Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Books

I think I might have to admit that all I have been doing lately is reading. Here are some more book reviews. Have any of you had a chance to read anything interesting recently?

Soul Thief (A Soul Thieves Book)
By Amber Scott

Description from the author’s website: ‘Three years ago, one horrific night changed his life forever. And now the wolf soul that was invoked to save him is taking over his body, day by day. Can he master his animal instincts in time to discover who is stealing children’s souls before the delicate balance we all depend upon is shattered? Or will he reject the one woman who can help heal his body and his soul?”

What I Liked:
The plot is great. Someone stealing souls? That’s a new one and compelling.
I couldn’t read fast enough, wondering what was going to happen to the missing boy, Tristan.
There was a nice mix of ghosts, wolf spirits, and souls. Interesting.
Really enjoyed the characterization. Each character was distinct and memorable without feeling forced.

What I Didn’t Like:
Again, I didn’t realize that this is a paranormal romance and I’m not a real fan of romance. Having said that, it is not at all overdone in this book and I had to admit that it added to the story.

Liked It? Very Much.
Recommend It? Yes, especially if you like paranormal romance, but maybe even if you don’t. Great story.
Where To Find It? Soul Thief    
Price? $3.86 (I got this free and the price seems to have shifted again, so keep checking back. You might get a better deal)

Son of Holmes by John Lescroart

The description from the author’s website: “The “reliably excellent” John Lescroart (Publishers Weekly), acclaimed author of the bestselling novels featuring attorney Dismas Hardy, here offers a rich and engrossing historical mystery that takes us to a small French town in the dark days of World War I and introduces us to Auguste Lupa.

The rumor is that he is the son of the greatest detective of all time. And the truth of his mysterious legacy may come to light as he attempts to solve the baffling murder of an intelligence agent and uncover an ingenious act of sabotage.”

What I Liked:
This story is fabulously written. I felt submersed.
The book is set during world war I in France. The surrounding war is a great backdrop.
The characters are distinct, memorable, and believable. I could picture every one of them.
There was that characteristic ‘Holmes’ air about the character, Lupa (matter-of-fact, direct, and funny without realizing it).
The use of deduction was entertaining.

What I Didn’t Like:
Not a thing.

Liked It? Absolutely.
Recommend It? Absolutely.
Where To Find It? I found my copy at the library.
Price? Free if you find it at your library. It was $13.99 on Amazon for kindle version.

Meet a Jerk Get To Work, How To Write Villains and The Occasional Hero by Jacqueline Girdner

Description from the author’s website: “An article by Jaki from The Portable Writers' Conference on how to find your fiction characters and settings in everyday life.”

What I Liked:
I have read this book twice and find it incredibly inspirational. When I read it, I run to the keyboard and start writing.
She offers great advice for finding ideas from everyday living and how to turn those into stories.
She captures a great way of thinking about your killer and victim that makes plotting out a detective mystery much easier.
As it is an article (I thought it was a short ebook), it is a quick read.

What I Didn’t Like:
Not a thing.

Liked It? Loved it. Have read it twice already.
Recommend It? Absolutely if you are interested in writing detective books especially or a writer in general.
Where To Find It? Meet a Jerk Get To Work
Price? Free for download.

What are you reading? (or are you actually doing other things, lol?)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Goddess

I had mentioned the other day that Leonie Dawson has this lovely (free) downloadable colouring book for adults. I wanted to add a picture of some of the goddesses that I had done but my scanner crapped out.

Yesterday I welcomed a new printer/scanner/copier that I got on wicked sale (gotta love Boxing Week sales). This one is an Epson and I already love it.

It works with the cloud so I can be almost anywhere and print. How cool is that? Also, it does not torment me by printing only in pink; it does not print huge pink blobs on everything; it does not tell me that my finger drive is full when it is in fact empty; it does not flash at me BEFORE I even ask it to do something (I'm talking about you ugly Lexmark printer).

So I'm deliriously happy this fine morning. Here's one of the goddesses from Leonie's book all done up in glitter for this fabulous January morning. What are you making today?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Reviews

Part of my 2014 goals are to read at least six books each month. I picked out my six for January and proceeded to finish five of them before January started, lol. I just have Son of Holmes by John Lescroart left to finish.

Here is a breakdown of the five that I have read:

How To Be A Morning Goddess, Leonie Dawson
Genre: self-help, inspirational

The description from the author’s site:  “20 goddess share their own morning rituals, to inspire you & give you ideas for creating, nurturing & loving your own morning goddess self!”

What I Liked:
I enjoyed seeing the wide variety of ways that the goddesses in the book started their day. Some were so very different from my personality and style that it was interesting to view.
I also liked being introduced to some new goddesses and will follow-up with the bio info at the end of each section so that I can learn more about these women.
This was a quick read (47 pages) but interesting enough that I will go back and re-read.

What I Didn’t Like:
There weren’t enough examples. I breezed through the book so quickly that I felt like I wanted more. 

Liked it? Definitely.
Recommend it? Definitely, to anyone who is looking to incorporate new ideas into their morning routine, looking for ways to start the day, or just for the voyeur aspect.
Where to find it? Morning Goddesses

Price? Free to download.

Unchained, by CJ Barry
Genre: sci-fi romance

The description from the author’s website:  

“Fugitive Kin-sha warrior Cidra Faulkner and honor-bound intergalactic treasure hunter Grey Stone are thrown together to uncover a betrayal of catastrophic proportions. The universe will never be the same.”

What I liked:
Strong female character who was also vulnerable and felt real.
Nice twists and turns.
Wraps up with some surprises.
Great dialogue and action.

What I didn’t like:
 Too much passion and sex for my liking. 
The male character was definitely an alpha male, a little over the top I thought (though I prefer a beta male lead).

Liked it? Pretty much
Recommend it? Maybe, if you like sci-fi romance.
Where to find it? Unchained  
Price? $2.89

Lazy to Amazing, Sage Grayson
Genre: self-help, inspirational

Sage Grayson has developed an ebook that promises to take you from sitting on your lazy butt to kicking ass,…all in 5 easy steps.  

She starts off by listing a bunch of ‘lazy’ behaviours. Mostly these are behaviours that are not fully active, not fully accountable and productive. I have to admit that I found myself in more than a few of them.

Next, she moves into her five action tips. The first is having the reader create a vision board. I think this is a great idea and helps to focus attention on the dreams and goals for the year (or quarter, or whatever timeframe you want to use). You can see my vision board on my Facebook page here.  This year, I want to spend time and attention on getting healthy which means all of the usual steps to be healthier physically (diet, exercise, water, etc.), but I also want to focus on my mind and spirit with meditation, connecting with friends and family, creating daily, and starting a gratitude journal. I printed out the vision board and glued it into my daybook so that I can reflect on it several times a day. Keeps me focused and feeling positive.

Sage has four other sound suggestions to help you get motivated to turn your dreams and goals into action and attainment, but I don't want to give them all away here. :)

What I Liked:
Her suggestions are easy to digest and easy to implement.
Her writing style is conversational and approachable.
She gives examples.
A fast read (16 pages).

What I Didn't Like:
If you're looking for something with real depth, this probably isn't it.

Liked it? Yes.
Recommend it? Yes, to people who want a little direction with their dream planning.
Where to find it? Lazy to Amazing 
Price? Free download.

Promise You Won’t Tell? John Locke
Genre: Detective

The description from the author’s website: 
“I think something might have happened to me Saturday night. Something bad.”
Private Investigator Dani Ripper’s client list is nuttier than the Looney Tunes conga line, but she diligently solves one crazy case after another, waiting for a game-changer.
Enter Riley Freeman, 17-year-old honor student.
Saturday afternoon Riley quietly placed a little strawberry sticker on her private area and pretended it was a tattoo. She didn’t tell anyone about it. That night she went to a slumber party that featured drinking and boys. Riley fell asleep, woke up the next day with no reason to think anything happened…
…Until Monday, at school, when a classmate called her Strawberry.
Coincidence or crime? Dani agrees to investigate. And the roller coaster ride begins.”

What I Liked:
I was completely fooled, did not anticipate the twists.
The dialogue was fast, funny, and edgy. 
I fell in love with the main character’s sass (she says a lot of the things we wish we would in certain situations) and compassion (despite her edge, she cares about other people).

What I Didn’t Like:
The very last paragraph revealed the plot twists in a conversation. It felt a little ham-handed, like it could have been done more subtly. 

Liked it? Yes.
Recommend it? Yes, if you like PI stories especially.
Where to find it? Promise You Won’t Tell
Price? Free (not sure for how long)

13, Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Description from the author's site: "A war is brewing—the first battle has been waged and Savannah Levine is left standing, albeit battered and bruised. She has rescued her half brother from supernatural medical testing, but he’s fighting to stay alive. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah has called upon her inner energy to summon spells with frightening strength, a strength she never knew she had, as she fights to keep her world from shattering. But it’s more than a matter of supernaturals against one another—both heaven and hell have entered the war; hellhounds, genetically modified werewolves, and all forces of good and evil have joined the fray.

Uniting Savannah with Adam, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other lost-but-notforgotten characters in one epic battle, for a grand series finale."

This is the last book in a series, "Women of the Otherworld". I am completely and utterly addicted to this series. The characters are amazing without being unbelievable. They are sympathetic without being weak, in fact, they are women who can take care of themselves but not in an over-the-top sort of way.

The suspense is exquisite and the action is fast. It is a book for people who love to be challenged mentally but also love a fast-paced action book. 

What I Liked:
Fabulous characterization.
Never sure what is coming next.
Fast-paced and action-filled.
The romance aspect is a smaller part of the story than typical romance genre stories.

What I Didn't Like:
This is the last book in the series.  :(

Liked it? Absolutely.
Recommend it? Definitely, even if you aren't normally a paranormal fan.
Where to find it? Check your library (that's where I found it) or here.
Price? Free at the library, $15.06 on Amazon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Colouring Isn't Just For Kids

Sometimes I feel like creating or playing with markers and pencils, but I am zapped for ideas or only have a small amount of time. When this happens, I try to find easy ways to create.

Recently, I have been exploring Leonie Dawson's fabulous website and stumbled across her "Inspire My Spirit" coloring book. It is a free download and has proved to be more fun than I can say. It's kind of like a built-in art prompt.

I've been using metallic markers, glitter glue, and pastels today to make a wild and fun picture. I am often a conservative type gal so this has been a nice way to break out of that pattern.

Leonie has a bunch of other free downloads: books, videos, audios, calendars. Be sure to check them out while you're there.

Would you sit down to do some colouring? Or do you leave that to the kiddos?