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.