Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

Secrets in Death Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eve Dallas has always been an amazing observational. She can look at a room once and describe, in detail, what most of the people look like, are wearing and more. But when Larinda Mars is murdered in the very bar she is having after work drinks at, she has no recollection of the suspect. And although Eve really dislikes the murder victim, she must stand for her non-the-less. And isn't just even worse that is happened with her right there?

Since this is book #45 in this series some of the guesswork about who the killer is has become typical for readers, but following the investigation to the evidence needed is still fun. And being able to get to spend time with Eve and Roarke at their super awesome house is great too! Their personal lives, relationship and friends are still some of the best parts of this series and this one doesn't leave you hanging.

I am beginning to wonder if less and less time is passing between each novel though. I wonder if the author has a reason for doing this? Early books would have weeks or months passing between novels and now it's just a handful of days. And since the books come out a year apart it is a bit difficult to remember the small details of the previous novel that are mentioned.

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Review: Dark Legacy by Christine Feehan

Dark Legacy Dark Legacy by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dragomir is an ancient Carpathian that is doing his duty to protect the Carpathian people but also avoiding everyone since he's ready to end his battle with the darkness. Emeline Sanchez has survived the most atrocious things at the hands of vampires, Vadim Malinov in particular, but now she must face more as the child in her womb, Vadim's child, is in danger.

These two characters are magnificent together and apart. Their journey to each other is unique in many ways but also a little bit typical of books in the Dark Carpathian series since this is the 27th book. You can tell that Ms. Feehan is doing her best to make things new and interesting for readers without being repetitive. Emeline represents a new way to fight off the vampire threat while also presenting a way to introduce new avenues to pursue.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Everstar by Laura Jo Phillips

Daughter of the Everstar Daughter of the Everstar by Laura Jo Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, did I love this book! As a huge fan of Laura Jo Phillips and all of her other novels/series, of course, I was going to read this one. And she definitely meets the expectations of greatness with this novel. Now, I have no idea if this is going to be a part of a series or not, but it definitely has the potential for it and I do hope it does.

Toni makes a wish in a wishing well and is given the choice to have it fulfilled in another realm that needs her help. With three promises in her cap: anyone who tries to rape her will die, no lasting harm can come to her and she cannot die; Toni has one year to find what she's looking for and decide if she wants to stay in this new realm.

Ronan is a place of former magic, where the people have had to relearn how to do everything after their magic was shattered. But not to worry, they have plenty of time to do it since they have a cure for aging. The bigger problem they face is that there haven't been any children born in over three hundred years, then the Bright Queen, a powerful magical creature that favors their world, announces that she will be bringing a Bright Lady to Ronan. This Bright Lady will have a choice to wed one of the head of the Houses of Ronan and be able to produce children.

Not everyone is happy with this announcement, and Toni must navigate through treachery, desire for both of the brothers that lead Wolf House and the plots and schemes of their crazy female relatives. This is a menage story with twists, turns and wonderful characters!

I was up until 2:30 in the morning reading this on a work night and have no idea what I accomplished at work the next day since I still hadn't finished and it was all I could think about. Excellent!!

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Review: Pretty Kitten by May Sage

Pretty Kitten Pretty Kitten by May Sage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book two in the Age of Night series was a fun addition to this new read I've recently discovered. Following shortly after book 1 (Kitty Cat) finishes, Duante has been fighting his attraction to Clari since they met because she is human and not an acceptable mate. But when his new-born nephew turns out to be a "turner," a rare type of shifter that can convert humans with just a bite, which is forbidden and death-sentence worthy also, Clari is bitten by the little cub and must deal with the possibility of shifting.

And, oh, when it gets out that baby Zachary is a turner, all other shifters ban together to attack and kill both Zachary and Clari. Weird hits the fan in this novel when metaphysical beings come out of hiding to help protect this small clan and prevent this little infant/cub from being destroyed.

A fun, easy read that follow these fun characters and bizarre clan. Looking forward to future novels.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fifty Shades Trilogy

Anyways, back to the novels.  As many of you probably know now that there are movies out, this is a romance BDSM trilogy.  There are a lot of books within this genre but it's mostly a hush-hush thing that isn't in the public eye.  The massive popularity of these novels made this subject a mainstream topic of conversation.  And I think that's wonderful!  I'm a big advocate for the live and let live mentality.  What people do in their private lives: who they love, how they love, what they believe in; I'm okay with all of it.  As long as your beliefs aren't shoved under my nose and you're not trying to force them on me, go for it.  I actually really enjoy reading BDSM and erotic romance novels myself.

Image result for fifty shades of grey trilogy
After years of putting it off because of it's mainstream popularity, I finally picked up the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James to read.  Now, don't get me wrong I read a lot of mainstream novels when they are popular and I read other books in this genre so it wasn't any of that that put me off reading them for so long.  It was the self-publishing, HUGE number of typos and grammatical errors that were prevalent in early editions.  As a English major and a Librarian there are only so many of those I'm willing to overlook before it becomes a problem for me!!!

I've learned a lot from books and these novels are a lot about teaching about BDSM and what it means.  Anastasia is such a naive young female that has almost no knowledge of anything sexual, which is unusual in the free market of information available today, and Christian is such a wounded, jaded character.  What's not to love?  Throughout these novels we are confronted with the realistic horrors of the world and the things that people do to one another, but also who people can come together to help heal each other.  It's a great representation of today's society.  These do end up being a wonderful trilogy that is worth reading if you don't mind the subject matter described.  It's eye-opening and all about understanding and accepting others even when it involves something that is unfamiliar.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review: Bear's Touch: A Clan Bear Paranormal Shifter Romance by Emma Alisyn

Bear's Touch: A Clan Bear Paranormal Shifter Romance Bear's Touch: A Clan Bear Paranormal Shifter Romance by Emma Alisyn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an excellent book. I've taken to really like bear shifter novels, they're all so different. There are many different ways that bear clans could be different from typical shifter novels. And that's not even taking into account the world surrounding the shifter community. This one was fun, intricate and confusing at times. Lea is a strong female bear shifter that is also a healer. But the healer concept is one that I've never seen because she also has a defensive, venomous weapon touch. Between that and her extreme need of healers to have an alpha to lean on in order to not get 'lost' while immersed in healing.

Yurii is the alpha bear that asked for a healer's help when his clan is attacked by dragons. Yes, dragons. Awesome! Lea swoops in and is stubborn and crazy enough to shake everything up for this bear clan, get unexpected mated to the alpha and then pregnant. Not only is she apparently surprising fertile for a healer, but healers also have a truncated and difficult time while pregnant and, oh yeah, there's still problems with dragons.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the intricacies involved in this novel and actually started re-reading it right after finishing because I felt that I'd missed some of the details. All around excellent!

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review: The Emperor's Arrow by Lauren D.M. Smith

The Emperor's Arrow The Emperor's Arrow by Lauren D.M. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an amazingly interesting story with a kick-ass warrior female and strong Emperor that are bound to each other. The world that Ms. Smith builds is unique and one that grabs readers from the very beginning. In a world recently conquered by a legendary Emperor, a call for brides from all the powerful families has been made. Everyone must send someone with the necessary blood ties. The Amazi are some of the best warriors in the Empire, so much so that they're only called to fight when it's absolutely the most dire of needs. They are legends and little is known about them since they rarely leave their island. Evony has been elected to represent her people in the bride call.

Little does she know that more than just her presence is required to pacify the Emperor. He'll need her skills and help even though she knows nothing about court and intrigue. Her warrior skills make such an impression on the soldiers around the palace that she finds herself drawn into the secret reason for putting out the bride call in the first place. Traitors are everywhere and without her, Emperor Galen will not survive the coming battle.

The world created in this novel was wonderful. With hints of historical China, Rome, the Amazons and more all thrown into one big intrigue plot. I was up until two in the morning on a work night, not able to put it down! The growing relationship between Evony and Galen and having the female character be the incredible warrior all combined to make a phenomenal read!

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Review: Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle

Wolf's Mate Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An excellent and thrilling read! Celia Kyle has created a wonderful world full of shifters that has many different aspects of it. Having read some of her other novels I was thrilled to discover that this one takes place in the same world. Declan is a wonderful alpha male that has a screwed up opinion of himself due to the pack he grew up in but he is a magnificent character. He was both aggressive to an extreme and super protective of Abby.

Abby is a very relatable cougar shifter that has a sad past herself that she has overcome to become a boring, normal accountant. She thinks her life is happy. But she gets herself into trouble during what should be a routine audit; uncovering accounts funding a shifter hate group. She's immediately thrown into incredible danger and doesn't know what to do, except run. In steps Declan, who's current mission has him staking out the company Abby's auditing. His inexplicable attraction to Abby has been ignorable until she's in danger.

Together they must overcome a crazy situation and possible help uncover a spy in their ranks all the while battling an attraction and impossible situation. A quick read, but extremely enjoyable story! I did receive this novel as an ARC.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got around to reading this, long after it was so popular with book clubs and after the movies been out for a while. This one had me going back and forth from "I really like it" to "what is this?" on a massive scale. I completely sympathized with Isabella but at the same time was COMPLETELY frustrated and pissed off by her. She hid her motivations behind God and Lucy and that was so frustrating to me. Just admit the truth behind your reasoning and move on.

I did really like Tom's character though and the information about the lighthouse was pretty cool since I live in NC and there are a lot of historic lighthouse around. It wasn't until the end that I was finally able to admit to myself and others that I liked this book.  If it had ended differently I'm not sure what I would have done.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

DIY Mirror Frame

I enjoy looking through Pinterest for crafting and home DIY ideas as much as the next guy.  I saw this project there initially.  What can be frustrating though is that you get the simple idea in your head and the next time you're at Home Depot or Lowes you raid the proper section for the wood pieces you think you'll need to accomplish this.  And great, it's less then $30 that you've spent on materials.  But what you don't think of when you're out getting the pieces needed is the logistics behind actually accomplishing this.  So you get home and cut your wood to the proper size (if necessary) and  you're ready to go.  Only, now what?  All you did in Pinterest was look at the pretty picture for the idea.  You have absolutely no idea how to actually attach your materials to a mirror. 

Turns out, after reading a couple of blogs thoroughly, this is much easier than you would think.  With some Loctite and glue gun you can attach your 'frame' to the mirror without having to stand there for an hour holding everything in place while you're waiting for glue to dry.

Materials Needed:
  1. Loctite
  2. Glue gun and glue sticks
  3. Window/door trim of your choice
  4. Paint of your choice
 Tips that make this easier.
  • Have patience while painting your wood the proper color and remember that you need to paint the back of the trim also because it will be reflected in the mirror.  
  • Make sure the glue gun is really hot and glue melted well, it'll dry to fast and not stick well to the mirror if it's not hot enough.  
  • Apply the Loctite glue to your piece first as this has a 30 minute dry period. Then apply the glue gun and immediately stick in place on the mirror.  The glue from the glue gun will dry quickly and hold your trim in place while the Loctite is drying.  
    • The glue gun is a temporary glue giving the Loctite time to dry without having to hold it in place.
It's all fairly easy you just have to take your time and do it right.  Here's my finished mirror project.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: Warrior's Heart by Bianca D'Arc

Warrior's Heart Warrior's Heart by Bianca D'Arc
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of Bianca D'Arc for a long time. She is very good at character development and story building. This is a short story that is the beginning of a new series for her. Childhood friends have finally grown up and gotten to the point in their lives that they're ready to admit how they feel about each other. Casey has been secretly in love with her brother's best friend since she was a teenager, but he joined the military and is never around. Plus, he's never looked at her as anything but a pseudo-little sister. Now, Hal is back in town and he's decided to change the nature of their relationship.

Hal is back from a mission gone crazy and after having to confront some crazy things while on tour he's not willing to pretend he's not crazy about Casey anymore. But can Casey deal with the consequences of his last mission? The results of which have changed him and his team forever.

I really loved the concept of this series. What could be mythological gods make an appearance in the modern world and decide to mess with Hal's team. I love mythology so this was super intriguing to me. Plus, Casey and Hal's long time friendship makes the step into a romantic relationship fun and believable. I was sad at how short this novel was and am looking forward to more of this series!

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Favorite Read & Review

I have been writing this blog for over a year now.  In that time I have shared a lot of my favorite authors and series, many of which I have been loyal to for many years.  And many authors that titles that I have sought just to be able to review for this blog and for my library job.  I wanted to take the time this summer to share my favorite book out of all of them.  This post has previously been on my blog and I stand behind it and will include the 2nd book in the series, Breath of Fire, as an EXCELLENT read as well (although not as good as the first).  I have re-read this book many times in the last year and hope you will like it too.  It was nominated for many new author awards in this genre as well.

My Original Review

As a librarian I sometimes receive advanced readers copies of books, to write reviews on and with the hope that I'll purchase copies for my library.  One of the more recent books I received was A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet.  Since I get a lot of ARCs, I don't also approach reading them with the best attitude.  They're often short, simple and not much to dwell on, this one COMPLETELY surprised me!  I loved it so much!

Cat is a mysterious figure that is protecting herself, her secret and everyone else that she lets into her life.  She is discovered by Griffin, the strong and powerful leader that has recently overthrown the royal family that's been in power for ever.  In a world were those with magic and power have ruled for as long as can be remembered, Griffin thinks he's discovered in Cat the secret to keeping his family in power during this time of turmoil.  But there's a lot more than meets the eye with her.  Kidnapping her may prove to help the realm but also may bring war to them all.

I loved reading this book and seriously hope that there will be more to the series.  I believe that there has to be at this point because although some things were resolved and there was a happy ending, there's still so much more that has to be dealt with.  Looking forward to them all, but dreading what will probably be a long wait for them to be published!

Breath of Fire is now available and Heart on Fire will be available in January 2018.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: His Sapphire by Maggie Chase

His Sapphire His Sapphire by Maggie Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting perspective for a BDSM romance. Not often do you see historical fiction BDSM novels, let allow novels of this genre where the female submissive is the knowledgeable one and the dominant is still a novice. It was an interesting combination and ended working really well. I received this novel as an ARC and was impressed with it's well developed characters and subject matter. As far as I could tell it was historically accurate and interesting.

I looked through the other books in this series and surprised to see the wide variety of relationships Maggie Chase presents. Well done, Ms. Chase!

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

June Re-Readathon

I have a favorite  historical fiction romance novel that I end up going back to read over and over again.   Moonlight Mistress by Patricia Rice was published in 1999.  I came across it at a used bookstore and have now read it more times than I can count.  Set in the time of Henry II of England when England is still recovering from King Stephen and the chaos of the Robber Barons under his rule. 
Image result for moonlight mistress by patricia riceAelvina Fairfax is a peasant who has been thrust into a desperate situation that has forced her to seek assistance from Lady Ravenna, a reclusive widow.  Taking matters into her own hands Aelvina approached Sir Philippe St. Aubyn for protection against becoming indebted to Lady Ravenna.  Bargaining her maidenhead and loyalty to one man is better than being offered to many under Lady Ravenna's rule.

A soldier under King Henry II's command, Sir Philippe has been sent to take possession in the name of the king the widowed Lady Ravenna's holdings.  When he is approached by a fair-haired beauty for protection, he can't help but be tempted by her bargain.  Little did either of them know that the Lady Ravenna had her own plans for them.  Philippe and Aelvina must navigate lies, secrets, hatred, the dark arts, and King Henry II to find their happy ending. 

I really love this novel.  It's the only one of Patricia Rice's novels that I've read, but it's wonderful.  The turmoil between this couple is amazing.  I love the details of each person and their EXTREMELY rocky relationship just keeps drawing me back.  I wish it was available as a downloadable book, but not so far.  I did email the author a couple of years ago to ask about that possibility and she said there was some hope, her materials were being purchased by a new publisher and were starting to be moved to digital.  Here's hoping!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Review: Back Of Beyond

Back Of Beyond Back Of Beyond by C.J. Box
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have started listening to audiobooks in the car since my job involves a lot more driving then it used too. Since then I've been able to seriously cut down my reading list, but there are some draw backs to listening to books. The readers have to have a good voice and be able to portray the different characters well. This can sometimes be hard to find, for instance I can't listen to the readers of the Game of Thrones novels AT ALL. Also, stopping and starting a book so often when you are in and out of the car a lot can be disconcerting as well.

Back of Beyond was an excellent listen. C.J. Box gives readers enough intrigue into situations that you leave each time with skeptical indecision as to whether you liked what just happened or not but just enough to interest you as soon as you return to it. Cody Hoyt is such a love/hate kind of character. He has some strong character flaws that could easily become annoying but enough is happening around him that it doesn't impact reader interest. When a friend of his is killed, whether by accident or murder, he reacts badly to say the least. Then when very slim chances evidence point in the direction to where his son is spending part of his summer, Hoyt overreacts and dramatically, illegally leaves town and throws around his 'cop' status to get people to help him even though he's been suspended and no longer has a badge.

Justin Hoyt and sisters Danielle and Gracie, who are on another part of this story are a wonderful addition to this story. What's happening on their adventure meshes with what's happening to Cody in a great way that is unexpected to all characters. I really loved how everything came together, but some of it was sort of the expected, convenience that would get Cody Hoyt out of as much trouble as he should have been in.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Have you ever picked up a book to read because you really liked the movie?  It’s become common for books to be made into movies and in many cases no one bothers to read the book before they see the movie.  What people forget is that the book has so many more details, descriptions, and activity than can be fit into an hour and a half long movie.  Often the movies are really well done interpretations of the books, but that doesn’t mean that the book isn’t still much better.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz was turned into a movie in 2013.  It was a pretty good movie starring Anton Yelchin and William Defoe.  Odd Thomas is a young man from a small town in California named Pico Mundo.  Yes, his name is actually Odd, that’s not a typo.  He is rightly named because he was born with supernatural abilities, one of which is seeing ghosts.  Although ghosts don’t talk, Odd can see them and many times they seek him out for justice.  When they touch him they feel like normal people and can sometimes show him the tragedy that ended their lives.  Conveniently, Odd has a great relationship with the local sheriff, who knows his secret, and with whom he helps seek justice for the ghosts he sees.  

Beyond seeing ghosts, Odd has a few other abilities that are harder to describe but involve being able to ‘psychically’ find people he’s looking for as well as sometimes having prophetic dreams.  Other than this, he’s a normal twenty-year old fry cook at the Pico Mundo Grill.  Although he tries to live a simple life by working, helping out when necessary and enjoying his life, he is continually drawn into situations, some of which readers hear about and some we see.  Today, Odd wakes from a disturbing dream that he tries to brush off only to find himself faced with a supernatural situation.  Nothing about what he’s experiencing makes any sense but he can ‘feel’ it leading to some terrible, disastrous end.  He is forced to follow clues and puzzle together what is happening in his small town and, hopefully, save the day. Odd Thomas is the beginning of a series of books that follow the life of, obviously, Odd Thomas.  He finds himself drawn into new situations as each book progresses, until he comes full circle.

If you enjoy mysteries, paranormal reads or are just a Dean Koontz fan you will really like this series.  Following Odd Thomas through the twists and turns of his life and experiencing this mysterious web of sinister plots was really fun.  Although seeing the movie first does take away from some of the ‘who-dun-it’ mystery, there is so much not included in the movie that it was still really worth it.  Continuing to read the rest of the series was enthralling as Odd meets some great characters and gets himself enmeshed in some really interesting situations.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Review: The Mountain King by Emma Alisyn

The Mountain King The Mountain King by Emma Alisyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been working with coworkers recently on some steampunk themed events and I have a big passion for dragons, so seeing this cover was really intriguing! I figured what could go wrong with steampunk and dragons, then to read the synopsis and find out it's also an apocalyptic, paranormal, kick-ass heroine novel. Score!

Kailigh has been living and raising her three girls in the Outlands successfully since she kicked her no-good husband to the curb. She's done what most women and many men for that matter couldn't, survive and thrive on her own raising three strong daughters that know how to shot, kill and stand strong when needed. But now that flesh traffickers have their sights set on her family and her daughter's been shot, she needs help. In this town that means Dragon Lord Maddugh, King of Coal and Mountain.

Maddugh can't believe that Kailigh has lived in his town and he and the Dwrkin never recognized her for what she was. A mixed blood Fae/Dwrkin and hope for their species. No Dwrkin females live in this world since the portals closed, now Maddugh has a chance to negotiate with Kailigh for the endangered life of her daughter. Save her daughters life for a commitment of marriage and children from at least two her daughters and herself? That's not too much to ask, especially when he wants Kailigh for himself.

This is a great combination of steampunk technology in an apocalyptic world and shape-shifting dragons (Dwrkin). I'm really looking forward to book two in this series!

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Author Recommendation: Elizabeth Vaughn

I read so much and sometimes, so quickly, that I'm always on the look out for the latest, greatest read.  My turnover rate of book over the past 15 years is REALLY high.  Not that this is a bad thing.  But what can be bad about it is that I forget how much I like series and authors that I've moved on from.  While recently scanning shelves at a local used book store I came across an author that I had read in a while.  She had multiple series that I loved and had completely forgotten about.

Elizabeth Vaughn
Image result for elizabeth vaughn coversImage result for elizabeth vaughn covers   Image result for elizabeth vaughn covers Image result for elizabeth vaughn covers 

Her original series started as a trilogy.  Warprize, Warsworn and Warlord followed the story of Lara and Keir. She is the Princess of Xy and he is the invading Firelander Warlord.  In their terms of surrender, Lara's father agrees to trade Lara as the Warprize to Warlord Keir.  Lara struggles to accept her new status in life, especially because she has no idea what it even means to these Firelanders.  Keir is forced to face change and strife when he claims a Warprize, something not done by his people unless their are dramatic changes coming to his people.  This trilogy was awesome from start to finish.

The next series was also a trilogy, Dagger-Star, White Star and Destiny's Star.  A story from a neighboring land to Keir and Lara's story.  Another excellent trilogy but this time it follows three different couples in each story instead of one couple through their three-part journey.

It wasn't til years later that I found out that there was a fourth novel to the Warprize trilogy, Warcry, which follows the story of some of the characters with the Warprize stories.  And now, another one is about to be released, Wardance.  The fifth story also made be aware that this series is now called the Chronicles of Warlands series, I always called it the Warprize trilogy. Elizabeth Vaughn does an excellent job of building these worlds and they are well worth the read and eventual re-read that I tend to give good books.  I discover new things every time I pick them up again!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Alien Mate by Cara Bristol

Alien Mate Alien Mate by Cara Bristol
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An epic start to what I hope is a new series! Cara Bristol does an amazing job of telling this alien romance story. Although the premise is very common right now in romance novels, the uniqueness of the alien appearance and their planet's story is really good. After a major asteroid/comet strike completely destroys their way of life, the Dakonians have learned to survive but their female population never recovered and they need mates! Earth is willing to trade since they need the completely useless to Dakonian rocks that can be used as power sources.

This test group of fifty women to arrive as 'mail-order brides' will hopefully be just the beginning. What they don't know is that these women a female Earth criminals given a chance to expunge their sentence for a life on a new planet. Starr Conner is among these women, sentenced falsely of second degree murder and shipping unwillingly with the carefully selected first group of women. She looks nothing like anyone else sent to Dakon, she's short and blonde when everyone else is tall, strong and brunette. Her appearance makes her the last pick as a mate for a Dakonian. Can she find happiness with her new mate when her very appearance is off-putting? Torg is so happy to have a mate but admittedly wouldn't have picked Starr is he'd been on time to the selection process. Torg and Starr must face new lives together, deal with jealous native Dakonian women and Starr's past, which follows her all the way to this new planet.

This novel was well written, entertaining and, with luck, the start to a new series. I really hope more stories are told about this world. Starr and the other women have a huge impact on this planet as they become settled into their lives and start to plot to protect Dakon from the future potential greed of Earth. As we all know, Earth doesn't have the best history of not crushing those perceived as lesser when they want something and their demand for this new power source will only increase.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I 'read' the audiobook version of this book and am glad that I decided to do it this way. This was an excellent read that makes readers really think about the world around them and how their decisions can affect more than just themselves. There is so much information in here that is just really interesting...the enzymes needed to digest milk, turkey mating habits, what vegetables and plants grow when and how to harvest just about everything!

It also sort of blew my mind! I went to the grocery store after about a week of listening to this book during my weekly drives to and from work, running errands, etc. I had to literally leave the produce section without getting anything because I had new eyes about the produce sitting on the shelves. Happily I also started reading this book around the start of Farmer's Markets starting again and this helped me make my next forage into the grocery store produce section. I now take my time reading labels much more than I did before.

I had never thought about the fuel impact on bringing produce from around the world into markets everywhere. I now will. This is an eye opening book that has changed the way that I think about things. Although, there's no way I am willing to change everything based on what I learned from this book (I don't think I can give up bananas, for example), it made me more aware of my shopping decisions. Is online shopping really cheaper for example? For the individual shopper maybe but what about all the added fuel costs for delivery? I can sum up reading this book in three words:

Wow, mind blown!

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homemade Liquid Coffee Creamer

I recently discovered how easy it is to make your own Liquid Coffee Creamer.  Here's what you need:

Sweetened Condensed Milk
Half and Half
Flavoring ingredients of your choice

There's not even any need to have specific measurements.  Dump your can of sweetened condensed milk into a bowl, add the half and half.  Less half and half will make for a sweeter concoction more will go further and not be as sweet.  Then add the flavoring of your choice.  I've used store bought liquid flavorings and ingredients.

Ideas for flavoring:

Cocoa powder
Peppermint candies ground into powder
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Baking flavoring
Coffee flavor liquids

I haven't tried these myself but they might work:
Caramel Sauce/syrup

There are probably plenty of other things you can use as well.  Blend all the ingredients together for a few minutes with a mixer.  Pour into good sealalbe containers, mason jars for instance.  I've also used a cleaned out store-bought creamer container.  Sometimes I've had to shake them to remix before I use it in my coffee i.e. good seal containers.  Add embellishments to the jars and give as gifts in you want!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review: My Sugar Daddy by Trinity Blacio

My Sugar Daddy My Sugar Daddy by Trinity Blacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the most well-written of Trinity Blacio's books since the Running in Fear novels!! Ms. Blacio has had a tendency in the past few years to REALLY rush through her character development. Heroines would go from being enraged to weeping buckets of tears in 10 seconds. And the whole story would take place in a day and a half of the character's lives with all the twists and turns and disasters packed into unrealistic time and space.

This is the first book of her that I've read in a long time that was back to her original quality! Characters were well-rounded and had individual personalities with quirks that made sense and emotional responses that were explained, logical and timely reactions. Laura was an excellent character that had overcome much through her life, including the jackass father to her child. She goes looking for a Sugar Daddy and ends up stepping into something unexpected. Readers still get the crazy, end of the way of life scenarios that Ms. Blacio likes to write about but the reasoning behind this one made some sense. Time passed during the book like you would hope for so that these catastrophic events weren't piled into an unrealistic few days.

Villains do tend to have an inordinate amount of coordination and strength but it is countered by the good guys just enough. It was a bit unrealistic that this family would have actually built such a massive underground safe-haven but I guess if you have some foreshadowing ability in the family it might be believable. It did make for interesting times though. A good enough read that although I received this novel as an ARC from Netgalley, I went and purchased book two in the series myself!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan

Shadow Reaper Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ricco Ferraro leads the way through the twists and turns of this novel. We first met Ricco in book 1, Shadow Rider, he was the slightly standoffish brother with a secret that turned him darker during his Shadow Rider training in Japan when he was a teenager. Thankfully, we didn't have long to what to have that mystery revealed to us. Ricco's story starts when he meets the perfect match to his Shadows. But she's also clearly been sent after him. Was she sent by those in Japan that have been threatening Ricco and his family?

Our heroine's been alone for a long time, surviving the worst home situation. Now she's ready to prove herself an honorable Shadow Rider, will she follow through on her assignment, betraying the Shadow Rider vows? But something else is going on too. The Ferraro's are all being targeted now, not just Ricco. Can they unravel the mystery behind their current situation? And will they all survive?

I am really enjoying this new series. There are some similarities between this and the Ghostwalker series, in the characters and code they live by and since I absolutely LOVE that series I new I would like this one. The Ferraro family and the Shadow Rider community is revealed more in this novel than the first one, which was developing the premise of Shadow Riders more than anything. The family relationships, and insight into their parents and the other Shadow Rider families was really interesting. This was overall a bit of a slower paced novel compared to the first one, with more mystery intertwined. The villain reveal was really well done, and I didn't suspect it until right before the reveal. Nice!

I received a ARC of this novel from Netgalley.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Silver Silence Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Silver Silence is an epic continuation of this series/start of a spin-off series! Nalini Singh does an amazing job of presenting this trifecta world where Humans, Psy and Changelings not together in a not so happy melting pot of crazy. Three races that are interdependent on each other, but if you've read any of the previous books know that don't like each other. And for good reason, Psy abilities make them mentally strong and smart, Changelings are dominant, strong and cunning, Humans carry the weight of society and bridge that gap between the Psy and Changelings. What they see of each other are dumb creatures controlled by their animals, monsters that use their mental abilities to manipulate and strike at others and easily harmed and manipulated worker bees.

The struggle has been long in this series, their entire society imploded and needs to find a way to recover but old fears stand strong. This new spin-off series takes place on the other side of the world from previous books. Enter Silver Merchant, now the Director of EmNet, a worldwide emergency response network that became necessary during the struggle for control in previous books. She strong, capable and hanging onto being Silent since her psy power, TP-A, is exacerbated by emotions. Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears knows that he has a long way to go to convince Silver that she belongs in his life. A assassination attempt helps him get an inside track into her life, but can they survive the turmoil around them and her awakening ability?

I was really looking forward to this novel. This is the first look into bear changelings and also set predominantly in another part of the world. The dynamics in this region are vastly different than what I became used to with Lucas and Hawk's region. Bears, Wolves and Psy this time and the bears are REALLY different than other groups we've seen. My understanding of some of the Psy logistics was shaken with Silver's unique ability. I was so engrossed by this book and the wrenches it through into my expectations that I hardly slept after finishing it. I kept dreaming about some of the mind-boggling things that I was not expecting.

I received an ARC of Silver Silence through NetGalley.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review: Treyvon by M.K. Eidem

Treyvon Treyvon by M.K. Eidem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am seriously a big fan of M.K. Eidem. Her Imperial Series is magnificent, I re-read it all the time. The Kaliszian and Tornian series are just as wonderful! They are listed as different series' but in all reality they series set in the same universe happening at the same time, just to the different planetary systems within this universe. This universe was 'cursed' 500 years ago by their Goddess when a horrible man, who was also the Emperor brutalized his daughters, and the neighboring planetary systems found out about it. Instead of stopping the atrocity they used the situation to blackmail the Emperor for their own gain. The Tornians, whose Emperor was the offenders, was cursed to rarely if ever have female offspring and the Kaliszians planets died so they can no longer grow food for their population.

500 years later, Earth has been secretly discovered by other planetary systems and they are attempting to use this knowledge to take control of this space sector. The Kaliszians and Tornians have discovered the humans being used as slaves on some of their planets. After rescuing them, the Tornian Emperor discovers his mate and on another planet, one Kaliszian finds his as well and for the Kalizian Empire, she is the first mate in 500 years.

Jennifer is recovering from severe physical injuries from attempting to stops their enslavers from brutalizing Mackenzie (Mackenzie and Nikhil's story is book 1). After recovering she is drawn into the world of the Kaliszians through her training at being a Chef. With permission to use individual portions, she makes a simple stew and while doing so discovers that people only know how to make one thing and it's what's for dinner every night. Breakfast and lunch are basically ready-made food packets too. When the smell of her dish draws the notice of all of the soldiers in the compound she is eventually allowed access to all fresh food deliveries. Through discovering the hardships of their new home which is essentially a dead planet, getting to know the new people in their lives, and helping to uncover a conspiracy in they system, Jen and Supreme Commander of the Kaliszian Defense, Treyvon have a lot to overcome.

Such a good read! It was so unexpected too, it went from being 6 pm to 12 pm so fast!

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Review: Rikki's Star by Laura Jo Phillips

Rikki's Star Rikki's Star by Laura Jo Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am once again in awe of Ms. Phillips. She has this incredible ability to suck you into her stories even when you know what should be coming. Since this is book eight in the Hearts of ICARUS series and they successfully completed the mission that took place over the past three books, this one should have been either predictable or a stretch within this series. I mean, how many times can authors introduce new villains with a series before it gets tedious? But she is able to present her stories in ways that just suck you in, are unique and have real emotion and characters. It's incredible.

Rikki is the youngest daughter of Hope Bearen. She was from a triplet set born as shifters in the original Soul-Linked Saga series, which was unheard of in their world. So going in, we know that this three book set (each sister will have one) is going to be a bit different. The last three books sort of wrapped up the Chaos being a big influence on the Galaxy story line, but what is left is all of the damage that has been done. And in many ways is still being done, by the by-products of past villains.

I absolutely love the way this one is written! You start with a little prologue and then it jumps to the 'present' with is six or seven months later. Rikki is returning home after being out touch with her family in a while with her four month old daughter in tow, only her parents saw her seven months ago and she was NOT pregnant then. She's weak, frail, exhausted and she and her daughter are both terrified. Not only that, but four-month-old Charley is EXTREMELY intelligent for her age. What could possibly have happened? Her family and her Rami (male set [mates]) have to wrap their minds around the devastation that has changed Rikki's life and help her and Charley learn to be happy and feel safe. Oh, and also stop the crazy 'people' that are pursuing her!

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Crafting My Own Fan Pull

I've recently installed a new ceiling fan in my living room.  Along with that I wanted new, decorative fan pulls since that ones that come with fans are really boring.  I knew that I wanted something to match the gold/yellow accent color of my room and I really like and wanted glass or prism style.  Finding something to my specifications was MUCH more difficult than I was anticipating!  When you're that picky about style, color and shape I guess I should have known better though.

After much research in my online shopping endeavors I came to the conclusion that with my experience making jewelry for myself, I should be able to make the fan pull I was envisioning.

I had in my Christmas decorations these amber colored, plastic prisms.  With the massive amounts of beads I own and all my jewelry making tools (shown on the left), I had all I needed to complete this.

I picked through all my yellow, gold and cream beading and my sturdy gold wire.  This wire is the thickest one I own and should hold up fine.  I took the chain from the fan pull that came with the fan and cut it in half.  If you look closely you can see the half length chain in the middle of the picture.  I strung my wire through the prism and secured it with a nice wrap around twist.  Then strung my chosen beads on the chain and finished it with a loop and the same wrap around twist to secure that end. 

With a second piece of wire I created a loop on the end of the chain pull that didn't have the connector piece on it and twisted my gold wire around the ball and spacers of the chain pull.  It gave a nice decorative gold look to the oil-brushed bronze color of the pull as well as being secure enough to pull on it as needed. There's my finished product.  I did make a second one with the other half of the chain for the light pull as well.  It matches the room the way I wanted and also is a nice decorative light catcher.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March Re-Readathon

I have had some trouble recently finding books that I want to read.  Don't get me wrong, my bed-side table reading stack is HUGE but I just don't feel like picking any of them up.  So I've been doing nothing to help reduce my book stack, but instead raiding my favorite books that I read years ago.  Here's my most recent re-read suggestions.  Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series.

Image result for merry gentry bookcovers  laurell k hamilton
Now if you are familiar with Laurell K. Hamilton and possible started with her Anita Blake series, there's a chance you might be upset with her because in that series she started Anita Blake (the first five or six books) writing a really cool science fiction, paranormal series.  Then she had a mid-life crisis/divorce and went crazy with this series and they all became big erotica sex piles.

Merry Gentry is different, because this series begins and ends with the sex as the main theme.  You know it shortly into the first novel, Kiss of Shadows, and it keeps up, adding new people as each book and novels progresses.  The world is fun because it's a Earth where magical, powerful people are a fact of life.  The Tuatha De Dannan are real and have existed since long before they were known as Gods and Goddesses from mythology.  They were driven out of Europe and their 'fairy mounds' have been in Kansas ever since the U.S. gave them sanctuary. 

Merry is the first mortal Princess of this realm who has been hiding from her treacherous family for years.  She is discovered and brought back to her people with the understanding that her Aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness is barren and she needs either her niece or son to produce the next heir to the realm.  Promising the throne to the first who can do this.  Merry agrees to attempt to get pregnant with the men of the Queen's Guard and embark on life and death situations that ultimately end up bringing the dying magic of the Fae back. 

Turns out, their magic has been dying for years, most everyone in both Light and Dark Fae kingdoms have been dying out and Merry is the key to bringing power back to their people.  She'll only have to survive her crazy Aunt, psychotic cousin, disillusion Uncle, who is also the King of Light and Illusion of the Light Fae and learn to handle the new magic she is awakening.