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!


Mar 21, 2017

Book Review: Sinful Scottish Laird




A young widow puts her sexy suitors to the test in New York Times bestselling author Julia London's scintillating return to the idyllic Scottish Highlands.

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years' time or forfeit her son's inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly though unwillingly bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy's brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.


* * * * *

When I am in the mood for a historical romance, Julia London is one of my go to authors.  She always has feisty heroines and drool-worthy heroes.   That being said, SINFUL SCOTTISH LAIRDS was not one of my favorites.  Oh the heroine, Daisy, was feisty, out spoken and willing to take risks to get what she wanted.  Cailean was definitely worth drooling over.  My issue was the dialogue.  It felt that the Scottish accent was forced in ways that it didn't want to go.  That pulled me out of the story a couple times.

Regardless of that issue, I do recommend this book because I did enjoy it for the most part and I loved being able to check back on characters that we met in the first book, Wild Wicked Scot.  If you enjoy reading historical romance than be sure to check out this book and this 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.
Mar 18, 2017

Ramblings


 

  • Been on a true crime kick lately. There are a lot of good podcasts out there. I would need to get a phone with more memory if I subscribe to more podcasts. 
  • Lady Luck was kind. I finally have enough to pay off some  debts & get a new carpet. 
  • Have my stepson Conal living here now. You know, I might have had kids if I didn't have to go through the rearing process. He's a good kid. 
Mar 16, 2017

Book Review: Dawn Study




Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.


* * * * *

It's been a couple years since I had read the previous book in this series yet within the first two pages, I was comfortably back in the world created by Ms. Snyder.  A good deal of my comfort was due to the the wonderful characters that populate it.

Yelena and Valek have come far to develop a strong relationship that allows them each to shine and that takes work.  They both have had to learn to control their over-protectiveness which would get in the way of stopping the Cartel.  Ari and Janco remind me of brothers, deadly brothers.  And there is Onora has really come into her own.

DAWN STUDY is a book that will stand on its own but to truly experience the richness of the world and the characters, I do recommend reading the entire series.  If you enjoy fantasy with complex characters and a wonderfully developed world, then I highly recommend this book and 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.
Mar 14, 2017

Allegory Gallery Queen Of Hearts Challenge




I am finally starting to catch back up.  With Boo being so ill, the last thing on my mind was creating jewelry so everything was pushed to the back burner.

A couple months ago, I received this gorgeous kit from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery.  It was based on women he had seen out in their Red Hat Society outfits and his imagination went on from there.  It has a lovely polymer focal that he made along with some vintage lucite, crystals, glass and wood beads.


What immediately sprang to mind was a necklace for the Queen of my RHS chapter. Gretchen is a wonderful woman who has welcomed me into the world of Red Hatting.  I love it as it guarantees that I do make it out of the house and send time with a bunch of wonderful women.  This month we will be going out to a movie and Thai food.



Anyways, this necklace features the lovely polymer focal along with the red crystals, small purple glass beads and some purple lucite.  I knotted it on waxed nylon cord so there's no worries about it stretching.



I am trying to remember to always make up a pair of earrings to go with a necklace if possible.  This pair isn't exact.  In fact, it is akew.  I used some of the purple stones and some more lucite that came with my kit.  I did add in some coral roses in both a dangle and a bead so these earrings can be worn with any Red Hat Society regalia.


Mar 13, 2017

Book Review: If I Run




Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.


* * * * *

I really enjoyed the first part of this book.  Casey is smart, very smart, and she knows how to hide.  Dylan was hired to bring her back to face murder charges but something just doesn't add up.  The boot kept me engrossed and rooting for both of them.

And then about midway through the book, this became a Christian book where Dylan has his therapist pray over him.  All of a sudden, he is leaving the outcome in the hands of God.  What the heck??  This book wasn't listed in the Christian category so this out turn was a huge disappointment.  I was further disappointed by the author's afterword where she is stating things as facts when they have already been proven false.  

I really can't recommend this book as a romantic suspense or even a thriller.  If it had been put in the proper category, I wouldn't even have picked it up for review.  

*** 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 12, 2017

Ramblings




  • First off, I want to apologize for not having a post ready last Sunday.  I just flat out lost track of time.  This year has already proven to be one where I am running as quickly as I can yet am still falling behind.
  • One of my major stresses is lightening up.  Boo is on her way to health.  She's actually being a pain right now and being a picky eater.  And I have to let her get away with it since she lost so much weight from her illness.  I am going to let her get a bit round and then crack down on what she eats.
  • Birth and death are all part of life and that is becoming clearer to me as I get older.  Later this month, I will be attending a baby shower on Saturday and a wake on Sunday.  I have always thought of it being part of a circle and I think that is one reason that I always have trouble expressing my sympathy for a person's loss.  Logically I know that the person that I am talking too is the one experiencing the loss but I feel that we should be celebrating that the departed has graduated from their time on this plane of existence.  That's why I am looking forward to attending a wake which is that celebration and why when I leave, I want a wake.
  • Now the baby shower however scares me.  I have never had much to do with babies unless they have fur.  The human ones don't however and I am afraid that I will drop them.  Thank goodness the mother has a registry set up or I would have NO idea what to get for them.
Mar 10, 2017

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown Part 8




The bomber made a fatal mistake underestimating Special Agent Lara Grant! With countless lives at stake, Lara and the CMU can't keep doubting each other. Taking out this killer before he strikes again is going to require full focus from the entire team. But this case has shaken their faith in each other like never before. As they struggle to rebuild their frayed partnerships, they finally hit paydirt. In the final countdown, their mark has messed up. And as Lara braces for another confrontation with evil, she'll do what it takes to make sure that his first mistake will be his last... 

* * * * *

This final episode does a brilliant job of wrapping up all the lose ends as well as giving the readers hints of what the next 'season' will bring.  I really enjoy reading this series of books.  Each episode is short enough to read in a sitting yet I am sure that overall, the word count is more then you would get from a normal book.  What really impressed me was how the different authors were able to put their own touch on each episode yet it was recognizably the same characters and the same story arc.

I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for the next time there is one of these special releases featuring Lara Grant and her team.  I do recommend this series to any of my readers who enjoy thrillers.  This one will keep you on your toes and on the edge of your seat.

*** 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: Tough Justice Countdown Part 7




The Crisis Management Unit know Lara Grant is missing--but they have no idea just how much danger their agent is in! The lone wolf has gone rogue before, after all, and they have a suspect to catch. So while the investigation moves on, and Lara's private torment by her captor continues, she has to wonder--was she his ultimate target all along? No matter what, Lara knows one thing for sure: there's another bomb out there, somewhere. And time is running ...

* * * * *

With Lara being AWOL, the reader really gets a chance to know the rest of the team and to watch them shine.  Her team is full of strong, confident people that I would love to call friend even though they can and do get cocky at times.

I have found that each episode is getting better and tighter as we are racing towards the conclusion.  If you like thrillers, I highly recommend this series as each episode is short enough for consumption in one sitting and they all build up on each other so nicely.

*** 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 9, 2017

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown Part 6




When the Crisis Management Unit finally catch a break that may lead straight to their key suspect, Special Agent Lara Grant takes the bait he's offered only to her. She's ready to match wits with a madman if it means solving the case and stopping the bomber. But when her risky strategy of playing the lone wolf goes critically wrong, she wonders whether her willingness to do whatever it takes--alone--will prove to be the fatal choice... 

* * * * *

When the bomber threatens to expose the secrets of the team members, things start to fall apart.  And Lara being Lara is keeping her own secrets from her partner and from her team.

This was a very tense episode with the team starting to implode.  I found that this episode to be the best yet as I watched the team trying to work together yet being more concerned with their own pasts than their team member's well being.  I couldn't set aside my iPad until the cliff hanger conclusion.

Seriously if you enjoy thrillers, pick up this series.  It will keep you on the edge of your seat.

*** 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: Tough Justice Part 5




The hunter becomes the hunted
With just seconds to spare, Special Agent Lara Grant and the team manage to rescue a hostage. Victory! Thanks to this eyewitness, they now know the killer's name, and might even have a lead on his next target. But not even the FBI's best can protect everyone from the deadliest, and most dedicated, criminal. And when the entire CMU comes under attack, it'll take a desperate act to keep the team together. Lara puts her own secrets--and her own life--on the line in an attempt to lure the bomber out of hiding and into the open...once and for all. 


* * * * *

And the tension ratchets up.   The team now knows just who they are chasing but he keeps at least one step ahead of them.  By this time, we really get to know Lara and most of the rest of the team so I am really rooting for them.  

This serial really reminds me of a Netflix series where all the episodes are dropped at once.  I am really enjoying it and feel that any of my readers who enjoy thrillers will also.  Great characters, a lot of action and witty dialogue.  What more could you ask for?

*** 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 8, 2017

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown Part 4





Everyone has secrets. Everyone is vulnerable.
As tensions mount within the Crisis Management Unit, Special Agent Lara Grant's relationships with her fellow agents fray as they race to find a hostage taken by the bomber. But as the next high-profile target rejects the bomber's demands, it seems like nothing can save the innocent victim. A chance bit of evidence leads the CMU to a warehouse Lara knows all too well from her last case. But will they arrive in time to prevent another murder.


* * * * *

This has to be my favorite episode yet!  Ms. Curtis has done a wonderful job of balancing the tensions that the agents are working under while giving us readers a chance to get to know them better.  These episodes are not meant to stand alone but they do work together very nicely. 

I do think that any of my readers who enjoy thrillers with a lot of tension, action and character development would enjoy this 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.

Mar 7, 2017

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown Part 3





The bomber’s latest threat has thrown the Crisis Management Unit into chaos! As Lara Grant struggles to hold her fractured team together, she discovers a possible connection between this case and her own past--something she can’t reveal to anyone, especially now. Because when the bomber’s next target chooses to keep his secret, terror turns to an intimate form of torture, and anyone’s past can be used against them...

* * * * * 

Another great installment in the Tough Justice serial.  I think what really impressed me was how there was a change in author yet the story flowed nicely.  Ms. Snell made both Nick and Lara a touch more approachable but that was really the only change in writing style.

So far, this story has kept me on the edge of my seat and I do recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy a good, action packed thriller.

*** 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, 2017

Book Review: Cast In Flight





Private Kaylin Neya already has Dragons and Barrani as roommates. Adding one injured, flightless Aerian to her household should be trivial. Sure, the Aerian is Sergeant Moran dar Carafel, but Kaylin's own sergeant is a Leontine, the definition of growly and fanged. She can handle one Aerian.

But when a walk to the Halls of Law becomes a street-shattering magical assassination attempt on the sergeant, Kaylin discovers that it's not the guest who's going to be the problem: it's all of the people who suddenly want Moran dar Carafel dead. And though Moran refuses to tell her why she's being targeted, Kaylin is determined to discover her secret and protect her at all costs--even if keeping Moran safe means dealing with Aerian politics, angry dragons and something far more sinister.


* * * * *

Let me start off this review by saying that I love this series and have followed it from the very beginning.  Ms. Sagara has created a wonderful world with characters of all races that have distinct personalities.  I have this series both in audio and in paper.  I find that I do prefer in audio because the narrator is wonderful at giving each character their own unique voices and personalities portrayed through their voices.  And I loved CAST IN FLIGHT just as much as I loved the first book in this series.

Now that I have gushed about it, I do have to say there were issues in this book.  The major one was with the main character, Private Kaylin Neva.  It seems as though she is stagnating.  Oh yes, she is rushing out to deal with the latest emergency but she isn't growing as character herself.  Kaylin is an adult and wants to be treated as an adult but whenever there is an issue to be dealt with, she is turning to her partner for his opinion.  It's like she is refusing to grow up and have her own opinions unless they are directly related to being a Hawk.

And speaking of Severn, he is one of my favorite characters yet we hardly see him in this book unless he is acting as Kaylin's advisor.  Another of my favorite characters is Nightshade and he hardly shows up except in the background when him and his brother are arguing.  And what's happening with their romantic triangle?  Will it ever be resolved?  Or at least come more into play?

I do think that my readers who enjoy fantasy will enjoy taking flight in Ms. Sagara's world with CAST IN FLIGHT.   I am however disappointed in the fact that the story arc doesn't appear to be advancing.  I would love to hear your opinion on the book and the 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.
  

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown Part 2




The Crisis Management Unit has a confession--and a dead suspect. Could this mean the end of the bombing spree that's terrorized New York? Special Agent Lara Grant's instincts tell her that the danger has only just begun. And sure enough, the carnage continues as the bomber eludes them at every turn. Lara is just beginning to investigate a man taking selfies at each of the bomb sites when, suddenly, another CMU agent becomes a target..

* * * * *

I am really enjoying this episode!  Now mind you that I did just say episode. These novellas have been written to be read in order or they won't make a lot of sense similar to a mini-series on television. Once you take that into account, they are quite enjoyable especially as they are so character driven. 

I can't really say a lot  without giving away spoilers but I will say that it's well written with great dialogue and much tension. I think that my readers who enjoy thrillers will enjoy this 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.
Mar 3, 2017

Book Review: Tough Justice Countdown (part 1)




Tick. Tock. BOOM.
FBI Special Agent Lara Grant had thought that she'd put her past behind her--finally--with her last case. But now a serial bomber is targeting Manhattan's elite power players, offering them a choice between saving hundreds of lives or seeing their darkest secrets exposed. Lara is working with the Crisis Management Unit to stop the bomber, but how will she react when she's the one who has to choose between truth...or death? 


* * * * * 

This book is being released as a serial or a series of novellas.  This first episode is one that reaches right out and grabs the reader.  We get a chance to know Lara Grant rather well for the shortness of this episode and so far I can say that she is an interesting person.  Driven by her need for justice and haunted by her last case.  
 
I normally avoid serials because I hate to wait for the next episode to arrive.  In this case however they all came out rather close together.  I do recommend this novella to my readers who enjoy edge of your seat tension and kick ass heroines.   

*** 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, 2017

Book Review: A Short Time To Die





In this electrifying thriller, two women from opposite sides of the country find their lives inextricably bound by blood, by fear, and by a merciless, murderous revenge . . . 

Walking home from a dance on a foggy autumn night in rural New York, Marly Shaw sees a flash of approaching headlights. A pickup truck stops and two men get out. One of them is her stepfather. She runs. They follow. Minutes later, gunshots ring out. Two men are dead, and one terrified girl is running for the rest of her life . . . 


Thirteen years later, human bones are discovered in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.
DNA tests reveal they belong to a mother and son from Central New York. Both have criminal records. Assault. Involuntary manslaughter. Maybe more. Santa Clara County Sheriff Detective Vanessa Alba wants to know how these backwater felons ended up so far from home. 


Vanessa and her partner, Jack Wong, head to the icy terrain of the Finger Lakes to uncover the secrets of a powerful family whose crimes are too horrifying to comprehend. Whose grip over a frightened community is too strong to break. And whose twisted ideas of blood and honor are a neverending nightmare for the one family member who thought she got away . . ."


* * * * *

Wow!  I am still trying to come up with the words to describe this book.  It has to be one of the more unusual books that I have ever read.  And one that will suck you in from the very first scene.

This book focuses on two women, Detective Vanessa Alba  and Marly Shaw.  Vanessa is investigating the discovery of two sets of bones that were discovered in California in 2013.  Marley is trying to overcome her past and provide safety for herself and her family.  Her story begins back in 2000 in a tiny town in New York.

In Charon Springs, everything depends on who you are and who you are related too.  It's a poor town known locally for its crime and brutality to the extent that even the police are afraid to get on the wrong side of the reigning Harris family.  Marly has dreams of escaping to college if she survives that long.  I will admit to being horrified at the things the Harris family was able to get away with.

In an attempt to find out just why the bones of a couple of the members of the Harris family was found in California, Vanessa and her partner travel to Charon Springs.  They uncover bits and pieces of what Marly went through to survive.

Incredible writing!  Each page is inundated with a sense of dread and horror which will have the reader shuddering while crossing their fingers for Marly.  And for Vanessa as she feels rather threatened when she is investigating in New York.  It's hard to believe that there are still places like Charon Springs in this century while at the same time, it all too easy to see these events occurring.  That both saddens and enrages me.  No one should go through what Marly and others did just to live let alone thrive.

I really recommend A SHORT TIME TO DIE to any of my readers who enjoy suspense.  There are scenes of violence against both adults and children 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.
Mar 1, 2017

Bead Soup Blop Party Hoarder Edition- Meet My Partner





One of the first blog hops that I had the pleasure of participating in was Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party.  And I was immediately hooked!  I was able to join on a few of those before Lori ended up having to take a break due to health issues.  The good news is that she is feeling better and has restarted the party.

This hop is slightly different in that we were to choose a bead or beads that we have been hoarding and swap them with our partner.  My partner is Renetha Stanziano and I have to say that she spoiled me rotten.






She sent along focals from Art Insomnia, Golem Beads as well as green ceramic beads from Blueberri.  Renetha also sent me a beautiful bird clasp as well as supporting beads for my soup.




The ingredients that I sent to her weren't quite as numerous but I sent her one of the first Raku ceramic pendants that I had ever ran across from Elements of Pottery as well as an earring pair from Kristan Bowman Designs and a strand of jasper to highlight either.

This blog hop is scheduled for March 25th so be sure to stop by and check out all the eye candy that the different designers will be showing off.