Tuesday 25 December 2012

ARC Book Review: Mistletoe Cowboy

Book Title: Mistletoe Cowboy: Spikes & Spurs 5
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: ebook
Cost: $6.39
Pages: 352
How I got it: NetGalley 
My Rating:★★★★☆
Erotica Rating: ★★★
'Tis the season for... A matchmaking grandma on a long-disantance mission Mistletoe temptation in every doorway A sexy cowboy with a killer smile When Gran Presely agrees to sell Creed Riley the Rockin' C Ranch for a song at Christmastime, he can hardly believe his good fortune. There's just one little catch-her tantalizing granddaughter Sage is part of the deal...

My Review:
Oh how I love cowboy novels, from I was a little girl watching old Western movies starring John Wayne &  Clint Eastwood with my dad, I just wanted to meet and love a real live Cowboy. I even love the team just cause of their name, (come on don't judge me; they are my team & I love them even if they haven't exactly been playing their best in the last two three years... you know what don't get me started on them 'Boys). 

This story was both scary and sweet, because if this happened in real life we could possibly be hearing about it on the news, wondering what happened?!!? he could have been anybody, an axe murderer or worse a rapist & she was stuck there with him for the foreseeable future, with no phones, no help in sight, yeah it wasn't her smartest move; it could have gone all kinds of wrong, but this is a romance novel and scary scenarios aren't in the books (hahhaha see what i did there, come on I gotta get one in).

Now for the romantic part:how cool is it that the mistletoe always came in on him??? I love that it's a Christmas romance so it's fast & sweet & how does the mundane sound awesome when you throw Christmas in there. They slowly built their life together even before they realized that they were building a life.  The story flowed well, the characters were fleshed out & well written, the scenes flowed without being awkward.  I love the simplicity of the story, just them and a few of their neighbors every now and then, but mostly just them getting to know each other & slowly making a family. A real down home story, which sounds so much like something a grandparent would share.  

I will definitely be reading more from this author (it's my first book by her) and this series sounds like it's going to be packed full of hot cowboys, matchmaking family & well written and courageous women.  I'm looking at a spot on my shelf to slot these in. 

Happy Yule/ Christmas reading!!

Saturday 22 December 2012

Book Review: Secret Christmas Ciphers

Book Title: The Secret Christmas Ciphers
Author: Carolynn Carey
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Format: ebook, paperback
Cost: $2.99, $6.79
Pages: 134
How I got it: Free Kindle via Pixel of Ink
My Rating:★★★★☆
Erotica Rating: N/A
A Regency Christmas novella. Abigail can’t explain, even to herself, why she married Derek after he’d asked her to wait for him and then became engaged to someone else. If his poor fiancée had not died, he would now be wed to her instead of Abigail. But then Abigail begins uncovering some of the secrets that are a part of her husband’s life and wonders if perhaps there is hope for their marriage after all. Derek, Lord Westdale, wasn’t sure why Abigail married him; she obviously despised him. On the other hand, he knew exactly why he was marrying her: she was the only woman he would ever love, despite his having offered marriage to another. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to convince Abigail that he never really betrayed her after all. Can their decoding of a secret Christmas cipher bring an end to their misunderstandings and help them create their own special Christmas tradition?

My Review:
A quick read this regency romance follows a couple who met & fall in love as children & then life intervenes and they drift apart.

 OMGosh, this reminds me so much of Matthew & Mary *from Downton Abbey, not the being in love since children part but the rest* they were so in love but let other things come in between them.   Abigail loved her friend's older brother, and they learnt together all about each other as they grew up, he asked her to wait for him when he went to school and she did. Everyone expected them to marry, then came the news from London, Derek was engaged to another woman. Abigail has been dealt a blow she hasn't found a way to recover from, then Derek returns home and she finds herself standing at the altar marrying him even though she has no idea why.   She's decided to make him pay for everything; but the Derek she knew & the one she is married to are two different men.  this new Derek is more secretive than before she then discovers that her husband is working for the government and decodes ciphers as part of the war effort. With this she decided to help him & slowly they begin to bond.

 I enjoyed reading this & feeling like I was there.Well written, engaging a very good Christmas read. It was both good & sweet, It gave me a bit of a break from high suspense novels I'm a huge fan of & made me love the characters even more.  I really loved the epilogue, with the future Lord & his wife. Very endearing. I hope there are more from this author, she's new to me but I like her writing.

Hope you enjoy!!
 Buy on Amazon                            Add to Goodreads

Saturday 15 December 2012

A Tradegy Happened Yesterday:

Image from Facebook
I'm sure you by now have heard about the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  If not you can look up the full details for yourself, here is a quick snippet of what happened: a man walked into a school and 27 lives were ended (I didn't count his in that number) many of those harmed were children from kindergarten to age 10.

I would like for everyone to take a moment and say a prayer for the lost souls, and their families this holiday season.  Please no matter what your beliefs don't turn this tragedy into a politics procedure which I notice many people are starting to do.

This is a tragedy, plain and simple, no politics, just plain human compassion is needed.  Save the questions and the blame game for later, right now there are families without their loved ones, and the holiday season is right upon us. this is going to have repercussions for the children and teachers who survived, keep them in your prayers as well please.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

ARC Book review: Jane Eyre Laid Bare

Book Title: Jane Eyre Laid Bare (Goodreads)
Author: Eve Sinclair
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ebook, paperback
Cost: $9.99; 14.99
Pages: 225  
How I got it:  Netgalley
y Rating:★★★☆☆
Erotica Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Everyone is familiar with Charlotte Brontë's passionate, but restrained novel in which the plain, yet spirited governess Jane Eyre falls for the arrogant Mr. Rochester. It’s a novel that simmers with sexual tension but never quite reaches the boiling point. Which is to be expected. After all, the original was written in 1847. That was then. This is now. And in JANE EYRE LAID BARE, author Eve Sinclair writes between the lines to chart the smoldering sexual chemistry between the long-suffering governess and her brooding employer. When an eager and curious Jane Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall her sexual desires are awakened. Who is the enigmatic Rochester and why is she attracted to him? What are the strange, yet captivating noises coming from the attic, and why does the very air she breathes feel heavy with passion? Only one thing is certain. Jane Eyre may have arrived at Thornfield an unfulfilled and tentative woman, but she will leave a very different person…

My Review:

I will preface this by saying I obsessively watch BBC and PBS especially when they are doing the classics, Jane Eyre, Emma & anything Shakespeare being my all time favorites to watch. That being said when I say they were doing a retelling that would have all the eroticism expressed I was ALL for it. Then I read the book and....

Where do I begin??? Well let's just say the premise sounds better than the book actually was. There was a clash of bringing in modern language to go with the original version of the book. Maybe I had too many expectations considering the original is awesomeness wrapped in greatness, but this came no way near that. It kinda felt off somewhat considering so many things. 

I didn't understand why she would feel ashamed when she hasn't been exposed to someone saying she should??? Yet, I don't know, I was mostly confused when reading, I won't lie some of the erotic scenes were pretty good, but otherwise it was just a clash of the classic Jane and this created 'new' version of her. If you haven't read the classic Jane Eyre novel this won't change your view on Jane because they are two different characters, so once I made that decision to just see it as a different Jane then it wasn't so bad actually, however considering it's supposed to be a retelling of the classic it kind of makes it hard to see it as a different story. 

It's not the greatest story but it's still an okay read.  Have you read it??What do you think?? Let me know in the comments section please.  

21 Days of Yule: Day 11: Making Decorations

I don't know about y'all but this month is just flying by so fast!!. I collected updated addresses from my friends just last week it feels like (it's actually right before American Thanksgiving) and already it's fast approaching Yule. It's crazy in two shakes it will be here. Have you done your decorations yet??? I'm here to confess nope, no I haven't put up all my decorations, because you know what I discovered??? What seems like a lot of decorations in one room?? Doesn't quite stretch to decorations for an entire apartment.
My mother has a massive decoration collection, of course she collected them over a 30 year lifetime of decorating her own home. She has amazing and beaitiful collector pieces from Tiffany, Waterford, Spode & Lenox, as well as small pieces from  no name brands.  We each have pieces that we have contributed, either by making or purchasing when we were little or when we went on vacations, one of my favorites is a snowglobe from Disney with Mickey & m=Minnie inside.  With that as a background I have learned that saving and getting one or two really good pieces is better than buying cheap stuff I'm picky so I have been watching the sales and waiting for the good stuff to go on sale right before Yule and of course the after Christmas sales will be awesome, i'll really stock up then. . Hence no real decorations yet. Luckily for me my yarn stash ?? Is fierce and I decided to make some of my decorations as well. If your like me a can wield a hook or a pair of needles with awesome precision, here are some of my favorite sites to get free patterns as well as some serious ideas  to suuppliment the bought decorations.  One of the things I'm working on i will show you on Wednesday!!

Here's my crafting list:
Red Heart Yarn Pattern Finder:  Sign up for theit email and get 12 weeks of crochet & knitting ideas for christmas. Now all you need is time!!

CrochetPatternCentral  this website is awesome it shares so many different patterns from all over the web. Click on the Holiday tab (which is what I have linked to ) or go the the main page and serach based on pattern idea.

Ravelry if your not on here, your missing out. It's an awesome way to note all your projects, ones on the hooks & needles, & even your stash & needle sizes. It's one fo the best communities for those addicted to yarn.

Lily Sugar & Cream Yarn, this company makes cotton or kitchen yarn as some call it. Their patterns are amazing and of course for their products, but I just love thier differnt holiday ideas including the wine bottle cozy.

Lion Brand Yarn has an amazing website and a great list of patterns to choose from. Make sure to check them out.
Of course one can't forget the woman I learned to crochet from, my mother tried to teach me but it was confusing because she went so fast, I learnt by rewinding and slowing down Teresa's videos. The Art of Crochet by Teresa is an amazing site and has so many amazing ideas.

So there you have it. I will show some of the patterns I have been working on this week and let you know about my decorations.  How are yours coming along?? Share in the comments & I will swing on over.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

ARC Book Review: My Kind of Christmas

Book Title: My Kind of Christmas
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Format: paperback, ebook
Cost: $7.99, $4.00
Pages: 314
How I got it: NetGalley
My Rating:★★★★☆
Erotica Rating: N/A
The Riordan brothers may have a reputation for being rough-and tumble, but Patrick has always been the gentle, sweet-natured one. These days, his easygoing manner is being tested by his high-octane career as a navy pilot. But for the Riordan brothers, when the going gets tough…the tough find the love of a good woman. Except the woman who has caught Patrick’s attention is Jack Sheridan’s very attractive niece. Angie LeCroix comes to Virgin River to spend Christmas relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets Jack Sheridan. If her uncle had his way, she’d never go out again. And certainly not with rugged, handsome Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants—and the kind of man! Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas—until they meet each other. Then they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie—and for Christmas, Virgin River–style!

My Review:
This is a sweet Christmas romance, it's short & sweet. It's written as a part of a series, yet you can read it as a stand alone.  It references a few couples from previous books (which have been added to the 2013 to be read pile of course).

In this novel we meet with Angie & Paddy who are both recovering from traumatic events in their lives, Angie almost died & it's forcing her to re-evaluate her wants & needs.  Many of her goals & plans are ones her parents pushed her into & she wants to see if they are the right ones for her or has she been living for them this whole time.  Her mother pushes really hard for her to get back to 'normal' as fast as possible not even seeing that maybe this is a new normal.  I liked that Angie was willing to fight for her own needs & took the chance to go & re-evaluate and not just jump back in because it would help others feel more comfortable.  Although this rebellion led to some serious fireworks between her & her mother.

Patrick (Paddy) is trying to decide if being up in the air is still his love & dream.  After watching his best friend being shot down he is understandably having a hard time.  He takes sometime to rethink his life plan & also reconcile his new life goals with what he is going to do to protect & provide for his best friend's widow & son.  Ohhh Paddy is so sweet, to even have that as an idea is sweet (misguided) but sweet non the less.

When they meet they hit it off immediately because Angie has decided she won't let life slide by her anymore.  Her family in town especially her Uncle Jake who still thinks of her as a little kid has a cow
Jake cringed " Ah, dammit he's playing around with her hair!!
Luke laughed a little harder "I've played with hair...you've played with hair..."
"She's too young!! I don't want that to happen" he said glumly.
"Out of my hand. He's a Riordan, That fact that he's always been a real docile & sweet Riordan makes no difference at all. That Riordan..if he's got his eye on a target__hey nothing any of us can do"  Luke says
Can i say how much I laughed at this scene?? I could so see this happening. I laughed really well reading this book. This would make a great Christmas movie especially with the little miracle that gets thrown in, which helps Angie back onto her path. This wasn't cheesy or forced, it was a good read & the extended families?? had me cracking up. Especially when Paddy asks his brothers if they felt like dirty old men for marrying younger women.  I swear the author knows my mother, the bossiness must be a mother trait.

I had fun reading this book it was a really good straight up romance, no weird action thrown in, or weird crazy happenings, just a good romance and a reason for each of them to go back to their lives healed & happy. I loved it & the ending of course just cinched it more for me.  I can't wait to read the other 19 books especially Jake's & Luke's stories because they are interesting & fun characters.

 Buy on Amazon                            Add to Goodreads

Monday 3 December 2012

Falalala Movie Review: Dear Santa

I'm a huge Amy Acker fan I loved her in Angel, I wanted her to have her full plot line but they cancelled the show, *tears*  When I saw she had a Yule movie??? I was all over it,. I have said this before & I'll say it again, if these plots weren't about the miracle of christmas?? I would give them really bad  ratings, but they're Christmas movies so they get some bigger passes than others.
Dear Santa Synopsis:
Lonely and drifting through life, twenty-four-year-old Crystal discovers a letter from a little girl asking Santa to send her daddy a new wife for Christmas. Crystal decides to seek them out in the hopes of making herself their gift from Santa. Amy Acker, David Haydn-Jones, Gina Holden and Emma Duke star. Directed by Jason Priestley.
Now this movie?? The acting by several of the characters is slightly stilted. Some of them aren't fully fleshed out like the "typical" gay guy who loves pink, but as a family movie these flaws don't really matter. I'm not sure I wouldn't have at least gotten one hit in on the ex girlfriend especially after the brunch fiasco.  Still a good movie, one that has almost no adult themes which allows it to be a good christmas & family movie.  I loved the messages involved of doing more for others than yourself. Really good story, even if she is a stalker. LOL It's a sweet love story & I loved the soundtrack.

So make sure to add it to your family list of movies to watch this season!! Happy Yule

Saturday 1 December 2012

2012 Edition of 21 Days of Yule.: Day 1

Welcome to another fun year of Yule Countdown. Truthfully I have been anticipating Yule since September, I have humming music, looking at my decorations, planning and scheming I can't wait for Yule, this year is going to be awesome.  I looked around and didn't see any Yule themed parties this year, so I wanted to see if y'all want to join me in sharing your ideas, recipes, favorite music, decorations and projects for the season.  I will link up the last few year's worth of posts for you to see. If you wish to participate, simply copy the photo's link and add to your blog, leave a comment on the blog post saying your participating and I will have up a page for all out participants,.

This year I'm coming from a crafting place with my decorations and my blog posts. I'll also be sharing my worship ideas from my favorite books for the season.

Today being the first day in the countdown to Yule, I thought I would share the first and the second days worship ideas and then what crafts I am working on.

December 1st:
Today's theme is "Integrity in Work"
 For this day's theme, create a short realistic code of practice for your occupation as well as in your personal life.  
Many different profession have these, many different faiths also have a set of codes that they operate by, we know that doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, nurses have the Nightingale Pledge, heck even cops take a vow.  The act of making a commitment and then sticking to it, breeds a certain kind of karma, it gives order to the chaos and gives us something to stand for and it gives us a line, a line in which we know we won't or shouldn't cross.  Having integrity, being a person of our word, is something we should all strive for, because in the end when all things have passed being a person of our word is what others will remember, our actions of being where we said we would be, doing what we said we would do, gives our loved ones a sense that they matter to us. It let's our employers and employees/coworkers know that we are someone they can rely on. Because nothing travels faster than the gossip about a dishonest "fill in the blank here".  The greatest way to honor the Gods is to make our actions, nay even our words be a reflection of them.  Seek them for aide in saying what you mean and meaning what you say, while making your words not carry darts meant to harm, but darts that share truth.
"Any code of practice must first apply  to the sacred source of spiritual inspiration to keep it's actions pure, to operate from the highest motives, to irrigate all work from the wellspring of integrity. " ~~ Caitlin Matthews, *

The Goddess of the Day is: Unchi-ahchi. Her theme is "spirituality, meditation, & universal law".  Today's Goddess deals with ritual, in Japan to worship devotees go to the temple and have a tea ritual which is very deliberate and formal in it's moves; as each movement is considered a symbol of sacred truths learnt during ritual.  To worship or show appreciation for this Goddess you can make tea & have a spiritual discussion with friends. To make it more ritualistic, choose a tea that coincides with the discussion you will be having with your friends or family. To aide in love and friendship it's suggested to use lemon; for divination use orange, for alternative health use mint.

December 2nd:

Today's theme: 
"Defending the Country"
Commune with the Spirit of the Country you live. Ask it what are the freedoms & privileges it guards. Ask how these freedoms are to be defended & what are the greatest threats to those freedoms at this time"

At first when I saw this theme I wondered how I a non military personnel could possibly do in defending our country. I came up with two things: 1) defending the country goes beyond military service, it means making sure what our military are fighting for is still here when they get back, it means holding our leaders to their duties, it means making sure the laws of the land are being followed *at least by those in your family and personal sphere .  It means being aware of the issues and doing what YOU can do to get things fixed, changed or make sure it's being carried thru. Don't have funds?? How about donating blood?!! Giving away food and clothes you may not be using or can't wear anymore?? Recently I saw two homeless men doing some yard work to earn money, I was walking past and decided to buy them a meal from the local restaurant, as it wasn't near my home i couldn't give them anything else, they were more than grateful. Simple things make a huge difference to those who need it.   Look at how everyone is talking about the picture of the cop helping the homeless man with some shoes, he certainly didn't do it knowing he would end up being on the news, little things count.

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering lims astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-brigded harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pom!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddle masses yearning to breath free,
The wrechted refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Lady Liberty's vow, on the Statue Liberty in NYC

the poem referenced above to me stands for what the spirit of this country is about. This is what America's Spirit is for me, it's a place where many come for hope and a chance for something better than they had in their homeland.  We need to preserve that, make sure our country is always a country of opportunity and a place for others to come to, and right now?? It's not, the current atmosphere isn't a good one, I'm not talking about the economy, that right now isn't what I'm worried about, I'm talking the us vs them attitude, we are a country built by foreigners, we can't allow the 'they are the reason things are going bad" excuse to continue.  That's one of the ways to defend out country, make sure her ideals are being upheld and not being high jacked by idiots.  

The 2) way that I have decided to defend our country is to support our armed forces. There are many different organizations out there that are set up to give aid where they can. During the winter there are groups that collect cards and distribute them to wounded soldiers, you can donate phone cards so that those who are in war zones can call home for the holidays, you can make or donate items to be sent to the military on foreign soil. Make sure the organization is a reputable one, check out  Patti's blog post about this.

So there that's my idea; oh an also remember each dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want, how you spend it and where you spend it make a difference in demand for certain products or services. Those are my ways of defending the country, how do you do it???

Happy World AIDS day. Do you know your status??? Get checked out!!!

Happy December 1st
*Information for Goddess from 365 Goddess by Patricia Telesco & Daily Intention from Celtic Spirit by Caitlin Matthews.