May 22, 2017

Book Review: Firestorm





SCORCHED BY DESIRE

Dimitri lives to protect the secret of the Dragon Kings from the human race. Bound by a bond stronger than blood to the Kings, Dimitri uses his strength and prowess to defend a thousand-year-old secret. But when an oh-so-sexy, slightly absent-minded archaeologist wanders into his midst, Dimitri will have to give up his rules, and give in to desire...

When Dr. Faith Reynold stumbles upon an ancient skeleton that appears it comes from a dragon, she’s completely taken aback. A woman of science, there’s no way in her mind that this mythological creature can exist. But when a devilishly handsome man named Dimitri intercepts her path to uncovering the truth, Faith’s curiosity turns into all-consuming passion. She’s never felt this way about any man before. But when Dimitri reveals his biggest secret, can she learn to love the man—as well as the dragon within.


* * * * *

Wow!  It's been a while since I have stumbled across a paranormal romance with a story arc that spans several books.  Especially one that I so enjoyed that I have to go track down the back list for this series.

What really made this series for me is that I really liked the characters.  Even the villain is likeable, he just happens to have a different view on how humans should be treated.  I just loved Faith who was very much a woman of science but is willing to believe her own eyes even if it happens go against what science currently feels to be true.  

I would recommend FIRESTORM to any of my readers who enjoy dragons and paranormal romances.  Actually I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series but FIRESTORM does a wonderful job of standing on its own.  

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

Book Review: Falling Darkness




At the mercy of a treacherous sea...

Claire Britten's training never prepared her for this--the forensic psychology curriculum didn't cover plane crashes. Or how to help fellow survivors cope, seven frightened people huddled in two small rafts awaiting a rescue that may never come. Especially when three of them are your ex-husband, your young daughter--and the man you love, Nick Markwood, whose pursuit by a criminal mastermind forced you all to run in the first place.

When the bedraggled crew finally reaches dry land, they are still far from safe. Nick tries to secure transport to their witness-protection placement, urging everyone to stick to the identities laid out for them. They don't need any complications. But when danger follows them to their supposed safe haven, Claire and Nick no longer know who is helping or harming them. Racked by doubt and mistrust, still hunted, they must band together--or fall.


* * * * *

FALLING DARKNESS is the third book in the South Shores series but I have to admit that I was rather impressed by how well it stands on its own.   I had the opportunity to read the first book but somehow skipped over the second.  Even so, I didn't feel lost and immediately became engrossed in the book.

Ms. Harper has done a wonderful job with the characters.  They are all ones I found easy to emphasize with enough that I was holding my breath during some of the tense scenes.  I am especially impressed by Claire who is such a strong woman even with all of her rather unique medical issues.  I also feel bad for Jace, Claire's ex-husband, because what could be worse then being stuck with your ex-wife who you are still in love with and her new husband?

The plot also flows at a nice pace and will keep you turning the pages just to find out who did what.  The dialogue is witty and amusing in places. I also found the ending to be rather satisfying.  

I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy romantic suspense.  I do want to issue a warning though  that there is some violent scenes in this book so perhaps not appropriate  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.

May 13, 2017

Book Review: Watching You





A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda's socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn't convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman - even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.


* * * * *

I admit it.  Detective Kerri Blasci is one of my favorite heroines.  She's a homicide cop that has learned to pay attention to her instincts or her 'hunches'.  They might not play out to be completely accurate all of the time but they are often enough to save lives.

WATCHING YOU is actually the third book in this series following Detective Blasco. I was lucky enough to stumble across HER LAST BREATH and was immediately hooked.  This is one series that is definitely on my radar and should be on yours.

Ms. Schneider does a wonderful job of blending terror and suspense caused by this murders with the warmth and caring of Kerri, her boyfriend Alex and the people that she meets at the homeless shelter.  It's the perfect mix that will keep you glued to the screen, or pages as the case may be.  

I highly recommend WATCHING YOU to any of my readers who enjoy thrillers with kick ass heroines and surprising conclusions.  I do want to offer a gentle warning that there is some descriptions of graphic violence and there is an attempted rape,  There are no sex scenes however for the folks that worry about that.  

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

May 12, 2017

Book Review: Diadem of Death




Nefertari “Terry” Hughes is looking forward to spending the school break with her boyfriend, but when her archaeologist father announces he’s working on a project that will take him to Egypt, all hopes of having a romantic summer are buried.

Terry accompanies her father to Alexandria where she’s reunited with her first crush, Awad—all grown up and an expert in translating hieroglyphics. He confides that the team is in a race to find Cleopatra’s lost tomb before a secret band of rebels steals Egypt’s last Pharaoh and her diadem.

But sabotage and a deadly accident put everyone on high alert, and Terry isn’t sure whom to trust. As the line between ally and enemy begins to blur, Terry has to keep her wits about her and figure out who wants the diadem badly enough to kill.


* * * * *

I have fallen in love with Terry and her friends!  Terry might have increased speed and agility because of her asp but she hasn't forgotten that for her to improve herself, she needs to empower her friends.  Quite the lesson to learn while still a teenager.  I remember that when I was that age, it was all about me.  

I do have to say that my favorite character is one of the secondary ones.  Maude is smart and always has an upbeat attitude. She knows almost instinctively that they are stronger as a group then alone.  Her boyfriend Frasier is also a kick.  Zach didn't make as much of an appearance in this book as I would have liked though. I am hoping that he will have a stronger presence in the next one.  

DIADEM OF DEATH is fast paced, young adult thriller that will keep people of any age glued to the page.  It's set in Egypt so you have exotic locations but this book is more about friendship and trusting in your friends.

I do think that anyone who enjoys the young adult genre will love this book.  It is the second in the series so be sure to check out ASP of Ascension which is the start of this enjoyable series.   

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

 
May 10, 2017

Book Review: ASP of Ascension





Nefertari “Terry” Hughes has three rules for surviving high school:
#1 Don’t attract attention.
#2 Don’t get involved.
#3 Don’t make trouble.

A year after the accident that left her crippled and took her mother’s life, sixteen-year-old Terry just wants to keep her head down and survive her new high school. When she catches the eye of cute basketball star Zach—who happens to be the boyfriend of mean girl Allison—all hopes of flying under the radar are gone.

She is thrust even further in the spotlight when Fraser, the editor of the school newspaper, learns Mr. Hughes is the renowned archaeologist overseeing the new Egyptian display at the museum, which is rumoured to include Cleopatra’s sarcophagus. Fraser’s research leads to the fifty-year-old mystery of a girl who vanished while on a school trip to to the museum along with an artefact that may be Cleopatra’s asp.

When Mr. Hughes falls into a coma and his co-worker claims it’s the curse of Cleopatra, the stakes become too high for Terry to ignore. Terry must work with Fraser and her new candy loving friend Maude to find out what happened fifty years ago in hopes of saving her father before time runs out.

Rated T - Teen 13 and up: May contain violence, crude humour, suggestive themes and/or strong language.


* * * * * 

I am an adult who happens to enjoy the Young Adult genre.  It's refreshing to read a book that isn't overloaded with sex so instead it has to rely on a good plot.

The ASP OF ASCENSION reminds me in a way of my time in high school.  I wasn't dealing with disappearances and all that but I did change schools often and my rules were quite similar to Terry's. I enjoyed watching as Terry starts to work her way through the grief at the loss of her mother and begins to make friends.

The secondary characters are well portrayed and add much to the story from Maude's optimism to Fraser's cluelessness.   Some of their circumstances were worth a chuckle, other's made me rather annoyed at the cruelty of people.  

I would recommend  ASP OF ASCENSION to any reader who enjoys young adult and mysteries.  And it is rated T for a reason.  There are violent scenes along with some risque dialogue.  

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

 
May 9, 2017

Book Review: Kiss Marry Kill






He's been chasing a memory . . .
It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn't the man he used to be... but Megan isn't the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she's in trouble.

...but now they're on the run.
Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he'll do anything to protect what's his.

                                                                   * * * * * 

I think that what really grabbed my attention was the title of this book.  KISS MARRY KILL definitely sounds like it would be on a sociopath's check list for romance.  So of course, I had to read the book.

This is definitely a character driven romantic suspense complete with characters so detailed that they almost step off of the pages.  Megan seems to be the most well balanced of the bunch even though she is being stalked and she is a lead singer for a popular pop group.  Jax is the man that opened her eyes to possibilities years ago but the war messed him up.

I really enjoyed this book.  All the characters are ones that I would enjoy getting to know even better.  The plot was fast paced and kept me glued to the page.  The dialogue was quick, witty and down right amusing at times.

KISS MARRY KILL is a great book to introduce a new series Iron Clad Security.  I do recommend my readers who enjoy romantic suspense to pick up a copy and get to know these wonderful characters.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 8, 2017

Book Review: Gauntlet




Kali Ling isn’t afraid of dying. She’s been killed hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. And she knows there are things much more terrifying than death…

There’s a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world’s most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there’s a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move.

As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions.

If Kali’s Team Defiance is to survive, they’ll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters…


* * * * * 

I enjoy reading the occasional science fiction as long as it concentrates more on the people then the science itself.   And GAUNTLET does just that and wonderfully.

Kali really shook up the gaming industry when she brought out fact that industry feels that the gamers themselves are expendable.  Because of her revelations,  a new type of VR pod has been designed which is supposed to be safer for the gamer.  And there is a tournament to welcome the new pod.

GAUNTLET focuses on Kali but we also get the chance to really know her team as they work through the challenges thrown their way.  They all have hidden strengths and fears that are brought into the limelight during the tournament.

I really think that any of my readers who enjoy character driven sci-fi would love this book and in fact, this series.  There is a lot of violence within the game so be forewarned.

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


May 7, 2017

Review: For the love of Tea!





Now as everyone probably already knows, I am a tea addict.  I always have either a mug of hot tea or a tumbler of iced tea  at hand.  In fact, right now I am drinking a delightful Milk Oolong from Adagio Teas.

Recently I was asked to review some tea from Adagio Teas and I jumped at the chance since I have had a long on and off relationship with them.  They were actually the first online tea company that I found and boy was I in heaven then.  You see, previous to that my experience with tea consisted of Lipton and bagged English Breakfast teas.  Boy have we both come a long way since then.

Now warmer days are coming (I hope) and I had begun my quest for some tasty teas to keep iced.  Adagio Teas just happens to have a really nice variety of iced teas all the way from herbal to black to chai blends.  After pondering and reading about the different options I had, I decided to try a black and a chai blend.  Can't survive without the caffeine.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/mango_iced_tea.html


My first choice was a the black Mango Iced Tea.  And an excellent choice it was!  I tend to add a bit of sugar to my iced teas and this sweetness combined with the flavors of the mango made for a refreshing beverage.  The flavor of the tea leaves also comes shines through with a hint of a bit and a lingering dryness.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/mango_iced_tea.html


The tea bag itself is a thing of beauty.  Large enough to give the tea room to breathe and fine enough that I can see the tea and the mango slices.  No skimping there.



I have to say that I love this tea!  And I have the proof.  I have already refreshed my supply.  I was also generous enough to share this delightful tea with friends and everyone has really loved it.

http://www.adagio.com/iced/masala_chai_iced_tea.html


Now I adore chai tea but I hadn't tried an iced version that didn't require milk and come as a syrup so this was my chance.  I ordered the Masala Chai Iced Tea pouches.



Again an excellent choice.  The warming spices of cinnamon and cardamon come through strongly and are surprisingly refreshing iced.  The bite of the ginger lingers pleasantly on the tongue after each sip.  Delightful!

I also picked up the delicious Milk Oolong that I mentioned earlier but it was gone before I took a picture of it.  This makes up a wonderful mug of hot tea.  The flavor is delicate, slightly floral and  very creamy.  It has a smooth, almost buttery, mouth feel with a lingering sweet aftertaste.  This tea also had staying power.  I was able to resteep it three times before the flavor started to give out.

I really think that my affair with Adagio Teas back on again.  The quality of their teas have definitely improved since the last time we flirted so it might turn into a long term relationship.  I really want to check out  their Masters Teas and try out the Yunnan Golden Curls tea.

Seriously folks I would check out Adagio Teas.  They also offer some gorgeous teawares, samplers, gift packs and even let you design your own blends of tea.

In order to be transparent, I do want to disclose that Adagio Teas did send me a gift certificate to order some teas to sample.  This fact didn't influence my opinion in any way however.  I flat out enjoyed these teas and have already ordered more. 
May 5, 2017

Book Review: The Highland Duke




She'll put her life on the line for him . . .
When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name. 


Yet she can never learn his true identity.
Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .


* * * * *
 
When you are in the mood for historical romance, nothing scratches that itch quite like a Highlander in a kilt. And Geordie is definitely that.  Now if only I didn't have to read his thoughts on how gorgeous Akira is.  It's almost like he is stuck in a grove.  I mean there are so many times that I can read about the color of her eyes without wanting to throw the book across the room.
 
Akira is almost as bad but I did enjoy her character more. She's from tinker stock which means that almost everyone checks their belongings after she is invited in to save a life.   It has hardened her but being a healer, she cares a lot about others.  

The setting is gorgeous!  And Ms. Jarecki has a way of painting the scenery with her words.  I just wish that the pacing had moved along at a faster clip.  I did find it difficult to finish because my mind kept wandering away from the story.

THE HIGHLANDER DUKE was an okay read but not one that I would recommend to my readers.  It's too wordy and the pacing needed a shot of adrenaline.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 3, 2017

Book Review: Break Me




Just a few weeks ago, computer prodigy China Mack’s typical night in involved Endor Star Wars pajamas and a sensible bedtime. Now she’s dating gorgeous tech guru Jackson Cooper—one of Forbes’s Top Ten Eligible Billionaires—much to the Twitterverse’s delight.

Turns out, going from socially inept hermit to poster girl for geek chic has its challenges. China’s relationship gets even more complicated because her role heading the top-secret Vigilance program—where she’s partnered with Superman clone Clark Slattery—makes her a target. And when ruthless businessman Simon Lu plans to co-opt Vigilance software to blackmail government and military employees, he’ll need China’s cooperation—willing or otherwise.

But not every enemy is so easily identified. Some hide in plain sight, in very high places, and mistaking foe for friend could be the last mistake China ever makes…


* * * * *

I really like China Mack.  Her intelligence is off the scales but she has NO social skills.  Thank goodness that she has a good heart and is loyal to her friends, her boyfriend and her country.  

Her boyfriend Jackson is just as smart as she is but he has learned to play the game and has social skills.  I really enjoyed watching China frustrate him when he tries to take their relationship forward based on feelings while she didn't feel that they hadn't logically been dating long enough.  

There is a lot of action, some politics along with some comedy caused by China's not understanding social cues.  I do recommend BREAK ME to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense  with a touch of the quirky.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
May 1, 2017

Book Review: No Darker Place



Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie's painand her desire for vengeance. He's on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice. Will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she's forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.

* * * * *

I am very much on the fence about this book.  I ended up absolutely loving it but the first two chapters I was totally lost.  If I hadn't been reading it for a review, I would have given up at that point since one doesn't expect to be lost when you start reading the first book in a series.  I discovered at the end of the book that there was a prequel but I don't feel that those should be required reading before you start a series.

Once you get past the first two chapters, you are given a chance to really get to know and care about the characters. At that point, NO DARKER PLACE turned into a really good thriller.  Nick Shade fascinated me and I will definitely pick up more of the series. 

So when it comes down to it, I would recommend NO DARKER PLACE but be prepared for the first couple chapters to be a waste of time. It really does get better after that. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 
Apr 28, 2017

Book Review: The Night Mark




She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there's something worth dying for in the past…

From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away by the tides who awakens to find herself in 1921, reunited with the husband she's been mourning for four years. Fans of Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon will fall in love with the mystery, romance and beauty of an isolated South Carolina lighthouse, where a power greater than love works its magic.


* * * * *

Faye made a big mistake after her husband was killed by marrying his best friend.  She corrected that mistake is and starting to claw her way out of her depression by taking on a new photo commission.  She becomes fascinated by the derelict lighthouse on Bride Island but the last thing that she expects is to be pulled through time to meet the lighthouse keeper who is the image of her late husband. 

THE NIGHT MARK  has to be one of the better time travel romances that I have had the pleasure to read.  The characters are all to easy to relate too and the circumstances are ones that anyone who has lost a loved one would wish for.  Especially since the story is all too believable.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who believes in the power of love and how it can work in mysterious ways.  There is a couple sex scenes but nothing to graphic so this is a book that anyone can read and enjoy.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 27, 2017

Art Bead Scene's April Challenge

Matamoe or Landscape with Peacocks
Paul Gauguin
1892
Oil On Canvas

One of my goals for this year has been to complete and post every one of Art Bead Scene's monthly challenges.  I have been finishing these up later then I would like but so far I am on track with this goal.

This month's inspiration really spoke to me with all the glorious colors and well the peacocks.  I know that real peacocks can be obnoxious birds but they are so regal and gorgeous.  So I am sure that it is no surprise that I decided to concentrate on them for my piece.



I have been hoarding this glorious peacock bead from Sandra Walton of Painted By Hand.  Sandra takes wooden beads and paints them to come up with beautiful mini works of art.   They are lightweight and every bead is so unique.



I am still on a tassel kick so I added a tassel to the bottom of my peacock focal which made for a rather long focal indeed.  To support this length, I wirewrapped some druzy beads & gunmetal chain to add some pizazz.



To find out more about these monthly challenges be sure to check out Art Bead Scene!  They not only have some fun challenges but a lot of great posts ranging from techniques to new styles.
Apr 25, 2017

Book Review: Guarding Mr. Fine




As an agent with the CIA’s special activities division, Seth Lang lives for risk—and yet he’s stuck playing bodyguard to the U.S. consul general in Munich. Although Seth’s last assignment nearly killed him, babysitting some desk jockey in a suit sounds way too easy. But when he lays eyes on the new top man, tactical expert Rick Fine, Seth’s thrilled to see just how hard this job is going to get. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Quiet has a body worth guarding—and he requires hands-on attention day and night.

Dispatched to a German consulate to expose the murder of his predecessor, Rick finds himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He needs a man like Seth—in so many ways. This mission will inevitably plunge them both into jeopardy, but each new threat only brings them closer. Rick just hopes that he can keep his deepest, darkest secret hidden—or else risk imperiling a relationship they’re both fighting for their lives to protect.


* * * * *

GUARDING MR. FINE has it all.  Hot men, danger, intrigue, a well written story line and even hotter sex.   Those are enough for an enjoyable book but this book goes beyond by trying to correct some misconceptions that heterosexual people have about bisexuals such as they are unable to commit to a monogamous relationship or that dating a person of the opposite sex will suddenly cause them to become 'straight'.  Kudos to Ms. Dimon for bringing those up.

I really enjoyed the book.  Both Seth and Rick are men that I would be happy to call friends and I cheered them on as their relationship developed.  I think that my readers who enjoy romances about gay and bisexual men will really enjoy this book.  I do want to put out a gentle warning that there are some extremely hot sex scenes between two men so avoid this book if that makes you uncomfortable.  

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

Apr 19, 2017

Book Review: Sin For Me






For Dante Bishop, music died the night he found his father’s body next to a syringe of lithium. Ditching Atlanta, Dante jumped on his Harley and left the family business to his sister. She became the heart and soul of Devil’s Music—until the board, including Dante’s ex, masterminded a takeover. Years later, Dante’s doing something he never thought he’d do: returning to Georgia to put his songwriting skills to good use. Reuniting with Chelsea Coin only sweetens the deal.

As the perfectionist COO of Devil’s Music, Chelsea doesn’t dwell on the past. If she did, she’d never forgive herself for betraying the Bishops in a corporate power grab. Now Chelsea needs help to save the company, and Dante’s a nonnegotiable part of the arrangement. Still brooding and hot as hell, Dante wastes no time stirring up unfinished business—and carnal memories Chelsea would rather keep buried. She’s come too far to risk everything on a man. But for desire this intense, she might just enjoy the sexiest mistake of her life.


* * * * *

SIN FOR ME is well written with some seriously hot sex scenes.  However it wasn't a book that I enjoyed.  There wasn't a single character that I liked and I kept thinking that if there was a huge fire and they all died, it wouldn't be a loss.  With the exception of Dante's love for his sister, there wasn't a redeeming quality in the lot of them.

I do think that people that enjoy the hip hop or rap scene would enjoy this book.  It just wasn't for me. But your mileage may vary.    

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 17, 2017

Book Review: On Second Thought






Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

Kate’s always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow—in the space of four months overwhelms her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to confide in Ainsley, especially when she learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.

Despite the murky blended-family dynamic that’s always separated them, Ainsley's and Kate’s heartaches bind their summer together when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

                                                                      * * * * *

ON SECOND THOUGHT really spoke to me because at its base it is about sisters and ones that aren't close.  That sums me and my sister up to a tee.  It caused me to question why I am not closer to my family and how alone I would be if I became a widow. 

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are well fleshed out, the dialogue is fitting and at times funny and the plot flowed. This isn't a book that will take you away from your troubles but will instead cause you to question your life.

I highly recommend ON SECOND THOUGHT to any of my readers who enjoy women's fiction. It even has a hot firefighter to sweeten the pot.

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

Apr 14, 2017

Book Review: The Trouble With Dukes





THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER...

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he'll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn't the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she's fighting battles of her own. For her, he'll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.


* * * * *

I do like my historical romance especially when the heroine is a strong, feisty woman.  One thing that I have noticed however is that all the women are beautiful and perfect.  I always wondered what happened to those women who weren't.  Did they not find love?  Well in THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES I have had my question answered.

Megan is a beautiful red head but her eyes are not that good.  In fact, she wears glasses which really endeared her to me as I was one of those kids that were teased for wearing glasses.   She is beautiful, smart but was unfortunately rather naive when she was younger which has her a bit of a pickle now.  

Hamish is a true gentleman who had no intention of ever being stuck with an English title.  He doesn't have a lot of use for the English especially with their games and gossip but he will do almost anything to make his sisters happy.

I really enjoyed this book and I just loved Hamish and Megan.  The secondary characters are also well done with a lot of depth to them and they add a lot to the story.  Their story flows with great pacing and witty dialogue.  I think that any of my readers who enjoy historical romance should pick up this book especially since it is the beginning of  a new series.

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


Apr 13, 2017

Allegory Gallery Forest Journey Challenge





I just adore the kits that Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery puts together.  They are always a bit of this and a bit of that along with a surprise focal that Andrew makes.



These challenges are always based around a theme and this time it was a forest journey.  I pictured a hero's journey where our hero who is a simple woman who lives in the forests to help protect them and the animals who reside there. However due to circumstances outside their control, they are called upon to be a hero, or heroine in this case.



I just loved the artisan polymer focal that Andrew made for this challenge.  Protecting that well is one of our heroine's charges.



This challenge is also part of a contest so be sure to stop by the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges group to vote on your favorite.
Apr 12, 2017

Book Review: Jack of Hearts





Alex Gentry doesn’t scare easily. Working as an undercover FBI agent in the biker bar he and his brothers co-own, he hangs with deadly criminals in order to gather information. Danger is just part of the family business. But one thing has him terrified: his attraction to Madison Parker.

Madison is the cousin of Ramon Alonzo, son and second in command to a notorious drug lord Alex is trying to bust. Alex has befriended Ramon as part of his cover, and Madison has unknowingly become his informant. Falling for her could risk this case—and both their lives.

All Madison wants is to get her new bookstore business off the ground, and for her creepy cousin Ramon—to whom she’s unfortunately indebted—to leave her alone. If she could only stop fantasizing about his mysterious new friend, Alex…

As the Alonzo cartel investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But will the secrets they’re keeping tear them apart—or get them both killed?
                                                                  * * * * *

JACK OF HEARTS starts out with a bang, or a crash, and doesn't seem to slow down from there.  A lot of intrigue with the occasional fight thrown in for good measure.  What really kept me glued to the pages were the Gentry brothers.  I can't wait to read Nate and Court's story.

Alex does a great job of playing a biker bar owner who is willing to do whatever is needed to make some cash.  Too bad he can't introduce Madison to the real Alex Gentry while he is setting up her uncle and cousin to go down for drugs.

Madison doesn't seem to fit with her family.  She radiates an air of innocence that is almost a direct contradiction to her cousin who is a slimeball.   She lost her father a year ago and now she is trying to get her new bookstore on its feet while trying to take care of her mother.  I really enjoyed watching her come alive as she gets to know Alex.

I enjoyed this book as rather than a lot of shooting and action, we got a chance to watch Alex maneuver undercover.  There was a lot of tension to keep me turning pages and the dialogue is witty and had me laughing at times.  Ms. Owens is a new author to me but she has written several books in the past that I plan on checking out.  If you are interested in checking those out, just click here to head to her website.

I do think that my readers would enjoy this book if they like romantic suspense that is heavy on both the suspense and the romance.  There were some sex scenes but nothing extremely graphic.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 11, 2017

Book Review: Midnight Obsession





When a mysterious package lands on Louisa Hancock’s doorstep, the Philadelphia museum curator can hardly anticipate the nightmare that’s about to envelop her. The package is addressed to her father—an expert in Viking culture—and inside is a ninth-century sword, a chilling thank-you note, and photos of two dead bodies in a tableau evoking a Nordic funeral. The gruesome images match a recent crime scene. But before the police can investigate the killer’s connection to Louisa’s father, Ward Hancock vanishes.

Sports bar owner Conor Sullivan wants nothing more than to spend his life with Louisa. Devoted and protective, he refuses to leave her side after her father’s disappearance. When a troubled young boxer he’s been coaching is suspected of the murders, Conor is pulled in even deeper. Desperate, Louisa and Conor take it upon themselves to find her father, but soon another ritualistic slaying makes it clear there’s a Viking-obsessed serial killer on the loose. And he has a new target: Louisa.


* * * * * 

This book is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from love to terror.  Louisa is finally starting to relax and enjoy her life with her father and Conor.  That is until a serial killer becomes obsessed with Louisa and kidnaps her father.   Now it's a race against time to try to figure out just who he is and where her father is being kept.  

I found my way into this series late but it didn't much to fall in love with both Louisa and Conor.  They are both really good people who are just trying to make a life for themselves despite obstacles thrown in their paths. They also both will go out of their ways to help out others. 

The action is fast, furious and kept me glued to the page until the final twist that I didn't see coming. . I would recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy a good romantic suspense with surprising twists.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Apr 7, 2017

Swap N Hop!!




I just love it when a hostess puts together a blog hop where we send beads and other goodies to a partner and we get wonderful things back in the mail.  Oh and then we get to create with the beauties sent to us by our partner.  It takes a lot of work and I want to thank our hostess Linda Anderson of Bead Peeps!



Just a reminder of the the wonderful  beads that my partner Bethony Maiden of From The Bead Board sent to me.  She actually made the polymer and the clasp.  I actually finished my designs a few weeks ago but I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to participate as I couldn't find my pieces.  Yeah it is definitely time to reorganize my studio.  Luckily I managed to find them last night.



Now I am a person that can normally take pretty much anything that a partner sends to me and come up with a design.  I am pretty eclectic in my style which isn't necessarily a good thing.  Bethony however managed to stump me with the sunflower.  I don't work with yellow that much or that bright green so I didn't have a thing to go with it.  And it is larger then what I usually work with.   So I pondered and pondered.  Then I finally asked myself why I was limiting myself to jewelry and I had that A-ha moment.  I have  friend that really likes sunflowers so I made her a wall hanging. 



And now I had to do justice to that gorgeous clasp and the gold polymer beads.  I also wanted to use some of the sari silk and who can resist carnelian?  I ended up with a double strand pearl necklace with some pizzazz. 

I still have quite a few beads left that will make themselves into other creations.  Thank you Betony!

Now this is a blog hop so be sure that you have a fresh cup of tea and a cozy seat to curl up on.  Now click on this link and it will lead you down to a wonderland of eye candy.  Oh wait!  Don't forget to leave comment so I know that you stopped by and opinions are always welcomed.
Apr 3, 2017

Book Review: Gilded Cage





Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?


* * * * *

I found this book to be rather eerie.  It is just a couple steps sideways from our reality where the Haves, or Equals, have magic rather than money and the Have Nots are required to spend ten years in slavery to the Equals.  I found it to be rather relevant to today's political climate. 

Abi and Luke could be from any family that are ready to serve their years of Slavery.  Abi thought that she has played the system so that all of her family could serve out their time together on an Estate.  However things go wrong right from the beginning with Luke being assigned instead to a factory town where he quickly grows up.

This book is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering just what is going to happen next.  All of the characters are well developed and some are really easy to emphasize with.  I can hardly wait for the next book in this trilogy to drop.

I highly recommend GILDED CAGE to any of my readers who enjoy books that cover what might have happened if magic is blended with technology.  There is violence but no graphic sex scenes.
Apr 2, 2017

Ramblings




  • I really hate how I will sit and ponder something as I am in the shower or going to sleep.  I will look at the topic from every which way but when it comes time to add it to a post, I can't remember it.  Well they do say that the mind is the first to go.
  • Home warranties are the way to go!  Our dishwasher finally decided to give up the ghost so I called Old Republic who has our warranty and they sent someone out to look at it.  His diagnosis was that it would cost less to replace it then repair it.  So for the $60 co-pay I have a new dishwasher that was installed on Wednesday.  Nice!

  • The Amazon app has a new feature where you can find all kinds of random stuff.  I was browsing and came across a Shiba Inu bank!  I remember when I first got into shibas and you couldn't find any neat figurines or anything about them.  
  • Learned the hard way that you can't leave your lights on in a hybrid.  Ran to the doctor's office and managed to run my battery down.  Had to wait in the car with Boo & Jing for over an hour waiting for AAA.

  • I tend to buy a lot of my beads on clearance to keep the costs down.  I suppossedly picked up a couple strands of larimar but when the package arrived, there were a couple strands of red glass beads.  Not what I expected and I woudldn't pay that much for glass beads.  Hopefully the company will respond quickly and correct the error.  
  • Boo's liver levels keep going up and down.  Next step is to try some Chinese herbs to see if they help.
Mar 29, 2017

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King





There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


* * * * *

I just loved this book!  It seems as though young girls don't have a lot of role model nowadays and Alosa is a perfect one.  She can outfight and outwit any man which comes in handy considering her mission for her father.  This book has a lot of action, drinking and thievery in the typical pirate fashion and is a lot of fun to read.  

There is a strong current of romance between Alosa and Riden but there is no explicit sex or any sex at all for that matter.  It's a great book for readers of all ages who are looking for a fun and frolicking adventure.  I am really hoping that there will be another book in Alosa's tale.

*** 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, 2017

Book Review: For Whome the Bread Rolls





From the author of The Crêpes of Wrath comes another decadent cozy mystery. This time, pancake house owner Marley McKinney is tangling with a salty troublemaker . . . and a ravenous killer.
 

Tourist season’s in full swing in the small seaside town of Wildwood Cove, and Marley McKinney couldn’t be happier. Since taking over the Flip Side restaurant, she’s made a few close friends, adopted a cat named Flapjack, and started dating her childhood crush. The only cloud on the horizon is local nuisance Ida Winkler, who blames Marley for landing her nephew in prison. Trying to get a rise out of Marley, Ida’s been making crank calls and even vandalizing the pancake house.

The police can’t do much about the pranks, so Marley sets out to bury the hatchet once and for all. But someone’s beat her to it—in the most shocking way possible. After stumbling across Ida’s dead body, Marley’s suddenly the number-one suspect in her murder. Clearing her good name is going to be a tall order, but Marley’s not about to let Ida keep ruining her life—especially from beyond the grave.


* * * * *

There are times when nothing will suit as well as a mystery and thanks for Ms Fox, I have discovered that I especially enjoy the cozy mystery genre and especially this series.

This book has a lot going for it.  First of all, the characters are all so well developed and well...real.  They remind me a lot of some of my friends especially as they are animal lovers also.And the setting itself is one that is local to me which adds just another touch to love.  And let's not forget Ivan's recipes that are in the back of the book.  Yummy! 

I do highly recommend this book and this series to any of my readers who enjoy cozy mysteries.  They are just perfect to read while sipping a mug of tea.   

*** 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 27, 2017

Art Bead Scene March Challenge


Armed Bird's Nest in Acacia Bush, Chile
Marianne North
1870
Oil On Paper


I have been keeping up with my goal of participating in all of the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenges even though I seem to be squeaking in just under the deadline each time.  Oh well, not going to stress that as long as I am getting them done.


I just loved this painting even though it contains my dreaded yellow.  It reminds me that spring is actually coming.  In fact, it had already arrived by the time I finished my necklace.



I knew almost immediately what I was going to do for a focal as I had recently received one of HumbleBeads little birds.  I wanted to pair it with some of the wood style polymer sticks from Rosebuds Lampworks and an antiqued brass wire bead. 



The fun part was deciding where to go from there.  I finally settled on knotting some waxed linen together since birds like to pick up strings to line their nests.  I also added some blue crystals, some Czech pressed glass and some lampwork from Art By Lisi



This is a lightweight, long necklace that is perfect to wear this spring.  I will be adding to my Alchemy Designs store as soon as I get a free minute.  
Mar 24, 2017

Bead Soup Blog Party Bead Hoarders Edition


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/96827460719568500/


I can either thank (or blame) one person for my love of blog hops.  When I was first discovering Art beads, I also discovered Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  She is one of the warmest, strongest person that I know and just happened to be hosting this wonderful event called the Bead Soup Blog Party.  She actually hosted quite a few and through them, I have met some friends that I keep in touch with even today.

Lori has had to take some time off to deal with issues but she is back!  And better then before!  This time around, BSBP has a new twist.  We were to pick out one bead or strand of beads that you have been hoarding.  And we were to do so before we even knew who our partner was!


My partner was Renetha Stanziano of Lamplight Crafts and boy did she spoil me!  In fact, I feel kind of bad that I didn't get a chance to design one more piece but with all of Boo's health issues...




This first necklace is all about me.  I tend to dress in tunics and I adore long necklaces because I tend to fiddle with them.  And the gorgeous lampwork focal has ridges!  It reminds me of a worry stone. and I can see it becoming one of my favorite necklaces.



And tassels!  Must have tassels. 



I have tendency with clasps to hide them.  On this necklace, I wanted the clasp to be able to demand attention.  Yet it is adjustable so you could easily slide the flash of red to the front.



This necklace took a bit of work.  I find making beaded chains very relaxing yet my hands tend to get fussy with me especially during the winter.



I wanted to really highlight the lovely focal from Blueberri Beads.  And since I am on a tassel kick...



Now that you have looked through my designs be sure to warm up your cup of tea and check out what all these wonderful designers have come up with.  There is sure to be lots of eye candy!