Aug 24, 2018

Book Review: Ruthless Magic

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die... or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents' low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

* * * * *

I love it when I stumble across a new young adult fantasy!  And this one has it all.  There are a variety of characters from different backgrounds all seeking to pass a test so that they can keep their magic.   We really get to know some of these characters as the point of view does jump between a few of the main ones.  

RUTHLESS MAGIC is really a coming of age story.  Everyone is old enough that they had applied to one of the magical colleges and were refused.   Now they have to dig deep into themselves and make some unlikely allies to be able to survive.  Along the way, they uncover some information that will cause them to  wonder if they really want to succeed.

I really think that any reader who enjoyed Harry Potter would enjoy stepping into this new world of Ms. Crewe.  I devoured this book in one day and am now rather impatiently waiting for the next in 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. 

Aug 18, 2018

Pine Ridge Treasures Summer Romance Blog Hop

Okay color me almost impressed.  I managed to get my muse to cooperate enough that I managed to get pieces finished for two posts this week.  Things are looking up.

Now is when I would usually show off the kit that I received from Lisa of Pine Ridge Treasure sent all of us.  The only problem is that I can't find it.  Nope not just the pic but the entire kit.  That's what I get for not picking it up off the table and putting it away. Someone else put it away and can't remember where.  Oh it will reappear but not in time for this hop.  So I decided to out together a couple of necklaces that fit the color path of purple.

This first necklace features an art tile from Kari Asbury from back in the days when she still made them.  That butterfly reminds me of summer and this necklace is something that I would wear out of a first date paired with a flirty sundress.

Now this necklace would be for a fun date playing on the beach, hitting the artist's markets and finishing the day up eating crab complete with a bib.  This necklace was hand-knotted on a heavy purple cord so it would be able to stand up to whatever the day dished out.

And now be sure to check out what everyone else made from the actual kits.  I can't wait to hop around and feast myself on some eye candy...

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak and Renee Edbrooke, Cianci Blue
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool Jewelry
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings
Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Kari Asbury, Design Challenges

Aug 16, 2018

Allegory Gallery Design Coral Coast

I can't believe it!  I finally managed to complete a design challenge.  I think that this is my first for the year.  I can only hope that it means that at least part of my mojo is coming back.

Anyways, I just happened onto Facebook just in time to see the announcement for this kit from Allegory Gallery. And just look at that lovely peach and coral color!  And I just love that tiny silver coral focal.  So dainty.

In fact, it inspired my first necklace.  That branch was so delicate so I wanted to go simple so it wouldn't be overpowered.   That was actually more difficult then I thought that it would be since the holes on about 2/3s of the coral were too small for the wire I was using.

This next necklace is in a totally different vein as I wanted to play up all that luscious color.  Since some of the beads were vintage lucite, I choose a rich Art Deco style medallion for a focal. Loads of gold beads add a touch of luxe to the necklace.

To check out what other designer have made with the same kit,  head over to the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook group,

Aug 10, 2018

Book Review: Believe Me

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

* * * * *

I have always been partial to psychological thrillers as they can cause me to question long held beliefs however I have always been able to decipher what is real and what isn't from the character's perspective.  Not so with BELIEVE ME.  Just as soon as I start to figure out just what is happening in Claire's life when the ground is swept away and I have to start questioning reality.  

I actually found the beginning of this book to be a bit slow but it quickly picked up and I almost wished that things would slow down a bit so that I could figure out if anything that is happening is real or if I (or Claire) just dreamed it all.  I was literally glued to my iPad as the tale continued as if I was going to miss something important as the ride continued. 

I don't want to give away the story but I do want to highly recommend BELIEVE ME to anyone that enjoys a good thriller.  This book will have you questioning everything that you read and think that you know.  It does contain violence  which can be graphic and some sex that isn't.  Be sure to let me know what you think of this book.  Did it baffle and intrigue you as much as it did me?

***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. 

Aug 8, 2018

Book Review: Deep Cover


Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty―at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancée nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI Agent Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together…

Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly―and the stakes rise to dangerous heights―the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all…

* * * * *

I was originally introduced to Ms. Cole's writing though another on of her series, Preload, and want immediately impressed me about her writing is her ability to dive into darker topics and make it all real to her readers.  It was through her writing that I discovered some of the issues and prejudice that members of Canada's First Nations undergo and how the foster care system works in that country.  I was able to delve deeper into how some adults react after undergoing horrific abuse as a children.  And I met some strong women who manage to help those they love heal and start to become whole. 

DEEP COVER is the first that I have read in her Love Over Duty series and while the Cabe's backstory isn't as dark as some of the members of Preload, I found it moving and above all, real.  He has always been attracted to strong women but that also means that he can lose them to danger.  Now he has to learn how not to allow those losses to define him.

I really liked Amy though it boggles my mind how the daughter of a professional Vegas poker player can become a FBI agent.  She hasn't had a spark of interest in a man since a supervisor sexually harassed her. And becoming attracted to someone that she is working with didn't please her in the slightest.  Now just to keep that attraction from effecting their mission together.

I do recommend DEEP COVER as it has interesting and well developed characters, both primary and secondary, along with a  storyline that will hold your interest.  There is a tension both from their attraction and their mission that starts slowly and ratchets its way skyward as the story goes on.  There are moments of humor gives readers a breather before the danger roars back into play.  

I think that any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense will really enjoy DEEP COVER.  It does stand really well on its own though I do recommend starting from the beginning simply so you don't have to search up the backlist later.  This book does deal with illegal gambling, and the sex trade of women.  There are also some rather hot sex scenes and violence so consider yourself warned.  

***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. 
Aug 7, 2018

Book Review: Defending Allye

Ever since his rescue op off the Pacific Coast, Mountain Mercenary Gray Rogers hasn’t been able to forget his latest “job”—Allye Martin. Any other woman would have panicked during a rescue, but the wily dancer kept her cool—even after being kidnapped by an elusive human trafficker. And Gray couldn’t be happier when a grateful Allye follows him home to Colorado Springs…

For Allye, finding sanctuary in the arms—and bed—of the former Navy SEAL is only temporary. People are disappearing off the streets of San Francisco, victims of the same underground trade that targeted her, and Allye could be the key to dismantling the entire operation. She’s willing to do anything to bring them down. Gray isn’t—for good reason. But you don’t say no to a tough girl like Allye who refuses to play it safe.

Now Gray is risking more than ever before. The Mountain Mercenaries have his back. But is it enough to keep the woman he loves out of harm’s way?

* * * * *

Another winner for Ms. Stokes!  From the first page, I found myself hooked as Grey gets ready to dive into the ocean.  And the tension and pacing just goes up from there!  There is seriously never a dull moment from the very beginning of this action packed romantic suspense. And the best part?  This is the first book in this series!

I don't think the I have ever met a character that I immediately related to as much as Allye.  When she gets frightened, she gets snarky.  No freaking out for her.  No sir.  At least not until the emergency is over. 

I also found Gray interesting.  He is totally in control of himself and his feelings but Allye keeps taking him totally by surprise.  And his band of friends... No let me correct that.  His brothers are also intriguing characters that I am looking forward to meeting again.  

Actually we have met one of his brothers, Ryder, in the conclusion of another series, Ace Security.  It was actually through that series that I discovered Ms. Stoker's writing.  And I do have to say that if you enjoy unique, definite not run of the mill heroines and totally hot heroes overcoming the obstacles and dangers that seek them out, then check out her books.     

I do recommend DEFENDING ALLYE to any of my readers who enjoy a fast paced romantic suspense.  And now for the gentle warning.  There is a lot of sex and violence but you already knew that based on the genre.  Now what are you waiting for?  Go pick up your own copy.  Oh and the links below are for the Ace Security series that comes right before.  

***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 29, 2018

A little bit of this and that

I have really fallen behind this year.  After being laid up in bed for a month with that vertigo,  I just haven't had any energy.  Well that is starting to change now that I am back on 4 10s.  Having that extra day off which I have designated as my drone day seems to give me more energy on all the other days.

I have actually found a semi-local canasta game that meets every couple weeks.  You know, if you had asked me ten years ago how hard it would be to find a local card game that doesn't involve gambling, I would have thought that it would be easy.  Not so.  Not even with the internet.  And its not like I am even picky on which game as  I play them all though canasta is near and dear to my heart as my Gram taught me to play.  Anyways, it took a bit of a search but I finally found one through meet-up.

Also now that I have energy, my muse is starting to come back.  But my studio is infested with fleas.   And I have NO bloody idea where they are coming from as the rest of the house doesn't have them.  I bombed it once and am going to do it again on Wednesday.  Cross your fingers for me that it works this time.

Oh, have you ever heard of the Sash Bag?  Check them out!  Doesn't that look like the way to go?  I have always carried a big purse but I am finding that they are getting smaller and smaller especially as I need to have a walking stick if I am covering any open ground. But these you wear just like a piece of clothing.   And now they are doing a Kickstarter campaign where you can even get them with a square pocket perfect for carrying an iPad!  Oh and they come in Rose Gold.  Drool!

Oh.  I almost forgot.  I sold my first piece of jewelry through Alchemee Designs and donated $22.50 to Old Dog Haven.  That felt so good!  Now to sell more.  Of course, it would help it I could even get into my studio to be able to take pics...

Well I am off.  Have far too much email to weed through.

Jul 22, 2018

Book Review: Nyxia Unleashed

Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all. Discover book two in the trilogy Marie Lu called, “a high-octance thriller.”

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?

* * * * * 

NYXIA UNLEASHED picks right back up where Nyxia ends which can be fantastic if you just finished the first book and want to dive into the second.  Not quite so good when you have had to wait a few months to get your hands on it as all the tension has eased off quite a bit and you might have to get to know the characters again.  You can read NYXIA UNLEASED as a stand alone but you will miss a lot of the nuances to the characters so I don't suggest it.  

This book is all about what happens when you take a bunch of teenagers, train them to be a weapon and they find out just how much you have been lying to them.  Sure there isn't much that a bunch of kids can do against a huge corporation, or is there?   Emmett and the group continue to grow and form into a unit, a family.  And it is a family that will stop at nothing to make things right.

NYXIA UNLEASHED is the middle book with all the associated issues of the middle child.  It's not a new or fresh as the first born but it has to hold our interest enough that we will continue onto the final and hopefully spectacular conclusion of the final child.  I feel that  this book more then succeeded.  

It took a few pages for my brain to bring me back up to speed on the characters but it didn't take them long for me to become entranced again. And we got to learn more about the other team that was introduced towards the end of Nyxia.  And there are definitely some interesting characters in that bunch such as Morning who is a good match and compliment for Emmett.  There were more then enough twists and turns to engage and hold my interest.  And now I can't wait for the final book!

I do highly recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy character driven science fiction.  This is a young adult series but really it is one that would appeal to readers of all ages.   Scott Reintgen is an author to keep an eye on and just click here to be taken to his website.

***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 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.