Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

I just want to wish everyone a...
May 2016 be a great year for everyone!

See ya next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Audiobook and Library Challenges: How I did...

Hot Listens/2015 Audiobook Challenge

2015-audiobooks

Totally rocked this one and I surpassed the 15 I was shooting for. In the end it was 18 audios! YaY!

I think I'll go for next year's challenge:
2016 Audiobook Challenge

The level I'm going for is...
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20 
  • I think this one is doable for me and keeps me on track for what I would like to do next year.
~~~~~~~~~~
Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

2015-library-books

Didn't quite make this one. I needed 4 more. I didn't do bad considering all the new shineys this year. I don't know if I'll shoot for the same next year, but I did catch up on some of my series.

So, how did you do this year? 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Sandman by Erin Kellison

Series: Reveler #7
 127 p.
Publisher: Fire Flower Publishing, LLC
Published 5/8/15
Source: From author for review
The world Darkside is in turmoil when Chimera Marshal Steve Coll, bloody and beaten, makes it back to Maze City and into Maisie’s arms. He bears a terrible message—The Sandman, the god of the world of dreams, is rising, and he’s bringing devastation to the waking world. Steve must embrace his dual nature to save those he’s sworn to protect. And yet, how can he fight a being who destroys everything in his path?

Even awake, no one is safe.

After the fall of the black market, Maisie Lane’s city is overrun with criminals who want her dreamscape for their own. She’s always envisioned Maze City populated, but not with people like these. Nevertheless, she must relinquish some of her control not only to save the man she loves, but to protect and defend her precious city. While friends and family face danger and betrayal, another enemy is lurking in the shadows.

As time runs out, Maisie and Steve must fight with everything they have, or lose it all, including each other. And even if they somehow prevail, nothing will ever be the same.

The Sandman is the seventh installment in the Reveler serial, a hot paranormal romance set in a world where shared dreaming is a new pop culture phenomenon that allows people to indulge their wildest fantasies. But there are also unknown dangers Darkside; nightmares are slowly infiltrating not only dreams, but the waking world as well.

Revel with me.
My thoughts:

Oh man! This one really had me totally pulled into this world. We were left with several questions from the last book and then BAM! Although most of those get answered we are hard hit with some things I didn't expect. Nope, totally blew me away! I don't want to say too much as I will give all away if I continue. I'll say that this was an excellent addition to the series and the twists here were excellent.

I give this book 4 stars. It would have been 5 but we are left with a wicked cliffie. Other than that, it is perfect. I cannot wait for the next installment which is the last book. I HAVE to know what comes next. I recommend it to those that love adult UF/PNR mash ups.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!

I would like to first announce some...

The winner for:
is...

The winner for:
is...

The winner for:
is...

This is the last post until after Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season no matter what you celebrate! May this time be a good one for you and your family.
If not then all I have to say is...
;) Had to throw some nerd in there. LOL

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Series: Finishing School #4
Last book in series
326 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 11/3/15
Source: Library
If one must flirt…flirt with danger. 
Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course. 
What will become of our proper young heroine when she puts her years of training to the test? Find out in this highly anticipated and thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!
My thoughts:
I was so sad that I couldn't get this one for review but I requested it at my library first chance I got! So, this became one of my library reads. I was not disappointed and I couldn't wait to see how everything ends.

The mystery and espionage were as good as the other books. I quickly fell into this world and couldn't wait to find out what happened to my favorite characters. I do think things were well rounded up and it all made complete sense. So why was I a bit disappointed? I can only figure that it is because it is the ending book as to why I was left bereft when the last page appeared.

The issue between Soap and Felix is resolved and it makes sense! I couldn't see how that one would come about. I also love the new Soap. :) There are also minor issues that become resolved within the book. I think the resolutions are so complete it made me a bit disillusioned. No more guesses as to how things will work out. No more guesses at the impossible. No more Sophronia's adventures. I was also upset by Bumbersnoot's resolution. Although I have to say I couldn't have thought of anything more perfect (other than him coming through the book to land on my lap) in how his adventure was resolved. I can only say that I'm truly disappointed that this is the last book.

I give this book 4  1/2 stars. It is a perfect resolution to all the lose ends we encountered throughout the series. I would not skip around in the series but read them in order. This series is the perfect steampunk adventure for YA and adult crowds but it almost ends too perfect for me. That was it's only real problem in the book (what a funny problem to have!). I couldn't have thought of anything better but it also means we have to leave this world and go onto other stories. I highly recommend this series to everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Audiobook Review with Crafts: Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance


Series: Cassandra Palmer #4
Narrator: Cynthia Holloway
14 hrs. 27 min.
Unabridged
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: 6/30/10
Source: Hoopla/Library
Cassandra Palmer may be the all-powerful Pythia now, but that doesn't mean people have stopped trying to kill her. Most of the supernatural power players don't want independent-minded Cassie as chief clairvoyant---and they'll stop at nothing to see her six feet under. 
The Vampire Senate does support Cassie in her position, but their protection comes with a price: an alliance with the sexy master vampire Mircea, who has claimed Cassie as his own. 
But even the vampires will have trouble keeping Cassie alive now that the self-styled god Apollo, the source of the Pythia's power, has it in for her in a big way. To save her life---and the world---Cassie's going to have to face down her creator once and for all.

My thoughts:

I have been seeing people pick this series back up and I have missed it. I've read the others so I thought it might be time to try it on audio. I was not disappointed and I enjoyed Cynthia Holloway's voice throughout the story. I hope she narrates the rest of the series.

The book felt a bit uneven to me with the high action and then the sudden lulls. It still kept my attention as the others in the series but it doesn't progress too much on the Pythia problem Cassie is having. It does progress but just barely. There is still a love triangle and nothing is terribly clear there by the end of the book either, but small advances were made with both Mircea and Pritkin. Still not sure if there will be a clear winner, but both are alpha males even if the Pythia has no problems courting both.

I give this audio 4 stars. It is another fun addition to the series and I cannot wait to continue it. I seem to always want more after finishing a Cassandra Palmer book and it was no different here. I enjoyed it on audio and may continue it that way with the rest of the books. I recommend it to those who enjoy UF and humor.

The Craftiness: 
I made gifts when I listened to the book. I made 4 wristlets (Caroline by Swoon Patterns). 3 of them are identical and have a drum pattern on the outside. It is silk from a obi. The 3 girls I made them for all play the drums and I thought it was perfect for them. You have no idea how hard it is to find drum fabric. :)

The other one is for someone who loves hearts. I thought I'd do a simple embroidery pattern on the front. I put card and bill holders on the inside (think wallet) of all of them. No, none of them read the blog so they shouldn't know they are getting a wristlet. *evil laugh* :)

The last one was described in my post on Monday. Not my fave but things happen and hopefully someone will love this misfit wristlet. :) Just go HERE if you need to find out more and possibly win the poor unfortunate bag.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pocket Book Holiday Read Giveaway!

Oh holiday reads! Both are open to US snail mail addys. Just fill out the rafflecopter for the one you want or enter for both!

Angels in the Snow
by Rexanne Becnel
288 p.
Published: Oct. 27, 15
Publisher: Pocket Books
The USA TODAY bestselling “master of her craft” (RT Book Reviews), Rexanne Becnel delivers a special treat just in time for the holidays with this heartwarming story about a family learning the true meaning of Christmas. 
Having it all—money, health, intelligence, the seemingly perfect family—doesn’t seem to be working for Charles Montgomery. His wife wants a divorce. His children are spoiled rotten. And he has grown blind to the things money can’t buy. In an act of desperation he hopes will bring the family together again, he whisks them away to a mountain retreat for the holidays. But the vacation is a recipe for disaster—especially when a blizzard leaves them stranded without heat or electricity—until the Walker family shows up, seeking shelter. Togetherness has never been so uncomfortable—or enlightening. The blizzard passes, and the Walkers leave…but the Montgomerys’ lives will never be the same.
Book links:
This is also going to be on tv on UP on the 18th


Baby, It's Cold Outside
Anthology
544 p.
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 10/28/15
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling indie authors Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne, and debut author Kate Meader come together to write a sizzling romance anthology.

Outside it may be frosty, so turn the heat way up with these stories of desire! 
Searching for You
Can a determined woman executive and a playboy billionaire survive being stranded together in a snowstorm? Jennifer Probst depicts an encounter almost too hot to handle...

It's a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol
Drew and Kate play an encore to Tangled in this sexy take on a "Christmas Carol" by Emma Chase. When a Christmas Eve argument condemns Drew to a troubled night, three dream women teach him that no gift could be more tantalizing than Kate...

Saving Grace
With Kristen Proby, ski slopes are quite delightful. Grace Douglas is sure she'll never learn to ski, but instructor Jacob Baxter could teach her lessons of a different kind...

Safe in His Arms
Can a southern California transplant survive Montana's deep snows?Melody Anne, author of the bestselling Andersons series, melts the icy drifts completely away with the heat between sexy Hawk Winchester and brand-new teacher Natalie Duncan...

Rekindle the Flame
What could be hotter than a firefighter? Kate Meader shows how, as Beck Rivera and heiress-turned-tattoo-artist Lucy Cochrane discover, nothing ignites holiday flames like rekindling a lost love... 
Rekindle the Flame is the Hot in Chicago series prequel e-novella for $1.99 by Pocket Star EBooks 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Annual Puppy B-day Celebration

Alternate title: Tonks and Griffin... we will miss you! 

If you have been a part of this blog, you know I celebrate my puppy's b-day every year. In years past I gave away different things and Felicia, The Geeky Blogger also had a pup with a Dec. birthday. We celebrated together after that:
Sadly, in March of this year, her sweet baby went over the rainbow bridge. I donated money in Tonks's name. Not too long ago another bloggy friend Jenny of Supernatural Snark also lost her baby Griffin

So, since I donated in Tonks's name in March I'm donating the money I would have given in the book giveaway in Griffin's name. You can do this on several websites, but I often use Morris Animal Foundation since they do a lot of research to improve pet health. Betty White is a big contributor for the foundation.

Also don't forget the other great animal organizations that always need help in one form or another. Remember you don't always have to donate money. You can donate time, gently used items or donate while you shop. Some of those links are below. Also, if you have a good link not listed, be my guest to list one.


I did have plans to make something to give away. I messed up. This is sort of what I wanted to give away:
I was in the process of the machine embroidery when the machine messed up the lowercase b.

UGH! I hated it. I tried to make another but the machine decided to eat ALL THE THREAD. :(

It got fixed (good thing since I was borrowing it... *eek) but I ran out of time to get this one done again. I was convinced by certain individuals to go ahead and finish what I had, so I did. I also put the zipper on backward. So, the zip opens up from right to left. Yea, I was on a roll. I decided that this could be a metaphor and see if anyone wants to adopt the not perfect bag that needs a home. The fabric on the inside is black with white paw prints. The prints can be either cat or dog. 

So, I will not require anything but knowing that you are getting a flawed product. I do still encourage you to do something or anything for animals and put what you've done in the comments. I always think that seeing what others do helps bring a bit of joy to the season. 

If you want this poor bag w/o a home just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Yes, I'll ship internationally, but will not guarantee it's delivery (it is so hard to do international *sigh*)

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Murder in Mohair by Anne Canadeo

Series: A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #8
304 p.
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 12/1/15
Source: From publisher for review
In Anne Canadeo's cozy eighth Black Sheep Knitting Mystery, a cold-hearted murder in Plum Harbor leads the knitters to investigate a new psychic who may be far more dangerous than she seems… 
When Jimmy Hubbard, the manager of the local cinema, is murdered in a robbery gone wrong, the residents of Plum Harbor are mystified. Everyone liked Jimmy, and the struggling theater seems an unlikely target for burglars. 
The Black Sheep Knitters are surprised and saddened by the crime, but are more suspicious of psychic-medium Isabel Waters, who has recently set up shop in town. Isabel has hoodwinked one of their friends into shelling out big money every week to keep the memory of a lost loved one alive. Determined to reveal Isabel as a fraud, the knitters are pulled in the web of Isabel’s world and find themselves in a tangle of secrets and lies. They must solve two murders before the truth about all of Isabel’s clients—past and present—are revealed. 
As in her previous books A Dark and Stormy Knit, The Silence of the Llamas, and Knit, Purl, Die—which Publishers Weekly praised for its “fast-paced plot that will keep even non-knitters turning the pages”—Canadeo brings her trademark style to this entertaining mystery that will psych you out and leave you wanting more.
My thoughts:

I haven't read the other books, but often you can come into a middle of a long running cozy mystery series and not feel too far behind. I felt that way here. While it was obvious that I missed some other shenanigans that happened to the group (or specific individuals) I didn't feel lost and so enjoyed the murder mystery unfolding in front of me.

The first murder happened and I immediately knew that several members of the knitting group involve themselves into what goes on in the town. Not just because it is a cozy mystery and that kind of thing is standard, but because the town's police were both at once annoyed, cautioned, and curious about what these ladies would think. They didn't want them involved but at least listened to a sound theory. I liked that because either the police seem to be totally bumbling and don't know what to do with a donut or so hard that you cannot like them. This was a nice balance in a small town where everyone seems to know everything.

The mystery doesn't twist too much that the end is unbelievable but it doesn't quite flow with the rest of the mystery. It does make sense but it just feels like there wasn't enough connection to those that "did it". Perhaps this is where reading the earlier books in the series would come in handy, but it also seemed that the characters most involved had just come to the town in the book previous to this one. At least that is what I lead to believe. However, despite this, I did enjoy the twist ending.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. It is a good cozy and even though it is a knitting group, food is a big part of the story so those who love recipes at the end of the book will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On My Wishlist: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine


The Shadow Queen 
by C. J. Redwine
400 p.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 2/23/16
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. 
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart. 
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
I've had luck lately with YA Fantasy so I want to try this one.
What is on your wishlist? 

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Standalone
336 p.
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: 11/3/15
Source: From publisher for review
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world. 
Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years. 
Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the Spirits, The Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.

My thoughts:

This is a book that really speaks to the times we are having right now. I don't know if Isabel Allende foresaw what would happen or if it was just the subject matter that spoke to her, but I feel that this hits on so many levels in the here and now and what is happening in the world.

She tackles the interment of both the Jewish people and Japanese Americans. Both shameful parts of both world and American history. She hit so many levels that at times I became angry since I see the world on the precipice of making the same mistakes. Things we should have learned. The author reiterates the attitudes of fear and detachment that caused people to turn their backs on those being tortured and terrorized and then turn on it's own citizens. Things that we need to see again through the eyes of history so we can become better world citizens and compassionate human beings.

The book just doesn't bring these things back into the light from the dark, but it also tells a story of true love and what we do to get in our own way. Interracial relationships are obviously a big part of this as you can tell from the title, but also other kinds of relationships just now seeing the light. The author also tackles what it meant to be gay in the 80s. She also brings in sex trafficking if that isn't enough issues for you to deal with in this short novel. However, thoughout the whole story you never feel overwhelmed by the subject matter because all the characters are so well rounded. I do seem to be more attached to Alma (who represents the past) than Irina (the present) but both brought me through the story in a way that kept my interest and actually find hope for the future. Ichimei and Seth also brought a lot to the story by mostly being present and bringing a different perspective to the table. The characters really made this book.

I give this boo 4 1/2 stars. I find this an interesting perspective not just of the past but also for the times we currently live.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Of Ice and Snow by Amber Argyle

Series: Fairy Queens #0.5
133 p.
Publisher: Starling Publishing
Published: 9/1/15
Source: From author for review
Otec thought destiny forgot him… 
The middle child of the clanchief, Otec is the overlooked son in an overflowing house. He dreams of escape and adventure, so when a mysterious stranger offers both, he doesn’t need persuading. But when his faraway village comes under attack, Otec will do anything to save the people he loves. Cut off from his nation, he must trust a foreign woman with a dubious past as they race to save his clan. But nothing is what it seems, and Otec may have to trust his enemy if he is to become the leader he was never meant to be. 
Destiny is not always kind.
My thoughts:

I've been enjoying the Fairy Queen series. This one is about Ilyenna's parents the main character of the first book. Since this is a prequel, you don't even need to know that fact if you haven't read the other books. She doesn't make an appearance in this book, but it is nice to keep in mind for those that have read the series.

I really liked Otec and Matka the main characters. There is a lot of growth for both characters in such a short book. The book is also packed with action and war. The fae in this book make an important appearance but are not the main focus of this book. I think this book establishes how this clan cultivated loyalty and sets the background for the Snow Queen. It isn't necessary to the overall series, but to a fan it is a great addition. It reads as the others do, like a good engaging fantasy.

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that are already enjoying the series as well as those that like YA Fantasy.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Naughty or Nice Blog Tour: Andrea Lawrence

Oooh! Crafts! I love crafts and I want to welcome Andrea Lawrence to the blog! Welcome!

I know you’ve seen them. Whether you’ve eyed them at the local arts fair or a craft store, you’ve no doubt come across the recent deco-mesh-ribbon wreath trend. Beautiful and customizable to any trend or theme, they’re a perfect decoration for the holidays. At least until you look at the price tag. I’ve seen them on sale for more than a hundred dollars. No way. Today I’m going to tell you how to make your own. The process is deceptively simple and only limited by your own artistic eye.

At a minimum, you need:

  • 1 16″ or 18″ metal wire wreath frame (floral department)
  • 1 large roll of deco mesh ribbon (Christmas or floral department)
  • 1 small roll of deco ribbon mesh (Christmas or floral department)
  • 1 package of chenille wire stems (art & fabric craft department)
  • Scissors
  • Optional items include wire ribbon in a coordinating color and decorative ornaments (Christmas or floral department)
The craft stores will normally have the deco mesh, ribbon and decorative ornaments on sale with their Christmas crafts. You also have the option of purchasing wire frames that have chenille ties already attached in the Christmas department. They typically cost more, but come in colors like red, green and gold, which may blend better with your ribbon.

Here’s my craft supply stash from a recent wreath making binge. You can see it’s best to have it all together and ready to go. The process moves pretty quickly once you get started.

Step 1 – Cut the chenille stems in half, then twist them around the wreath like bread ties to secure them while leaving the ends free to twist around the mesh. Alternate between the inside ring and the outside ring of the wreath. I typically try to use three ties per section for a nice, full wreath.

Step 2 – Open the roll of large mesh. Gather the end in your hand and secure it to the inside ring of the wreath with any tie. Tuck the ends out of the way and make sure the tie is tight enough so the mesh doesn’t come loose.

Step 3 – Beginning with the end affixed to the wreath, make a generous loop of mesh (the size of the loop depends on the wreath) and pinch the end together so you can secure it to the nearby outside ring of the wreath with a chenille stem.

Step 4 – Gather a similar size loop of mesh and secure it to the inside ring of the wreath with another chenille stem.

Step 5 – Repeat this process, going all the way around the wreath in a back-and-forth pattern until you’re back where you started. Trim the excess ribbon and secure the ends with a chenille tie.

Step 6 – Open a small deco mesh roll and secure it to the wreath with a tie as you did with the large roll. Repeat the process using additional chenille stems, alternating the smaller ribbon with the larger ribbon, filling in the gaps.

Step 7 – If you opt to include additional ribbon, you can add it at this point. You can either run it back and forth as you did with the mesh to fill in gaps, cut notched pieces and attach them in small sections like the trailing ends of bows, attach curled sections of ribbon or deco mesh...whatever looks best to you. Play with it. The best part of this is that everything is attached with the chenille stems, so if you don’t like it, you can remove it and change it.

Step 8 – Now attach any decorative elements such as poinsettias, holly and so forth to the wreath, using the remaining chenille stems.

Step 9 – Once everything is attached the way you want it, turn the wreath over. Tuck away the ends of the chenille stems so they aren’t visible from the front and make sure everything is secure and tidy.

All done! Below is a collection of a few of the wreaths I’ve made. Once you’ve made one, the process gets much easier. I have a lot of fun putting together combinations of colors and decorations. You can see below that I’ve made wreaths for not only Christmas, but for fall, Halloween and even a baby shower. The options are limitless.

Good luck making your own ribbon wreath. If you get stuck or confused, check out any of the several videos on YouTube that show the step-by-step process.

Happy holidays!
Andrea

Andrea Laurence loves Christmas. Her December release, A White Wedding Christmas, combines her love of the holidays with her love of weddings. It’s a winning combination available December 3 at all bookstores and online booksellers. I know you’ve seen them. Whether you’ve eyed them at the local arts fair or a craft store, you’ve no doubt come across the recent deco-mesh-ribbon wreath trend. Beautiful and customizable to any trend or theme, they’re a perfect decoration for the holidays. At least until you look at the price tag. I’ve seen them on sale for more than a hundred dollars. No way. Today I’m going to tell you how to make your own. The process is deceptively simple and only limited by your own artistic eye.
Find Andrea Laurence:

White Wedding Christmas
by Andrea Laurence
I do—two words wedding planner Natalie Sharpe will never utter. The cynic in her doesn't believe in love…but the woman in her believes in lust! When a last-minute Christmas wedding reunites her with the bride's hunky brother—Natalie's teenage crush and star of all her fantasies—Natalie wants a second chance for their first time… 
But Colin Russell isn't a teen anymore. He's all man. And his every touch has her thinking about the F word—forever. Working with him on the wedding is more temptation than she can take. Will one long, hot kiss lead this reluctant bride down her own wedding aisle?
Giveaway Info:  
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 1 print copy of The Harder You Fall by Gena Showalter, White Wedding Christmas by Andrea Laurence, A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Wrapped in Red by Nana Malone and Sherelle Green
  • 1 eBook copy of A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates and Under the Spotlight by Kate Willoughby
  • 100,000 Harlequin MyRewards points
  • 2 Harlequin Classics limited edition notebooks
  • 1 Brenda Jackson Westmoreland limited edition notebook
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Monday, Novemer 30th - Books and Things
Wednesday, December 2nd - Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance
Friday, December 4th - Supernatural Snark

Monday, December 7th - Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, December 9th - Rather Be Reading Blog
Friday, December 11th - Obsessed by Books

Monday, December 14th - Rainy days and Pajamas
Wednesday, December 16th - That Artsy Reader Girl
Friday, December 18th - In the Hammock

Monday, December 21st - Whatever You Can Still Betray
Wednesday, December 23rd - Reading Reality
Friday, December 25th - Little Miss Drama Queen

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On My Wishlist: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater


The Raven King
by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
400 p.
Publisher: Scholastic Press
To Be Published: 4/26/16
The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater. 
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
I've loved this series on audio and hope to continue it that way. I have to know how it ends!

For those celebrating... Happy Thanksgiving! Everyone else... happy weekend! There won't be more posts until Monday and I'll have a Naughty or Nice Blog Tour post.
See ya Mon!

And before you go I'd like to express my thanks to those that visit the blog as well as those I have come to know and call friend! So glad I got to "meet" many of you! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn by Mia Marlowe

Series: The Order of the MUSE #3
255 p.
Publisher: Entangled: Select Historical
Published: 11/23/15
Source: Publisher and NetGalley for review
He vowed to never fall in love... 
Meg Anthony was never raised a lady. Instead, she grew up amongst grifters who used her unique "finding" ability for their own selfish purposes. Recently, she's been taken under the wing of the Duke of Camden and the Order of M.U.S.E., learning not only the fine art of becoming a lady, but how to use her extraordinary talent to help others. 
But Meg's gift is a beacon to unsavory characters who would possess her. 
Charged with her protection, Lord Badewyn knows--too well--that his wild, Welsh castle is no safe haven for this lovely, all-too-desirable creature. Part human, part fallen angel, he is one of the Nephilim. He is a recluse sworn never to love. As the dangers to Meg grow more threatening, he cannot help but find himself tempted beyond all reason...and tested to see if he has both a heart and a soul.
My thoughts:

I didn't realize that this was the third book in a series, but knowing me, that doesn't stop me from diving into a book. I occasionally wondered if I had missed other books because the characters needed no introduction and were quite familiar with each others stories. Despite this, I was not lost and had no problems not reading the other two books. My problem now is that I want to read those other two books. :)

I was in the mood for a historical romantic fiction which made me curious about this one. When I realized it had a paranormal element to it, I was sold. I was also not disappointed in any of these themes. It was also not terribly original and you already knew the outcomes of what would happen. It didn't matter, it was a fun read. I liked the characters and although I found myself connecting less with Lord Badewyn (Samuel) I still rooted for him. I did connect with Meg and found her interesting once the "lady" facade was taken away from her. Before that I just couldn't get a handle on her character.

I give this book 4 stars. If you are looking for a fun PNR with a side of historical reference, then this book may be for you. I can't wait to go back and read the other two books I missed before this one.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Star Wars Psychology Editied by Travis Langley with Giveaway!

Essays
320 p.
Publisher: Sterling
Published: 10/27/15
Source: From publisher for review
This essay collection offers a fascinating psychological analysis of the compelling and complex universe of George Lucas's richly rendered Star Wars series. A group of expert contributors examines such topics as family ties, Jedi qualities, masculinity, girl power, and the values embodied in both the "dark" and "light" sides of this psychologically spellbinding world. This essay collection offers a fascinating psychological analysis of the compelling and complex universe of George Lucas's richly rendered Star Wars series. A group of expert contributors examines such topics as family ties, Jedi qualities, masculinity, girl power, and the values embodied in both the "dark" and "light" sides of this psychologically spellbinding world
My thoughts:

Okay, confession time. I'm a total nerd when it comes to Star Wars. It is a fun series you know I had to read this one. I often read the blog posts about various theories about plot points within this world and some of them are quite imaginative. Yea, I told you I was a nerd. ;)

This is really a both a psychology book that takes parts of Star Wars to explain theories, and plot points and characterization that is explained through psychology. So, if you like to understand a bit more about the human mind in a more entertaining way this book is for you.

While I enjoyed the interplay of Star Wars and psychological theories, I also found myself arguing various points with the authors. Yes, there are various authors but the way it was edited it flows like it had one author. As for the points argued, it was mostly based on what I understand of the psychological theories rather than the plot or characterization of the Star Wars universe.

So, I give this book 3 stars. I recommend it to those that want an entertaining way to learn psychology (this would make a fun and excellent HS or college course) and those total Star Wars nerds like me trying to fill in the gap until the newest movie comes out. :)

Giveaway!
The publisher has allowed me to give away the book! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below. If this isn't quite your thing, I'm guessing you probably have a Star Wars nerd somewhere in the family that might like this... pressie! ;) The giveaway is open to US and CAN.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On My Wishlist: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep


Bright Blaze of Magic
by Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #3
368 p.
To Be Published: 4/26/16
Publisher: Kensington
In the exciting conclusion to her richly imagined Black Blade series about a reluctant young bodyguard and thief, and her hometown, where magic, mobsters and monsters make for a dangerous mix, Jennifer Estep expertly combines the snark and fast-paced action that have made her a New York Times bestselling author. 
BAD THINGS ALWAYS COME IN THREES… 
As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls. 
Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families—and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…
*Whines* April 2016? Last book? Oh how you torture us! I can't wait and yet I don't want it to end.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Against a Brightening Sky by Jaime Lee Moyer

Series: Delia Martin #3
336 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 10/6/15
Source: From publisher for review
A ghost princess and a woman with nothing but a name to her fortune might change the course of history. 
By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco. 
As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick's Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing—and to save himself. 
Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose—to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name. 
As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost's secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina...and why can't she remember? 
Against a Brightening Sky is the thrilling conclusion to Moyer's glittering historical fantasy series.

My thoughts:
This is a series that should be read in order for the characterization. You can skip the second book, but at least read the first book before diving into this one. I think you would be frustrated with not knowing as much about the characters as someone who has read in order.

This is said to be the last book, but when everything is over, it doesn't quite feel complete and that more could be explored in this world. There is so much life left to be explored for Delia and Gabe. I sincerely hope that this is not the last for this series. We also get a bit more of Dora, her best friend because the mystery also involves her past. It also involves the mystery of the Royal family during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. It was an interesting inclusion to the mystery and it fit well with the paranormal abilities of Delia.

In the end we do get a full conclusion to a few of the introduced secondary characters stories. While that felt solid it also felt a bit too quickly wrapped up. In addition, I would have liked to know much more about the necromancer who was after the tsar and his whole family. Even though I felt these things were weaknesses, it also didn't take away from the larger mystery at hand for our characters.

I give this book 4 stars. While I enjoyed the mystery and our main characters we have followed from book one I also enjoyed the new introduction to some secondary characters. We don't get a definitive ending but that may be a good thing by holding the door open for future books. I recommend this series to those that enjoy historical, paranormal mysteries.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Audiobook Review with Crafts: Half a War by Joe Abercrombie


Narrator: John Keating
13 hrs. 20 min.
Unabridged
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc
Published: 7/29/15
Source: LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program and publisher for review
Words are weapons 
Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright. 
Only half a war is fought with swords 
The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death. 
Sometimes one must fight evil with evil 
Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.
My thoughts:

This was my first audio in this series. I read the books prior to this one. Now that I did this one on audio, I can say if John Keating does the others, try it on audio. I love his accent and how he brings the characters to life. I loved his brogue and how he changed them for the characters. It was easy to slip into this world with his narration. Also, while I'm on the subject. Do NOT skip books. Read (or listen) to them in order. It is fantasy and that genre is hard to skip around in a series.

This probably wasn't the strongest book in the series. That may be due to the fact it was more political than the others. Half a war is about the politics and strategy that goes on behind the war so it is no surprise that it was more heavily politic. However, if you are worried that it does not have action, no worries. It still is war and so there is action everywhere. The story also focuses on Skara and those around her and I found that I really liked her character. She was not strong but cunning even though she was only 17 and lost everyone and everything she knew in one night.

I think my biggest niggle is how the secondary characters were handled. While primary characters in other books become secondary in the next, we still remember our love for these characters. I didn't like that they were handled with carelessness and when we lose one of them, the other characters are affected but it still felt as if it was just a mention and not a major change. Perhaps the author gives the proper due to the impact is has on the game, but not how it impacts us as readers.

I give this audio 3 1/2 stars. I really think that the narrator really sold me the story in this book. There are some big changes to some beloved characters and I wanted it to have a bigger impact in the book as a whole. I was not fond of how the secondary characters were portrayed. I did love Skara and Raith's story even if it didn't quite go as expected. I highly recommend this on audio and might have to revisit it all on audio. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy with magic.
LibraryThing Early Reviewers

The Crafts!
I made this for a present and it is the Parisian Tote by RLR Creations pattern. I call it the Parisian Tote in Japan. Just going around the world. I tried to do some print matching here so there is a big front pocket behind the zippered pocket and two side pockets. I didn't quite get the sides to match but that was hard because how it is constructed. At least I got the sections fairly well matched. Still was fun and the fabric inside is gold.

Sticking with the travel motif:
I also finished this travel bag for a young cousin and I guess I kept with the theme. She just graduated and cranes are supposed to be good luck. I made sure it can go on a plane if she chooses. This pattern is the Vivian Traveler by Swoon Patterns. When I saw someone make a bag out of the fabric (from Kona Bay) I knew she would like it. There are two side pockets in case you can't see them. There is also a double zipper on the bag so she can unzip it on either side. The brown is a ultrasuede and is quite soft.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Naughty or Nice with Linda Goodnight and Giveaway!

Welcome to my tour stop for the Harlequin Naughty or Nice Tour! We have a great post (that will make you hungry) from Linda Goodnight! Welcome Linda!

The Greatest Christmas Gift
by Linda Goodnight
About The Christmas Family:
Goodreads
Amazon | B&N
Contractor Brady Buchanon can’t wait to surprise single mom Abby Webster with his company’s Christmas home makeover prize. But once he does, the struggling waitress turns him down flat! Raised in foster care, Abby won’t accept charity. Yet when her dilapidated porch almost injures her daughter, Abby finally agrees to Brady’s offer. As the hardworking bachelor pushes to finish the house in time for Christmas, he starts falling for Abby and her little girl. With the holidays in sight, Brady wonders if Abby will not only accept her beautiful new home, but also his wish to make her his wife…

Candy Day, A Holiday Tradition from Linda Goodnight

Christmas candy. The words alone stir up a powerful nostalgia in most of us. Whether it’s hard ribbon candy in our stockings or sugarplums dancing in our dreams, candy is a big part of the Christmas holidays.

Years ago, a friend and I unintentionally started a tradition that I continue to this day with my daughters. A week or two before Christmas, we set aside one day to get together and make Christmas candy. In reality, the candy is a delicious by-product of a special day of fellowship and fun with people I love during an otherwise hectic season. The resulting goodies become gifts, party and church treats, and feed the masses at my house on Christmas Day. Some recipes are relatively easy. Others take two people and hours. All are so worth it!

For best results, choose a day of low humidity (except for bonbons, which can be made anytime). Recipes come and go, but at my house we always make these four: Bonbons, Peanut Brittle, Marshmallow Fudge and Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy. For the sake of space, I’ll share the relatively easy no-cook bonbons here and post the rest on my blog. www.lindagoodnight.com/#!lindas-blog/c213k
Coconut Bonbons

No cooking required, so these are perfect for beginners. Bonbons need time to freeze before dipping in chocolate, so allow time in your schedule. Sometimes I make the balls the day before, freeze overnight and dip the next day.

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cube (½ cup) butter or margarine

1 cup pecans, chopped very fine

2 lbs powdered (confectioners’) sugar

1 large pkg (14 oz) coconut flakes

1 pkg (12 oz) chocolate chips

Paraffin—optional, but helpful to make the chocolate set nicely. Available in the baking section.

Sprinkles or extra nuts for decoration, optional

  1. Mix condensed milk with softened margarine or butter.
  2. Gradually stir in sugar, coconut and pecans. Mixture will be very stiff. You may have to use clean hands.
  3. Form into small balls (dime or nickel size). Place single file on cookie sheets or foil, and freeze.
  4. Once frozen, melt chips in microwave or over a double boiler. If you have it, add a small piece of paraffin wax, approximately 2 inches by 3 inches, and melt with the chips. (I have used half this much with good results to avoid the waxy taste.)
  5. Using two forks, quickly dip frozen bonbons into the melted chocolate and return to cookie sheet. Don’t linger in the chocolate or the bonbon will fall apart. Dipping takes some time, so having helpers is great! Chill.
  6. If desired, roll in ground nuts or sprinkles and place into small cupcake liners before chilling.
I’m always looking for new recipes. Do you have a special candy you make for the holidays? I lost my perfect “foolproof” microwave divinity recipe and haven’t been able to find another like it. Anyone who has one that really works, please post!

Happy holidays,
Linda

Giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 2 copies of each print title (one for yourself and one for a friend!): Christmas in Mustang Creek by Linda Lael Miller, The Christmas Family by Linda Goodnight, When Secrets Strike by Marta Perry, A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne and Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
  • An ebook copy of Act Like It by Lucy Parker
  • 2 Harlequin Classics limited edition notebooks
  • 100,000 Harlequin MyRewards points
  • 1 Brenda Jackson Westmorelands notebook
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below:
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Monday, Novemer 9th – Book Gossip
Tuesday, November 10th – The Book Cellar
Wednesday, November 11th – Books and Things
Thursday, November 12th – Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance
Friday, November 13th – The Reading Cow

Monday, November 16th – As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, November 17th – Peace Love Books
Wednesday, November 18th – Romancebookworms Reviews
Friday, November 20th – Blushing Reads

Monday, November 23rd – Rustys Reading
Wednesday, November 25th – Polished Bookworm
Friday, November 27th – Toot’s Book Reviews