Jul 17, 2018

Book Review: Crimson Ash

You may live as a soldier or face death. Choose wisely.

Solanine Lucille wants her little sister back. Eight years ago, the government kidnapped her sister Ember, stole her memories, and transformed her into a soldier. But Solanine refuses to give up. Now that she and her fiancé have located the leader of a rebel group, she believes she can finally bring Ember home. But then the soldiers raid the rebels, killing her fiancé and leaving Solanine alone with her demons and all the weapons needed for revenge.

After raiding a rebel camp, sixteen-year-old Ember doesn’t understand why killing some boy bothers her. She’s a soldier—she has killed hundreds of people without remorse. But after she fails a mission, the rebels hold her hostage and restore her memories. Ember recognizes her sister among the rebels and realizes the boy she killed was Solanine’s fiancé.

Ember knows she can’t hide the truth forever, but Solanine has secrets too.

As their worlds clash, the two sisters must decide if their relationship is worth fighting for. And one wrong move could destroy everything—and everyone—in their path.

* * * * *

Books set in the dystopian genre are rather hit or miss with me.  I have read some truly spectacular ones and have found others that bore me to tears.  I have found that it all boils down to whether I can relate to the characters.   

CRIMSON ASH started off rather slowly for me and I was starting to think that this was going to be one of  those misses.  However I found that Solanine had snuck up and became a character that I cared about.  I started to cheer her on as she would get back up after a defeat.  And I really liked one of the secondary characters, Kane, who tended to stay in background but was always there.  

This really is a coming of age story.  Both Solanine and Ember have some growing up before they even have a chance to rebuild their relationship and possibly the world.  

I wouldn't say that CRIMSON ASH was one of those spectacular reads but I found that I enjoyed the story.  The characters grow on you and the some of the plot twists surprised me.  The pacing however was slower than I really prefer.  Also it felt as though the finale was rushed once you finally reach it almost as though the author had reached a word limit.

I really don't know if I would recommend this book.  Some of my readers might really enjoy it.  Others might find the slow pace irritating.  This book does contain a lot of violence but no explicit sex.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Jul 15, 2018

Book Review: Whisky Sharp Torn

Sometimes what you find isn’t what you were searching for...

Beau Petty has been searching his whole life. Searching for a place that fills all the empty spaces in him. Searching for a way to tame the restlessness. Searching for answers to the secret he’s never stopped trying to solve. What he wasn’t searching for was a woman to claim all of him, but when Cora Silvera walks back into his life, he’s ready to search out all the ways he can make her his.

Cora has spent her life as the family nurturer, taking care of others. But now she’s ready to pass that job on to someone else. It’s time to make some changes and live for herself. It’s in that moment that her former teenage crush reappears and the draw and the heat of their instant connection is like nothing either of them has experienced. He craves being around her. She accepts him, dark corners and all.

Beau thinks Cora’s had enough drama in her life. He wants to protect her from the secrets of his past, even if it means holding back the last pieces of himself. But Cora is no pushover and she means to claim all those pieces.

* * * * *

I am totally in love with this series!  It is based in Seattle which is local to me so picking up a book in this series is similar to slipping on a comfy pair of jeans before heading off to hang out with your best friends.  Now Cora hadn't been a character that I was familiar with but I looked forward to getting to know her simply because she was friends with Maybe and the rest of the gang.  And getting to know her and Beau was a real pleasure.  

Ms. Dane has penned another winner with TORN.  Characters that quickly become as old friends, witty dialogue and really hot sex.  Beau and Cora seem to be made for each other but they both have enough baggage from their pasts to keep both their lives and the story interesting.  I was actually sad when I finished the book and had to tell them goodbye.  

I do recommend WHISKEY SHARP TORN to my readers who enjoy a contemporary romance with a lot of heat.  There is explicit sex in the story but it follows as part of the plot rather then being the plot.  TORN does stand nicely on its own but reading the previous books will enrich the story as you will then have the backstory on a lot of the secondary characters.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 
Jul 1, 2018

When a dog isn't...well a dog.

The other day,  I was sitting in traffic after my massage therapy and noticed that the truck in front of me was a Great Dane!  Now to me, a dog is a furry four legged being that usually enjoys being petted and speaks in a series of barks, grunts, whines and grumbles.

So I decided to start paying attention and noticing these 'alternative' dogs that are running about the world.  When I can, I am getting pics of them and sharing on Instagram with the hashtag #dog2.0.

Jun 26, 2018

Book Review: A Steep Price

Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.
Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.
Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.
* * * * *
I really look forward to the next installment of the Tracy Crosswhite not only because of Mr. Dugoni's excellent storytelling but because it is set locally in Seattle.  And you can really tell that the author has spent a lot of time in the area because he not only was on point with the points of interest but he is spot on about the atmosphere and the attitudes of the general areas.
This time around, Tracy's team are dealing with two different crimes.  Tracy stumbles into the world of arranged marriages and the expectations placed on daughters in Indian households.   Fez and Del are busy with trying to track down the murderer of a young mother.  Oh and everyone is dealing with a new member of the team, Andrea Gonzalez, who keeps putting her nose where it shouldn't be.
I really think that Mr. Dugoni has another winner in this book.  The plot is interesting with some twists and turns that are rather unexpected.  All of the characters are well developed and keep growing with every book.  I really think that any of my readers who enjoy reading police procedurals will really enjoy this book and this series.
***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Jun 20, 2018

Book Review: Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. When the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?

* * * * *

It's been a while since I read a book that was pure fun.  One with hunky men that just happen to turn into dragons, beautiful elves and trolls who are more than they appear to be.  One that takes you away to another world that demands that you suspend disbelief and enjoy the tale.  This book is the definition of brain candy.

I very much enjoyed this world and getting to know the characters.  While the book did center around Gwenmore, Silas and Puff, Ms. Sparks didn't stint when it came to the secondary characters (and I am hoping that they all get their own books).  The pacing was smooth, the dialogue flowing and it was well editing.  Once I entered Gwenmore's world, there was nothing to jar me back to reality except the ending of the book.

I do recommend this book to my readers who enjoy paranormal romance.  This is actually the third book in the series and can be read as a stand alone book though I am going to have to go pick up the other two because I want to know the story behind some happenings that are mentioned in passing.  

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 
Jun 18, 2018

Book Review: Murder Notes

As an FBI profiler, it’s Lilah Love’s job to think like a killer. And she is very good at her job. When a series of murders surface—the victims all stripped naked and shot in the head—Lilah’s instincts tell her it’s the work of an assassin, not a serial killer. But when the case takes her back to her hometown in the Hamptons and a mysterious but unmistakable connection to her own life, all her assumptions are shaken to the core.

Thrust into a troubled past she’s tried to shut the door on, Lilah’s back in the town where her father is mayor, her brother is police chief, and she has an intimate history with the local crime lord’s son, Kane Mendez. The two share a devastating secret, and only Kane understands Lilah’s own darkest impulses. As more corpses surface, so does a series of anonymous notes to Lilah, threatening to expose her. Is the killer someone in her own circle? And is she the next target?

* * * * *

I found the character of Lilah to be interesting though she is so shut down emotionally that I can't say that I was able to emphasize with her.  What really kept me reading this book was the fact that I found some of the secondary characters intriguing enough that I wanted to get to know them better.  Alas that didn't really happen but now the mystery has me hooked.  I really want to know the story behind the story so I am being held hostage.  

Why hostage you might ask.  Well I don't feel that this first book answered any questions, it just brought up more.  There were no conclusions reached at the end, just a cliffhanger.  So I feel that if I don't read the second book than I have wasted my time reading the first.  And I don't care for that feeling.  I want to look forward to the next book in a series and in this case, it feels like an obligation.  I guess that is one way to sell books but not one that has ever impressed me.

As you can probably tell, I don't recommend this book to my readers unless you are a fan of cliffhanger endings.  If so, you would probably really enjoy this book as it is well written and has a mystery that will hook you in.  

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Jun 11, 2018

Book Review: The Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends.

Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls.

Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design—especially not the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on his friends, his hometown, and the life he’d always known. Running from the pain, eyes closed, served little purpose. Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open—bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.

* * * * *

Let me start of by say that I absolutely loved this book which was rather surprising since faith and the Catholic Church beliefs and traditions pop up frequently.   I actually had trouble reading the last few pages because of the tears in my eyes.  I didn't want to say good by to Sam and his friends.

I picked up this book because of the author.  Robert Dugoni is the author of one of my favorite police procedural series so I knew that I enjoy his writing style.  I really think that he outdid himself with THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL.  

Sam, his thoughts and his life were so beautifully portrayed that I felt that I was there.  That I knew him as well as I know myself.  That I was with him from the time that he was a child until the time he truly became an adult.  Through him, I got to experience going to a Catholic school, I was able to experience being bullied because he was different, growing up with two parents who loved him and each other, of losing and regaining my faith in a higher power.  

As you can probably tell, I do recommend this book to any of my readers.  I am still puzzling over what genre to slip this book into but it's tough.  The close as I can come is a coming of age story even though follows him from birth until his late thirties.  There is some violence and there is some sex but doesn't everyone have a bit of both in their lives?

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Jun 3, 2018

Book Review: School For Psychics

An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

* * * * *

I have to admit being conflicted about this book.  I really enjoyed the book itself but I have the question the maturity level of the characters themselves.  They are supposed to be in their 20s but they all remind me of teenagers.  If Teddy was 15 or 16 then I would rave about this book.  Heck I will even still rave about this book with that one caveat.

SCHOOL FOR PSYCHICS is a fun read.  Teddy is a character that you love half the time, the other half the time she will totally exasperate you.  She does grow up quite a bit during the book so by the end, her maturity starts to catch up to her age.  I actually found all of the characters interesting and I am looking forward to the next book so that I can check back in to see how they are doing.

I think that my readers would enjoy this book as long as you ignore the stated ages of the characters and instead picture it as a young adult story.  It's fast paced with some interesting twists.  It has a bit of danger, a bit of romance and a whole lot of character growth.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

May 27, 2018

Book Review: Dead Girl Running

I have three confessions to make:
1. I've got the scar of gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don't remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams...and that's half a lie.

Girl running...from a year she can't remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman's dead and mutilated body, she's soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder...then another. 

Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen's driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she's come to call home. Yet she wonders--with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past--could the killer be staring her in the face?

* * * * * 

I like Kellen.  She's tough and rebuilt her life after being abused.  I can really appreciate that as I had to do the same.  She learned how to protect herself and others so that she would never find herself back in that position. And now that she has found a place that she can call home, she is going to do her best to protect it also.

Great book!  It has more than a few mysteries that need to be solved along with danger, friendships that are questioned and even the possibility of love.  There is even more then one villain that needs to be discovered.  It's a wild and enjoyable ride that will keep you turning pages far past your bedtime all the way to the satisfying conclusion. 

I do recommend DEAD GIRL RUNNING to any of my readers who enjoy thrillers and/or romantic suspense.  There is a lot of violence in this book but no explicit sex as no emphasis was placed on romance.  I definitely plan on keeping up on this series because I like Kellen.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 
May 26, 2018

Book Review: Ace Of Spades

Two FBI agents struggle with desire in the shadow of a killer, in the third installment of Aces & Eights.
Nate Gentry has been a rock for his two younger brothers since the day their mom walked out and left them with their abusive father. Now that they’ve grown up, he’s watched Alex and Court fall in love and settle down. But Nate isn’t made for romance. He keeps his relationships casual. And getting casual with his partner is a fantasy he can’t shake…
Taylor Collins has feelings for Nate, too—and though they run hot, her best friend on the team is strictly off limits. Until a spark in his eyes says, Go for it. But reaching out could prove to be a bad move now that they’re working closer together than ever, and on the most dangerous case of their careers.

An investigation into a brutal series of murders is stirring up bad memories for Taylor, and neither she nor Nate can imagine how close to home it’s going to hit. When it does, Nate will risk everything—including his heart—to keep Taylor safe.
* * * * *
I have been waiting for Nate's story.  I knew that he would be a hard nut to crack because he's firmly convinced that he never wants to marry or have a relationship.  And Taylor is probably the one woman that would be able to convince him of the error of his ways.
ACE OF SHADOWS is everything that you would want in a romantic suspense.  There is danger, a lot of tension that builds as time passes and a lot of head.  Add in characters that you get to throughout the series and you have a book that will hold your attention through all the twists and turns.
I do think that readers that enjoy the genre will really like this book especially if you have been following the series.  It does contain sex and violence but that is what will keep you glued to the pages.
***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

May 7, 2018

Book Review: Beneath the Silver Rose

Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic! 

When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a wealthy scholar. 

Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a darkness that returns to consume the world.

* * * * * 

When I first requested this book to review, I did so because the cover caught my eye and the blurb sounded interesting.  What I found was so much more!  It's been a while since I have able to immerse myself in a well written fantasy that had me hanging on every word.

T.S. Adrian has done a beautiful job of building her world.  It has an intricate social system and a long history.  I can't wait to discover more as the series continues and I am sure that I will with a historian being one of the main characters.

Now speaking of characters... There are a lot and I did get them confused in the beginning as I am horrible at remembering names.  That didn't last for long however as they all developed their own personalities and  'voices' in my mind.  Some I would gladly lock in a room without food or water for a few years.  Others I loved and I cheered their accomplishments.  

As I am sure you can tell, I really enjoyed BENEATH THE SILVER ROSE.  It was well paced, well written with great characters and delightful dialogue. I would recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy fantasy.  Yes, there is violence and yes there is sex but nothing that is in your face explicit.  Once you are hooked, be sure to let me know what you think of this world.

***This book was given to me at no charge by the author in exchange for fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
May 1, 2018

Book Review: Pretty Little Killers

Still haunted by his wife’s murder—and stained by the blood of avenging it—FBI special agent Hatcher McGee can’t believe he’s being teamed up with rookie agent Korine Davenport. She is his most guilty secret—the one-night stand who almost cost him everything.

Korine has her own demons. As a child, she witnessed her father’s murder, and she’s spent her life waiting for the killer’s return. She and Hatcher are both looking for closure, but the disturbing case that draws them together could be their last.

When the mutilated body of a corrupt Savannah judge surfaces, Hatcher and Korine find themselves on the trail of a vigilante who is showing no mercy. Not for the predators who’ve gone free. And not for anyone who gets in the way.

As the body count rises, and as Hatcher’s and Korine’s own pasts unfold, they must risk their lives tracking a killer they’ve come to understand all too well. After all, the ends justify the means.
* * * * *
I have had the pleasure of reading and loving one of Ms. Herron's many series before so I definitely was excited to see that she is starting another romantic suspense series.  And I am happy to say that PRETTY LITTLE KILLERS exceeded my expectations!
Now to do that, the expected standards were met.  The pacing was flowing and spot on..  There was a lot of tension both internal and external which tighter and tighter as the story unfolds.  The dialogue was realistic and witty at times.
Where this book exceeds is in a couple areas which make it memorable.  When I look back on reading this book. the first thing that hits me is just how much I like the characters.  While the story focuses on Korine and Hatcher, all of the characters spring to life with Ms. Herron's words.  On some there's just a glimpse at what really makes them tick, on others you feel like you really get to know them.   
The next thing that springs to mind is the path to the ending.  A couple of the revelations caught me by surprise though in hindsight, I can pick up slight foreshadowing.  And while I found the ending satisfying, I am very curious just what the next book is going to add to the mix.
I do recommend PRETTY LITTLE KILLERS to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense. There is violence and some sex scenes that get a little heated which I doubt would surprise any of my readers. 
***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Book Review: Lennon Reborn

Lennon McCartney is not a broken man. Because being broken implies being whole once. When a horrific accident deprives him of the one thing he loves—his talent as a fierce and explosive drummer—Lennon is left with a life chained by an abusive mother, by crushing guilt over a tragic past. A life he doesn’t want.

Dr. Georgia Starr is a legend. She’s one of the most successful neurosurgeons in the world, coming from a long-line of respected New York doctors. Her life is built around solving complex medical cases in order to bring relief and hope to sick children. But the one problem she can’t solve is how to live her life. How to be shake loose the burden of being her elitist, arrogant father’s daughter. How to be free.

Can a man who despises his life and a woman who desperately needs to live find the answers, and love, with each other?

**Warning: Deals with dark themes and deep personal struggles.**

* * * * *

Here I thought that Nic's story in Nikan Rebuilt was a fantastic story but Lennon's had me in tears a couple times.  Just the thought that such an accomplished man would have such deep insecurities because of his childhood was very sad and deeply troubling. And the way that Ms. Cole brings us, the readers, so close to his soul is just another reason that she is now one of my favorite authors.

Actually Georgia, Gia, also suffers from another form of child abuse even though she is at the top of her game which just goes to show that abuse comes in many forms.  Now before you start to think that this book just shows the darker sides of our natures, let me assure you that there is also love, caring and deep friendships such as between Lennon and his 'brothers'.  This book shows that no matter how broken you feel, there is someone out there for you be it a lover or a friend.  You just have to let them in so that they can get to know you.

LENNON REBORN isn't a book that I would recommend for all readers as it does deal with some dark themes (there is plenty of hot sex) but it is a fantastic book that really shows how love can heal.  Oh and you get a chance to check back in  on Nic and Jenny.

***I received  this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Apr 30, 2018

Ready for Spring!

The flowers are blooming!  Even my lilac bush has rejoined the living and burst into flowers the day after I had remarked to my husband that I was worried about it.  Murphy's Law I guess.

Anyways spring means that it's time to bring out some of my lightweight gauzy tunics and I wanted some new earrings to go with them.  One of them has various purples in it so this pair of earrings came to life.  It just be a coincidence that they are just the color of my lilacs.

This pair is for a floaty tunic in teals that has a beaded yoke so I wanted a simple pair of earrings to compliment the beading rather than competing with it.  And I just love asymetrical earrings. I wonder how long it will take for my OCD hubby to notice them.

So have you made any new jewelry to celebrate the season?  Or if you are looking for some new jewelry, stop by Alchemee Designs.  And remember that 25% of every purchase is donated to Old Dog Haven.
Apr 29, 2018

Shaiha's Ramblings

So are you in shock?  It has been a while but I think that I will be starting to post more regularly especially as I have managed to mangle all my excuses.  Besides, I do enjoy blogging since it is how I reach out to the world.  You know when I was younger, I had never imagined myself as a hermit though I guess that the signs where there even back then.  I have always preferred the company of animals and books over that of most humans.

I guess that I was destined to be an online nerd.  And I was one with a goal ever since I won my first laptop.  I wanted a laptop that was actually portable yet be lightweight and I wanted to be able to sync my calendar on my phone with the one on my computer.

I didn't make any ground on the first but I was determined with on the second.  I went with an android phone as common wisdom was that they worked better with a PC.  And I went to war trying out various programs to get them to sync. I finally threw up my hands in despair and tried out an iPhone as they hadn't been bitten by the bigger is better bug yet.

Imagine my delight when the iPhone synced with the outlook calendar on my computer but that only led to an addiction where I want more and more things to sync.  And I didn't want to go more Apple as they are pricey.  Until I won some money at the casino and I picked up an iPad.  Finally I could sync between my PC, my phone and my tablet!!  Not going to talk about all the steps to do so with some items.  But I was happy, or least content, with my ability to share between devices.

And then my PC started to act up.  No battery power to speak of and was really lagging.  And I was tempted, and succumbed to an older MacBook for less then I could get a new PC.  I finally put my toe into the Mac world.  And I loved it but the computer was/is incredibly slow.  So I splurged.

Finally I had managed to accomplish my first goal!  My new baby, a MacBook Air, is really light.  Only three pounds.  But it has incredible battery life too!  Finally a laptop that is truly portable.  One that I can easily sit down with it on my lap anywhere and be able to post.

Oh but guess what.  Outlook 2016 doesn't sync with the iCloud even though PC versions did.  So I am back to square one with getting my calendars to sync.

Apr 28, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Smiley Face Killers

"This is the work of a group of Serial Killers; but they are a breed of Serial Killers we have never met before." 
From Bestselling author Steph Young; The Case of the Smiley Face Killers. Someone is taking young college men. Can be read as a Stand-alone, or as a sequel to Dead in the Water; Forever Awake. 
“There is a group in the country with 'cells' scattered in numerous cities large and small. There is a hierarchy in this group, it is very organized, and they are killing our loved ones. They usually choose males as their kill of choice and often these result in missing persons, later found in bodies of water.” 
It isn’t stopping; it appears to be escalating.... This is a puzzle. A very deadly one. Young college men are vanishing without a trace, only to be found dead; weeks or months later, in remote rivers or creeks, in areas that searched multiple times before; their bodies later discovered there, as though placed to be found. 
"Understand this; We take what we need and leave: This is necessary. Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on death feeds on life.” 
“The evil is rampant and deep and widespread. He was tortured, taken to the river and killed. Then his body was ‘positioned’ and taken to a different part of the water.” 

This is the work of a group of Serial Killers; but they are a breed of Serial Killers we have never met before.... 

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I have been addicted to True Crime podcasts for a few years now.  And yes, I am a sick individual as I love falling a sleep to one of them.  Though come of think of it, its probably good that I don't remember my dreams.

THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS is the first true crime book that I have read rather than just skimming through as I tend to prefer fiction.  It was time to take that first step into that world of nonfiction and this book was a good place to start.  Rather than a deep dive into any specific individual which would almost be impossible as there are far too many victims and possibly perpetuators, THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS focuses on the crime instead.

I can't really say that I 'enjoyed' the book simply because of the subject matter but I did find it a rather good read.  The author introduces us to some of the many victims of this horrifying crime and some of the many experts who are working to solve these cases.  I think that it did a really good job in helping to get the victim's names out there without going so in-depth that the reader bogs down.  One thing that I would like to see included in this book is a list of sources at the end or at the very least, a suggested reading list. 

I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for an overview of this unusual case  or an introduction to this genre however I do feel that people who have researched this case before would be disappointed.  I found some of the theories that the author brought up to be interesting and bears looking into so I feel that THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS has accomplished one of its goals.

***This book was given to me at no charge by the author in exchange for fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
Apr 16, 2018

Book Review: Shallow Grave

The truth won’t stay buried forever…

It’s been four months since forensic psychologist Claire Britten last crossed paths with danger. Finally feeling she can catch her breath, together with her partner, criminal lawyer Nick Markwood, Claire has settled into a new role, volunteering with a support group for children stressed by domestic violence. But a leisurely field trip to a wildlife sanctuary turns deadly, leaving Claire to question whether the death was an accident, suicide—or something far more sinister. 

Nick gets the South Shores team on the case, hunting down anyone with a potential grudge against the sanctuary. But their investigation turns wild when other attacks come too close to home. With a hostile predator on the loose, Nick and Claire will have to race to unbury the truth before a killer wipes them from the endangered-species list for good.

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I was so happy when I saw that Ms. Harper had put out another book in her South Shores series!  This is a series that I have been following from the beginning because I love the characters. And there is quite the cast which is why I do recommend starting this series from the beginning.  Now that I states that, I do need to let it be known that SHALLOW GRAVE can be read as a stand alone book but you will be missing a lot of history of the characters that is brought up occasionally.  

SHALLOW GRAVE does start off slow enough that I did start wondering if this series had perhaps lost its spark but I am happy to report it isn't so.   The tension and pacing does pick up quite nicely by chapter three and by the next chapter, I was invested (reinvested) in the characters and the mystery to the point that I ended up staying up a bit late on a work night.

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the book and it was a very good object lesson to myself to give a book more time to develop. The ending satisfied my curiosity yet I still have more questions that will hopefully be answered in the next book.  I do think that my readers who enjoy romantic suspense would like this book especially if they have been following the series.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Apr 10, 2018

Book Review: The Longest Silence

A killer stole her voice. Now she's ready to take it back. Don't miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAYbestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years--or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn't something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.

But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She's finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can't deny he finds Jo compelling--he's just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer...

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This is a series that I have been following since the very first book and I do have to say that each book has only gotten better.  If you are interested in my reviews of the other books in the series, just click on the titles.

Now Ms Webb is quite the accomplished writer and if you would like to check out all of her series just click here to be taken to her website.

THE LONGEST SILENCE centers about Tony who was one of the secondary characters in the first few books but one whose story I wanted to learn more about.  His niece has been taken and it is going to take all his skill along with help from Joanna to find her.

This book has all the tension and sharp turns that you would expect from Ms. Webb.  We also are given quite the insight into the characters that make it all the easier to relate and care for them.  The pacing is taut, the dialogue on point and goal is one that we can all cheer for.

I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy a well written romantic suspense which is draw you into the story.  While this book is the fifth in the series,  it is well enough written to enjoy on its own though I do recommend starting from the beginning of the series.

***I received  this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author.