Friday, 24 October 2014

Treat with Caution by Serenity Woods

Tasha and Cole have been friends for years, but have never strayed across that friendship line.  Now they both want to rent the same sea front shop in Mangonui, in the Northland of New Zealand,  and neither will back down.  A rash statement has led to a challenge, date for the next week and a half.  The one who falls most for the other loses the rental.  Both of them figure they'll easily win.

I love the mud caked rubber boots outside this office
 The waterfront in  Mangonui is beautiful and I can understand why both Tasha and Cole want to situate their businesses there.  (photos I took there in 2012 during a family vacation)

Both are scared of losing  a dear friend should the romance fail, but the stakes appear too high not to try.

I enjoyed following their romance.  Both of them trying to seduce the other without falling head over heals in love.  It had me cheering for both of them at different times.  Yes, I am a romantic at heart and not ashamed to admit it.

The romances continue with Tasha's friends in:

Treat her Right
A Rare Treat
Trick or Treat
A Festive Treat

Author Serenity Woods also writes epic fantasy under the pen name Freya Robertson.

Thanks to author Serenity Woods for my free review copy.  

This  ebook is currently free from several online retailers.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Way: Volumes of the Vemreaux by Mary E. Twomey

In a world where blood type determines your lot in life, A means a life of labour, B leads to a life of privilege and O to isolation on a distant island where the residents blood is harvested.  As an A, Blue Anders has known no  other life, than hard work and continual physical training by her brother.  Her unbeatable strength has led her and her brother  Baird to believe that she is the Light, the one that will fulfil the prophecy to free the Vemreaux from that which threatens them.

This is quite the world that author Mary Twomey has created.  It appears to be a possible future of our own world.  I love the careful attention to detail, such as all girls born in the same year, have the same middle name.  To add a twist to the population, she has given the Bs the opportunity to undergo the Change to extend their life span by many decades. 

There are strict class rules which seem quite daunting, though they do thin within the work place.  The lowest of Bs always outrank As, yet Baird still manages to keep control of the activities within the business he manages.  Makes this a very real society in my view.

The role of family is explored in this novel.  Elle and Grettel are not related to Blue and Baird, yet they live together and care for each other as family.  These bonds are further tested when several Vemreaux become involved with the siblings.

The further I got into this story, the more I liked Blue and even Baird. I did not want to book to end, but I wanted to find out what happens, did she fulfil the prophecy.

The last part is not answered yet, as the story continues in the next book The Truth, which I am looking forward to,

Cover image courtesy of Kobo.

This ebook is currently free from several online retailers. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Needlework Tuesday - And the Mystery Scarf Location is...

This is my sister Nancy, who I made the scarf for.  Looks lovely on her and is sure to keep her ultra warm this winter when she is walking around on the blustery streets of Calgary.  Yes, it was knit using weather statistics of that city.

As it turns out, all those who submitted guesses as to the location selected Calgary.  It was that snowy period in September that gave it away.

 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you
 My sister pointed out that the scarf is long enough to share with your sweetie when out for a stroll.  Smart lady.

Did you notice that Nancy has bare feet. Rather a contrast from the overkill of the scarf.   While she was visiting we followed the Chocolate Trail in Stratford, Ontario.  A fun afternoon adventure, and rather tasty.

Have I kept you waiting long enough.  The winner of the contest, selected by Rafflecopter, is Marie.  She has won a gift certificate to Book Depository (one I figure out how to purchase one).

The weather is getting chillier here and making me want to knit socks.  For those readers who knit socks, what is your favourite pattern that you have either used or plan to use.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post, or to a link about the socks you have knit.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cordelias Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

This book is comprised of Shards of Honor and Barrayar.

Commander Cordelia Naismith is a strong female character who has commanded a survey ship and crew, led a military mission, saved the life of a  young emperor and saved his country from total chaos.  When I first met her at the beginning of this book, she was in full control of her crew and ready to handle any disaster.  A few pages later, she is confronted by Captain Aral Vorkosigan and almost immediately she is attracted to him and having romantic thoughts even while she contemplating how to escape from him.

At this point I thought the book was going to be a romance novel, not what I was looking for.  I kept reading and found that was not the case.  Yes, there is romance, but it is only one part of the story between Cordelia and Aral.

Author Lois McMaster Bujold has created a complex world on Barrayar.  They are a space faring race with advanced technology in their hands, yet they also have long standing issues of class divisions, power struggles and gender roles.  I did ponder the hints of a Russian heritage for the founding of the planet.  Hopefully the founding of the planet will become clear in subsequent books in the series.

One of the strengths of this book is the great characters that surround both Cordelia and Aral.  Piotr Vorkosigan, father of Aral, is an aristocrat through and through. He does love his son, though not in a warm cuddly way, rather for the prestige that Aral can bring to the family name.  Fellow soldiers Koudelka and Bothari are definitely men that you would want on your side in any battle and Drou, though not a soldier is certainly more than capable in her role as bodyguard.

As I finished reading this book, I was already wondering about the fates of these characters and whether they would play a role in in the next Vorkosigan book.

Thanks to Baen Books for use of the cover image.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#Twinkle by S. J. Parkinson and Giveaway

I love watching fireworks, from the brilliant sparkles to the reverberating explosions.  They are like magic, dancing across the sky.  Author SJ Parkinson envisions fireworks with a more sinister motive in his newest novel Twinkle.

On July 4, Sir Marcus Brandon, the wealthiest man in the world, wants to celebrate the launch of  GNI, (Global News International) with a fireworks show.  To ensure worldwide enjoyment, he has arranged for it to be shot from satellites in orbit.   Inexplicably, all who viewed the fireworks start to go blind twenty-two hours later.  Only a handful of people around the globe, those who didn't view the fireworks, retain their vision.

This book is  set in the United States, but easily could have been  located in any of the world's major cities.  Much of the plot is centred around various levels of the military and the President, though the medical and general public are critical to the plot.

While I don't usually read military inspired stories, I was captivated from the first pages.  For two days I couldn't put this book down.  The military discipline and procedures worked well in this story. I wasn't lost by the unfamiliar terms, locations or processes of NORAD or the army/navy as Mr. Parkinson included succinct footnotes that answered my questions before I even knew to ask them.  Security surrounding the American President was paramount in this plot and explained equally as well.

Twinkle is fast paced, occurring over the course of a two week span.  There are frequent jumps between the main characters and locations, each is easy to follow and there doesn't leave gaps in the narration.   Even though the story moves along quickly, there is sufficient detail such that I felt as though I knew several of the characters.  My favourites being: Dr. Krause who was working to cure the blindness, Oscar Blake who was a patient of the doctor and missed the fireworks, and Colonel Alvin Smith who was on duty at NORAD during that night.

I recommend reading the author's end notes where he provides additional information clarifying fact from fiction  with regard to both the blindness and the military.  This is a well contrived story and should appeal to a wide range of readers.

For a chance to win a copy of Twinkle and four additional books by SJ Parkinson, use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to Virtual Author Books Tours and author SJ Parkinson for my review copy. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting for Wine

As well as creating useful items, such as hat and scarves, I get pleasure making decorative items.  A wine bottle doesn't really require a cosy, but they sure do  look cute.  These will be finding their way to one of my cousins.  Her husband's family owns a winery, so I felt these would be welcome.

Both patterns are available free online.  I used to base pattern from the cabled bag on the green eyelet bag, though I adjusted the number of stitches.

Cable Bottle Cosy by JustBCrafty

I did eight cable repeats.

Eyelet Bag by Kathy North for Classic Elite Yarns

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you

It was busy this past week with a visit from my sister and then Thanksgiving dinner with more family.  That didn't leave much time for  stitching. Did you have time to do any stitching this past week, Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current post.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tangled Thursday - The Letter P

The Letter P.  That was our challenge by Elaine, tangle the letter P in any way you want.  I took it literally and purchased a small wooden letter.  It's just over 6 inches in height and  2 1/2 inches wide.  Tangles used: papyrus, wud, intersection, floating disks, paradox and zedbra.

This was a fun challenge having so few instructions/rules. It gave me the freedom to do a letter shape, something I've been wanting to do for a while.

I'll be giving this letter to my nephew Paul.

Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns

Did you play along this week and tangle with 'P'.  Add a link to your 'P' post, or your other current tangle related post to Mister Linky below.   

If you missed my Needlework post on Tuesday, you still have time to enter my "Guess the Scarf Location" contest. Read that post for details on how to enter.