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.