didn't follow my instincts and hide away for the day as it actually ended up being a really good day at work as far as sales go.  And I need as many of those as I can get so that I can keep on top of the many bills.
  • Found out that I will be able to get the iPhone SE with nothing out of pocket even though I want the 64GB version.  And my cell phone bill will even drop a bit.  Can't beat that deal.
  • I really love the warmer weather but I hate having to deal with the lawn.  I am definitely not a good green witch.  I just wish that I could afford to have a lawn person but the one guy I talked too wanted $200 a month and I have a rather small yard.
Mar 29, 2016

Book Review: All the Pretty Faces




Josie DuKane is on shaky ground. Having narrowly escaped the notorious Bride Killer, she penned a tell-all memoir that dug up a town’s dark past. Now the book is being made into a movie, and Josie must visit the very place that will trigger an avalanche of unwanted memories—Graveyard Falls. On the heels of her arrival, she receives a gruesome photograph of a dead woman with talon marks carved into her face. And worse, Josie just might be the next victim.

Torn between guilt, justice, and revenge, Special Agent Dane Hamrick will do anything to find the man who brutally murdered his sister. When he realizes the recent tragedies in Graveyard Falls bear an uncanny resemblance to her death, he volunteers to spearhead the investigation. But doing so means teaming up with Josie.

Nothing prepares him for the feelings the beautiful, tough woman evokes. As the body count rises and the suspect pool widens, Josie and Dane must put aside their growing attraction to run down the killer who devastated both their lives.

A killer who seems determined to destroy all the pretty faces.…


* * * * *

I really enjoyed revisiting the town of Graveyard Falls.  It's a couple years since Josie escaped the Bride Killer and her way of processing the events was to write a book.  She is now back in Graveyard Falls, staying at her grandfather's house, to supervise the filming of the book into a movie.  Unfortunately a lot of the townsfolk are not too happy about the movie and there is another killer on the move.

Josie is a very strong and caring woman who refuses to allow the terror of her past experiences define her future.  Ms. Herron did a wonderful job of portraying Josie with all of her strengths and weaknesses.  I was equally impressed by the character of Dane who has so totally immersed himself in his self appointed task of finding his sister's murderer that it blinds him to other happenings.  

ALL THE PRETTY FACES is loaded with suspense, terror, friendship and love.  The reader never knows just what is going to come at them on the next page and I was totally surprised when the villain was revealed.  I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense and those that have been following the saga of Graveyard Falls. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Mar 28, 2016

Art Bead Scene March Challenge


"Still Life with Pussy Willows"
By Taisia K. Afonina
1964, Oil on canvas
80 cm × 60 cm (32 in × 24 in)

One of my goals for this year was to participate in more of the Art Bead Scene's Monthly Challenges.  I really enjoy these as ABS will put up a painting as inspiration and invite all that are interested in designing a piece of a jewelry. 



I found this painting to be loaded with inspiration but actually only found the time to make one necklace.  What really spoke to me was the fact that it was a set up for a tea party.  And the color of those beautiful flowers.

http://shaihadesigns.storenvy.com/products/16313727-orchid-tea-party-necklace


I love tea parties which only makes sense when you consider just how much of a tea addict I am.  Now when I go out to a tea party, I love to wear a pretty dress and pearls.  The setting, the gorgeous tea-ware and tea sandwiches take me back to an earlier time.



The lovely beads that I used are hand painted wooden beads by Sandra Walton of Hand Painted Art.  She has some truly lovely beads in her store and they are wonderfully lightweight because they are wooden.  Be sure to check them out.  I also added some beautiful amethyst saucers and top quality glass pearls.  This necklace is currently available at Shaiha Designs.
Mar 27, 2016

Book Review: Escape the Night




Peter Carey was born into privilege during the McCarthy era, when the paranoia of Washington infected his parents’ house and seeped into Peter’s bones. His father was so obsessed with the family publishing business that he never had time for his son. Even as a teenager, Peter barely knew his father—and one dark night, an accident on a lonely road ensured he never would.

Peter’s memories of that horrific night have been erased by amnesia, but decades later he is still tortured by nightmares. When a strange conspiracy threatens to steal his company and take his life, he will have to remember . . . and find the key to survival that is locked in his own mind.


* * * * *

I really hate it when the blurbs that are written about a book at totally wrong.  Peter was the center of his father's world up until the car accident when he was six years old.  Peter was in the car but is unable to remember the crash or anything that day.  This loss of memory is effecting his current life and if he can't recover it, it will effect his company, the woman he loves and his life.

I found ESCAPE THE NIGHT to be one of those page turners that I just couldn't put aside.  It is very tightly written with the tension building up slowly page by page.  There was only one thing that threw me out of the story briefly and that was when the woman who Peter is seeing has a name change.  She started out as Ciano and then became Noelle Ciano. 

Peter is a great character.  Very intelligent and caring young man who is afraid to love since he lost his father in an accident that he can't even remember.  All he has left is a reoccurring nightmare which he has just been living with but he isn't willing to force Noelle to live with him waking up screaming. 

Incredible story that will have you on pins and needles to the very end.  I highly recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy suspense.

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

Mar 25, 2016

Senior Pets



I have really been blowing it on my goal to post more this year so I decided that I had better get on the ball.  So get ready to see some more posts about my life, my jewelry and of course books.

As anyone that knows me can tell you, I tend to prefer animals over people for the most part.  My dream when I was a kid was to be a veterinarian.  Didn't quite work out that way but I do share my life and my home with quite the menagerie.  Five dogs and three cats to be exact.  And they all seem to be getting old at the same time.



I had quite the scare last week.  Kharma, my Pomeranian devil, had a swelling in his eye and face.  Now he is sixteen years old and is blind, deaf and senile so if surgery was going to be involved, I wouldn't put him through that.   Thank the Goddess that it is just an infection that I am able to treat with antibiotics.  I know that I am going to have to say goodbye to him soon but he is still enjoying his life.

This is the first time that I have had the joy of sharing my life with a senior pet and I have to say that it is the best.  Yeah there are accidents because of the senility but all of my dogs have become so much sweeter with age.



Rusty is another senior dog that I have though I am not quite sure just how old he is.  He came from the Humane Society all scared and shivering.  He only has two teeth and has random seizures but other then that he is very healthy.  Or at least he has been though he has acquired a cyst on his neck and went to see if vet on Wednesday.   But even that was only a fatty cyst so his record of good health continues.  He's got a bit of a temper if the other dogs try to push him around but is a total sweetheart otherwise.



My seniors come in all sizes and colors.  BeiJing is my honey girl and is a Korean Jindo.  She is going on thirteen and still plays with the junior member of my pack Pooka.  I highly recommend this breed.  They are loyal and so very healthy.  She is starting to slow down just a bit but has no health issues at all.



My last senior funbaby is Bella Boo.  She is my special girl and is also going on thirteen.  She has been really healthy her entire life and has really brightened my days.  She is the one that will tear me in half when it is time to let her go.

Even though I know that the time is drawing nearer to saying goodbye to these special dogs, I don't regret any of the time that I have spent with them.  Their love and their cuddles always bring a sense of peace to me as well as a smile.
Mar 23, 2016

Ramblings



  • There is just something rotten when turning over in bed causes me to pull a muscle in the shoulder.  I hate getting older.  I have been having issues with it since Monday.  And it is just so wrong.  If I am going to get injured in bed and be feeling it for days then I had better enjoyed wounding myself.

  • I swear that I just get one dog fixed or semi-fixed at the vet when another needs to go in.  Rusty has a lump on his neck that we are worried about so he gets to go see the doctor at a rather early hour of the morning.
  • Why is it that I will get out of bed earlier for my critters then I will for myself?  Of course, I make sure that they have premium food, see the dentist and all those other things that I am not too concerned about myself.
  •  I am keeping up pretty well in the Year of Jewelry Project as far as the making of the pieces but taking the pictures...well I got caught up finally and uploaded the pics.  I am a quarter of the way through the year.  Much better then the last time I tried to join in.  I don't really think that my style really fits as most of the group does a lot of fancy wirewrapping but I am still enjoying the challenge and that is the important thing.  
Amber Gold Necklace

  • I am starting to push to advertise Shaiha Designs more.  I put up one of my designs on Instagram and someone replied that they liked it.  So I put up the link where it is for sale.  I am good at pushing for sales for other people just not so much for myself.
  • A friend is hosting a full moon rit tonight.  I am really looking forward to attending since  the community really seemed to splinter since TERRA disbanded.  Or perhaps I just don't see anyone as much as I have pretty much become a recluse.  I connect with people over the phone at work and online for myself and that's about it.  I have never been a social butterfly as I like animals more then most people I have met but I am becoming down right introverted.  
  • Still on a television kick.  Or more properly, an iPad and Netflix kick.  The remotes for the TV flat out confuse me.  I think that I have watched more video programing so far this year then in the last five combined.  Right now I am hooked on Charmed.  I first heard about half way through its run so I never saw the early episodes.  They are good brain candy.
Mar 21, 2016

Book Review: Captivating the Witch





Everything Witch makes him wary.

Everything Demon captivates her.

Edamite Thrash is a big, bad, sexy demon overlord with a personal grudge against witches. When fate and a wild, undeniable attraction bind him to Tamatha Bellerose, he must learn how to work as a team to stop a campaign of violence against his kind. But not succumbing to her sensual spell proves infinitely more difficult.

Tamatha is enchanted by all things demon, especially the potent demon boss and his dark past. Now, with evil and a centuries-old curse surrounding them, Tamatha's only hope is that love--and her unpredictable magic--will be strong enough to save them...


* * * * *

I found this to be a really fun read.  I know that there are dark elements such as demons being killed and the curse on Tamatha's family but I just couldn't take them very seriously. CAPTIVATING THE WITCH falls firmly into a category that I call brain candy.  

Tamatha is a spell nerd.  She works in the Archive which gives her access to everything paranormal that you could dream of except for a real live demon to talk too.  That is until she runs into Edamite or Ed.  And she literally runs into him and discovers that a spell that she had read about really works.  

Ed is a demon who heads an organization determined to keep the peace in Paris.  Sure some people call it the Mafia but he is just trying to take care of all the demons.  And he has had really bad luck with witches.  So why is he attracted to Tamatha?  He just can't seem to stop kissing her.

Like I said, this is a really fun book and I do recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy a lighter paranormal romance.  It's impossible not to like Ed regardless of his species.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Mar 19, 2016

Book Review: MIssing Pieces




Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.


* * * * *

Just how well do you really know your husband?  Sarah would have said that she knew Jack pretty well since they had been married for years.  True she hadn't been to his hometown but she had talked to his family as well as meeting some of them.  But what she finds when they go to Penny Gate after his aunt's accident has all of her investigative reporter instincts flaring to life.

Wow!  What an incredible book.  Very well paced with the tension ratcheting up slowly until it builds up to a crescendo at the end. Great characters set in a location that will remind you of any small town USA.  MISSING PIECES had me guessing as to just who the villain was until the very end.

I do highly recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy a good suspense.  It will have you jumping at strange noises and wondering just how well you know the people around you.

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

Mar 16, 2016

Ramblings



  • I am so sorry that I totally spaced out last week.  I have been battling the flu and haven't been having a lot of fun there.  All energy I have had has gone into working.
  • Since I haven't been doing a lot while trying to feel better, I have been watching OnDemand.  I have to admit that I love being able to watch some shows when I feel like it and I actually felt guilty that I don't do it more often since you could call it part of my job description.
  • One thing really stood out for me.  While I was watching X-files, all of the actors on the commercials were Caucasian but strangely enough, the same wasn't true while I was watching Rosewood where there is a black star.  Why do the advertisers feel the need to change based on the color of the actor?  That bothers me because we are all people and would have the pretty much the same needs when it comes to funeral care.
  • Kharma, my Pomeranian devil, isn't doing his best.  His eye is becoming increasingly red and his snout is swollen,  I have to call to get him a vet appointment and it might be time to tell him goodbye.  Just thinking about it is hard as he has been a part of our lives for almost 16 years.  He was such a fierce little dog when he was younger and grew into quite the sweet elderly gentleman.  Just the thought of losing him is enough to bring tears to my eyes.
  • Good news!  I have been stressing taking Kharma to the vet all weekend and he's fine.  He has a gum infection and just needed antibiotics.  
  • Egads.  I traded days with a guy at work so here I am working on a Tuesday.  I swear that my brain isn't with this trade.  Just doesn't want to come alert.. And thank goodness for spell checker.
Mar 15, 2016

Book Review: Novice Master




Evan Claver gives Ellis Barlowe his last chance at redemption, seeking him out as his mentor, or ‘novice master’: As a na├»ve college freshman boarding at the history professor’s house, he unravels Barlowe’s secret past as a saint, decades spent as a devout monk ministering to the sick and dying at a monastery hospice before renouncing his faith and rejoining the world. Yet Barlowe runs his household like the abbey he left behind, treating his boarder-student like one of his lowly novices, endeavoring to teach him about the realities of life, a role-play complicated by their mutual passion for the same woman. As their roles blur and finally dissolve, the men form a crucial bond which ultimately changes the course of both their lives.

* * * * *

NOVICE MASTER has to be one of the more interesting coming of age stories that I have had the pleasure of reading.  It shows both a young man accepting that his idol can be only human while the idol learns to become more human.

Evan discovered Brother Theo while he was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor and he promised God that if he made it through that he would join a monastery and dedicate his life to God.  When  Evan leaves home and goes to Brother Theo's monastery however he discovers that it has been changed into a retreat.  He also discovers that Brother Theo has left the order.  Evan manages to track the ex Brother Theo down and he is now a college professor named Ellis Barlowe.  He decides to attend that college and starts his journey towards adulthood. 

I really enjoyed the story but there were some instances that really had me scratching my head.  Evan has graduated from a public high school yet he is extremely naive about sex.  To the point that it is almost unbelievable.  What red blooded teenage hasn't heard about oral sex?  Other then this curiosity, I found NOVICE MASTER to be well written and I would recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy coming of age stories.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Mar 7, 2016

Book Review: These Vicious Masks





England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.


* * * * *

I just love Victorian England with all of its strict rules for Society.  And heaven forbid if you are a just a touch different.  Well Evelyn is more then just a touch different and she doesn't find out just how much until her sister Rose is kidnapped.  On her quest, she will discover yet more people that just don't fit the mold.

I was all set to really love this book as the premise is just so promising.  Instead I found that while I really liked some of the characters for the most part, I found the book to be rather boring.   There is a lot of action but it really reminded me of a comedy of errors.  And with the exception of Evelyn, I don't really feel as I have gotten to know any of the other characters that played such an important part in this book.  

While some of my readers might enjoy THESE VICIOUS MASKS, I don't feel that I can really recommend it.  We all enjoy different flavors though so if you think you might be interested, give it a try.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Mar 5, 2016

Book Review: Known



After a brutal snowstorm in the Cascade Mountains, Chris Jacobs discovers two things he never expected to see: the charred shell of a cabin, and Gianna Trask and her sixteen-year-old daughter huddled in an SUV, having barely escaped from their burning vacation rental.

Still scarred from a childhood ordeal, Chris knows there’s something sinister about the scene—it’s the stench of burned flesh.

Forced to wait out the blizzard in their rescuer’s retreat, medical examiner Gianna Trask wonders if her hidden past has finally caught up with her. When a body is found in the destroyed cabin’s ashes and a forest ranger is brutally murdered, both Gianna and Chris must confront their secrets if they want to escape the violent threat lurking outside.

In the fifth book in the Bone Secrets series, Kendra Elliot leads readers on a dangerous, twisting journey of two lives forever changed by a fiery snowstorm in the mountains.


* * * * *

It's not often that I am surprised when reading a romantic suspense but Ms.  Elliot definitely threw me some curve balls.  I very much enjoyed trying to figure out just how all the pieces fit together.

And I can't rave enough about the characters.  Chris has been wounded by his past horrors but he had been taking steps to move beyond them.  It has made his hyper vigilant which is just what Gianna and her daughter need to escape from the snowy Cascades.  

I just love Gianna and her practical view on life.  She's a single mother who has raised a wonderful daughter.  They both have a strong practical side mixed with a side of whimsy.  She recognizes almost immediately the prize she has in Chris once he takes her and her daughter under his wing.

I highly recommend KNOWN to my readers who enjoy a rocking romantic suspense.  It has just the right mix of tension and humor to keep the reader entranced.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Mar 2, 2016

Ramblings

To enter the contest for delicious Swiss Chocolate, click here.



  • I am so sorry that my Ramblings last week was so sparse.  It was my first week on my new schedule at work and well it snuck up on me.  I think that I am going to like this new schedule and I love my new supervisor so all looks good at that end of life.
  • I am going to have to get my routines down for the new schedule but it seems as though I have so much more time as I am not being crowded when I go out to do my shopping as everyone else is at work.

  • Oh and yes.  I am still keeping up with my Year of Jewelry Project.  I haven't exactly been following the theme as they are all for different gemstones and I am trying to stock back up Shaiha Designs with affordable handmade jewelry.  
  • I am not happy with the online boutique that I sell my artisan jewelry through because the owner decided to revamp the website in the middle of January and it still isn't back up.  Really annoyed that it was down during the Valentine's Day selling period.
  • It looks like the meds that my doctor gave me to help with the anxiety are working well.  I was worried that they would cause me to gain weight and that hasn't even happened.  Now if only I could find something to give me back my energy.  
  • I started getting some strange packages from my mother that held things like books which make sense since I love to read and pasta which was confusing.  I had talked to her over the holidays and she sounded fine but it was starting to worry me.  Finally talked to her and apparently she was doing some secret shops of the Post Office.  Still pasta?  
  • It is starting to look a lot like spring here.  Been some really nice days where I have been able to open up the house to air it out and let the dogs have the freedom of the backyard.  Might have to start mowing the lawn early though.

Mar 1, 2016

Book Review: First Touch





When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven't spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what's more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.

Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she's drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she's forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?


* * * * *

When I chose FIRST TOUCH to review, I ended up getting more then I expected.  This book has a lot of sex and the darker sides of sex to boot.   In some ways, it overshadowed the plot, in others, it was the plot itself as Emily has had issues with knowing her limits when it comes to saying no.  

It is dark, gritty and full of angst as  Emily learns to accept both her strengths and her weaknesses in her seatch to find her friend Amber.  She quickly discovers that Reeve who is her number one suspect might just be the man that she has been searching for her entire life.  But first she has to discover if he injured Amber or even if he can be trusted.

I did enjoy FIRST TOUCH but I wouldn't recommend it to my general reader as does cover darker aspects of one's sexuality.  It brings up the sex trade and hard drugs also so not for younger readers.  

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