Dec 15, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Days 13

Our tea for the day isn't really a tea.  Instead it's a herbal tinsune which is basically herbs steeped in boiling water.  For the most part, I am not a big fan because I want my caffeine but there are a few exceptions such as chamomile.  And this beautiful Peppermint which has that wonderful minty aroma and it's oh so refreshing.

I will have to pick up a box of this tea because I love a good mint tea after a heavy meal.  Perks me right back up.

I will be back tomorrow with a new tea to try.  Be sure to stop by.
Dec 14, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Days 11 & 12

You know, I am not really sure just how I got so far behind we are about up to date.  Just one more of the double posts unless I manage to get off track again.  Thank you so much for staying with me on this journey with it's unexpected side trips.

The next stop on our journey is one of my favorite teas, Wuyi Oolong.  This is a rock oolong with the beautiful long leaves.  This is another tea where it is almost impossible to find a decent cup in a tea bag.  I quite enjoyed this oolong.  It was lightly floral with a full bodied, rounded taste.  There is a lingering aftertaste of minerals.  This tea will become a must buy for me.

My next tea is also right in my ballpark as Yunnans happen to be one of my favorite black teas.  They are known for their bright peppery flavor.  Adagio's Golden Yunnan is an excellent example of this variety of tea.  I found it to have the rich flavors of stone fruit, tobacco and pepper.  It's so smooth that this is a black tea that is really easy to drink without any additives.  This is actually a tea that I plan on picking up in loose leaf because I can see myself drinking it by the pot.

Now be sure to come back tomorrow for another cuppa tea..
Dec 13, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Days 9 & 10

I am sorry.  The reason that I haven't been posting regularly is due to some health issues that I have been dealing with. I have been trying out the teas every day though.

Today was our first adventure in the land of White Teas.  Silver Needle is one of the more well known white teas.  This is an early spring tea which is known for its delicacy.   Perhaps due to this delicacy, it is almost impossible to find a decent silver needle in a bag.  I am happy to say that quest is over.

This tea has a light floral aroma with a hint of peaches which carries into the flavor itself.  Very smooth with a touch of natural sweetness, this is a tea to sip while contemplating your day.  I will definitely be picking up some for my cabinet.

This next tea,  Earl Grey, had a starring role in Star Trek.  Earl Grey is distinctive with its bergamot and is one that can be really hit or miss with some people.  And I happen to be one of those.  Thank goodness that this particular version was a hit.  The dry leaves have a strong citrusy aroma which fades somewhat as the tea steeps.  The flavor is smooth and well rounded with just enough bergamot to make this cup extra refreshing.  This tea definitely goes onto the short list of teas that I am considering picking up for myself.

Tomorrow I will have another couple tea reviews to bring us back up to date.  So how are you enjoying these reviews?  I have heard from one person that they helped her decide on a holiday gift.
Dec 10, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Days 7 and 8

Took the weekend off and tried to get more into the Christmas spirit by watching a Christmas movie. I know that it might surprise folks but I have watched very few.  Well the one that I choose was on Neflix and I ended up losing interest rather quickly but could have just been the movie so I will try again.

One thing that I haven't lost interest in is the Adagio Tea Advent Calendar.  I am looking forward to a nice surprise every evening.  I just wish that Adagio would put one out for an entire year.

When I opened up the little door for Saturday, I discovered another green tea, Citrus Green,  which I passed off to M.  According to her, this tea has a really fresh taste with the lemon and lime flavors.  She also found it refreshing.

Now on Sunday, there was a tea much more up my line, Pumpkin Spice.  This is the time of year where everything is pumpkin spice; candles, coffee, muffins and finally tea.   I finally get to jump the that train and I have to say that I am not really sure what all the hype is about.  Now don't get me wrong.  This is a yummy tea but it reminds me of a spiced chai.  I guess that I was really looking for more pumpkin flavor.

Neither of the teas that I sampled this weekend will be making it into rotation in my tea cupboard.  How about yours?

Check back tomorrow to see what Monday brings.

Dec 7, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Day6

And today we get to try out yet another style of tea.  I love the fact that we have been able to check out black, green and now white all in the first week!  Our tea today is Blueberry White!

Now I don't know why but I love blueberry teas even though they never seem to taste like fresh blueberries.  This tea does come closer than a lot of them though with a flavor that reminds me of wild blueberries.  The white tea itself is smooth and delicate.  Oh and the aroma is to die for!

This tea is definitely one that will be joining my tea lineup for 2019.  For me, it is the perfect tea to wind up the day with; smooth, slightly sweet and low in caffeine.

Now I wonder where tomorrow will take us?  Any guesses?
Dec 6, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Day 5

Today was one of those days where I did manage to achieve my goal but it required a lot of hurry up and wait.  One of those days where I was really looking forward to opening up my Adagio Tea Advent Calendar.

The next stop on our journey is China where you might find Dragonwell Tea.  This is pan roasted green tea which is known for a sweet, delicate flavor.  Now I don't care for green tea at all so I passed this over to a friend to try.  According to M, it's a really smooth tea that tastes 'green' like the nature.

As you can probably guess, this tea won't be going into my line up simply because I don't care for vegetal teas.  Though it has been requested that I keep some around for M.
Dec 5, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Day 4

We are still in the world of black teas with today's selection, Chestnut Tea.  This is a black tea flavored by roasted chestnuts.  I have to admit that I have always been curious about this tea especially as I adore hazelnut teas.

When I first brewed this up, I wasn't impressed by the aroma.  It was nutty but in a funky way.  And I felt the same way upon my first taste.  The tea was smooth but had a harsh aftertaste in that funky nut way.  Once I added a bit of raw sugar and cream, I had a drinkable cup of tea.

For myself personally, I wouldn't stock this tea.   I am on the fence about whether to recommend this tea as the flavor that I find so objectionable before being doctored might just be the chestnut flavor itself.  It does have a rather unusual taste so I would recommend ordering a sample to find out whether this is a tea that you will like.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the next stop in the journey
Dec 4, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Day 3

This evening we are back to black tea, English Breakfast Tea.  This style tea actually has a lot of memories for me as it was the beginning of my tea journey and one of the only teas I drank for years.This is a tea that usually requires a bit of cream and sugar to make palatable as it can be quite astringent.  In fact, it is designed to be enjoyed in this fashion.

I find Adagio's version of this style quite delightful.  The taste is bold yet lacks a lot of the customary bitterness so it actually can be enjoyed no matter which additives you prefer even if it is a total lack of them.  For a tea 'bag', this is one of the better ones and one that I think will make it into my cabinet especially in the winter so that I can be assured a decent cuppa tea no matter where I go.
Dec 3, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Advent Journey Day 2

Before I started this...well what I am calling a journey, I intentionally decided not to look up the teas that I might encounter.  This way I have a delightful surprise to look forward to each day and one that I can share with everyone.

When I opened up my door for December 2nd, I was happy to see that this journey appears to wander into the realms of different style teas as well as herbal infusions.  Our tea today is Vanilla Rooibos.  Hmmmm. Gingerbread and Vanilla.  Am I seeing a trend?

Now I have always enjoyed rooibos which has a lot going for it.  First of all, it is naturally caffeine free which makes it a nice treat in the evenings.  And it has pleasant nutty flavor.  The downside is that the blends are usually so fine that they make a mess of my teapot.  And I hate to say that it is a pretty big downside so I typically don't have any in stash.

I think that is about to change.  This infusion has a light nutty taste along with a delightful vanilla flavor.  And best of all is the fact that is all nicely packaged together is a nice pyramid sachet! No mess, no muss.  I think that a box will find its way to my tea stash.

Be sure to pop by tomorrow for the next step in our tea journey.
Dec 2, 2018

Review: Adagio Tea Journey Day 1

I know that it will come as no surprise to anyone that I am a teaholic.  Any while I don't tend to do a lot of the holidays, there are a couple traditions that cling too.  One is going out to see a movie with my husband on Christmas.  This year we are going to see the the next movie in the Fantastic Beasts saga.  The other tradition is one that I plan to share with you, my readers.

I always pick up some new teas to check out in December so that I have some new favorites to start the new year with.  This year my quest for samples has gotten much easier which is a good thing with my wacky health. Introducing Adagio Teas' Advent Calendar!  Now I will be the first to admit that I would have preferred it if it said something like 'Happy Holidays' simply because there are folks out there that would like an advent calendar even if the countdown isn't to Christmas.

What I find rather exciting about this calendar is that it is the perfect gift for anyone that enjoys teas and is open to trying some new ones.  And let's face it, most of these calendars are designed for the kids.  Here one finally for adults!  Start out each day with a new cup of hot tea to get you ready for the rounds shopping and parties.

Since this is what I am planning on doing, I want to take you along on my journey with a new review each day.  These reviews will be running a day behind since I tend to prefer my tea in the afternoon so expect a new episode to head your way each morning.

Now my tea for December 1st is Gingerbread Tea.  This is a black tea with bits of crystallized ginger and what looks like orange bits.  While this is a full leaf tea, a lot of the leaves were rather small.  Possibly broken in shipment.

This is a mild tea with just hints of ginger and I wasn't able to coax out any orange.  There is a vanilla taste that overrides the ginger rather than enhancing it.  I didn't care for it plain but with a bit of half-n-half and raw sugar with begins to taste a bit like gingerbread cookies.

This is not a tea that I would put into rotation in my own home but then I really like the taste of ginger and would have liked it to have a bolder presence.

Now be sure to stop again tomorrow to see what our next tea is and whether it is one that I will be adding to my own tea stash.

**This item was given to me at no charge by Adagio Teas in exchange for fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
Oct 18, 2018

Far Too Quiet

I have been far too quiet for far too long and I really need to get back into the habit of chatting with everyone.  This year has definitely been an interesting year so far and a lot of my normal was sideswiped.

As I have mentioned on Facebook, and perhaps here, I started out this year back in March by being laid low with vertigo attacks that were hitting me three to five times a day and lasting up to forty-five minutes.  Yeah I spent a lot of time flat on my back because I had NO idea when they would hit.  Pooka pretty much became my constant companion during this time.

Finally managed to determine that I have been blessed with Meniere's Disease.  The symptoms have really backed off though I do get random dizzy spells and have had vertigo attacks out of the blue.  Not a lot of fun when you get hit by one when driving as nausea is always part of the parcel.  Anyways I was able to get back to work after six weeks.

This summer was actually pretty nice though the problem with the tendonitis in my elbow is still hanging about.   I was supposed to go get some physical therapy done right about the time the vertigo was hitting hard.

Our household has grown by two.  One is Conal's girlfriend, Mavis, who has been a very pleasant addition to the house though it is strange that even though I never had kids, I seem to be putting the finishing touches to them.

The other is a permanent addition.  One of my coworkers' cats had kitten and I told her that I would take one if there was a polydactyl. And there was.  Almost like I put in an order for one.  Meet Diablo's Echo.  We actually tried to name him Echo since he loves to chat with you but he refuses to answer to it.  And yes, he does answer to Diablo.

And now I am back off work again until at least November.  Having a lot of issues with constant exhaustion.  Getting up and making breakfast is enough to send me back to bed for a nap.  But that doesn't phase me as much as how my brain shuts down when I am the slightest tired or stressed.

There's been more happening but I don't want to make this post too long.  Just wanted to let everyone know that yes I am still alive.
Sep 27, 2018

Book Review: Desperate Girls

Defense attorney Brynn Holloran is right at home among cops, criminals, and tough-as-nails prosecutors. With her sharp wit and pointed words, she has a tendency to intimidate, and she likes it that way. She’s a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, but in her personal life, she’s a mess.

When a vicious murderer she once helped prosecute resurfaces and starts a killing spree to wipeout those who put him behind bars, one thing becomes clear: Brynn needs to run for her life.

With no help from the police, Brynn is forced to take matters into her own hands, turning to a private security firm for protection. But when Brynn defies advice and gets involved in the investigation, even the former Secret Service agent assigned to protect her may not be able to keep her safe. With every new clue she discovers, Brynn is pulled back into the vortex of a disturbing case from her past.

As the clock ticks down on a manhunt, Brynn’s desperate search for the truth unearths long-buried secrets and reignites a killer’s fury.

* * * * *

I have to admit that I am a sucker for a well written romantic suspense and that I can't believe that it has taken this long to discover Ms. Griffin.  DESPERATE GIRLS has everything needed to keep you glued to the pages and holding on tight through all the twists and turns.

I just love Brynn!  She is a tough as nails defense attorney with her low-cut shirts and high heels.  And she's not a bit happy with being assigned a bodyguard team by her boss.  Erik is an utter professional.  His job is to be alert at all times to anything that might endanger his client.  He just didn't plan on Brynn who refuses to be cooperative unless he talks everything out with her first especially as she doesn't feel that she is in any real danger.

DESPERATE GIRLS is one of those books that I just couldn't put down.  There was danger coming from a new direction every time they turned around.  And the heat between Brynn and Erik was combustable.  The tension continues to build up until the shocking conclusion.  I highly recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy the romantic suspense genre.  It's well worth the read!!

***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. 

Sep 25, 2018

Book Review: The Little Shop of Found Things

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.

It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she's confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.

While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

* * * * *

I really wasn't quite sure what I was getting into when I started to read THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS.  I have seen it compared to Outlander but with the exception of the time travel, I didn't really find them to be similar. I just didn't get the same depth of being immersed in the past.  Now that being said, I have to admit that I throughly enjoyed reading this book.

There were a couple things that gave THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS gold stars.  I really enjoyed getting to know the characters.  Xanthe is a strong woman who would do anything to protect er mother including willingly going into the past to save another woman's daughter.  Not being really close to my own family, Xanthe's bond with her mother was something that I treasured about her character.  

All of the secondary characters are as well drawn as Xanthe.  Her mother Flora is a also a very strong women despite her disability.  I also really like Liam who happens to own the local garage for classic cars and really hope to get to know him better in the next book in this series,

Now while I don't feel immersed in 17th century England, I did feel that way about the small town that Xanthe and Flora had recently moved too.  The warmth of their new neighbors radiate from the pages and  make me want to head there on vacation.

I do think that my readers who enjoy time travel mixed with an interesting mystery will really enjoy this book.  This is the first book in the series and I am looking forward to the next part in this series.  There is some talk of violence and sex but nothing in your face so this book is safe for all ages.

***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 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.