Monday, January 27, 2014

Charlotte: Prowling for Enchantment by Mima

Title: Charlotte: Prowling for Enchantment
By: Mima
Publisher: Pocket Star
ISBN: 9781476749709
Format: e-book only, $3.99
Release Date: January 2014
How I Read It: E-ARC via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 Cups

Sail away on a moonlit adventure! It’s the readers who guide Charlotte’s romantic fate in the Dare to Decide series’ next interactive erotic ebook. From the mermaid beach to the fairy ball, you steer Charlotte’s passions with the click of a link.
Finally, it’s Charlotte’s time for a sexy single’s cruise, the kind of trip Gram would have loved. Umbrella drink in hand, she finds herself with a choice...a tawny Viking of a man beckons from across the bar, while a leather-clad rocker gets tossed at her feet. Neither man is as human as he seems…but then again, neither is Charlotte.
Before she knows it, Charlotte’s dodging curses and negotiating extraordinary pleasure. The elder tales warned us against trusting a pretty face…do you dare to decide where Charlotte goes next? Find your way through the eleven mysterious, magical endings. (taken from NetGalley)

My Thoughts:
Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books we all read—and loved—as kids? Well…Pocket Star—a digital imprint of Simon and Schuster—has released an adult version, Charlotte: Prowling for Enchantment by Mima—and I kind of loved it, too—and it’s available at the click of a button.

After the death of her grandmother, Charlotte decides to live a little by taking a cruise, although she never realized that it was a cruise for fantastical creatures—or that she was one of them—until she meets two attractive men that have the ability to rock her world.

With eleven endings, some that will please your HEA fantasies and some that left me a tad disappointed—and numerous ways to get there, each as entertaining and naughty as the one before—Charlotte: Prowling for Enchantment was definitely a fun and funky weekend adult read laced with paranormal mayhem.

Although this book was erotic, it wasn’t over the top, so those of you who are newbies to the erotic genre won’t feel so overwhelmed.

I was a bit conflicted when rating this book. I loved some of the pathways that the book took, and some not so much, but that’s the fun thing with choose your own adventure books, if you don’t like the ending pick a new one. While I liked the characters—most of them—some of the paranormal aspects were a little far out there and a little over played.

Overall: It was a fun weekend adventure and depending on the paths that you choose, could be a novella or becomes a full novel.

Will I read more of these Daring to Decide books? I do believe so! And this book will make a great e-gift!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Cold Continues…



Drive my dead thoughts over the universe

     Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!

     And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth

     Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

     Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,

     If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Taken Saturday Morning
It’s ten ‘till two in the afternoon, so I’m getting another late start today on my Sunday Salon post, but in all fairness, I had to wait until my fingers thawed out so I could actually type and I’m still fighting this head cold that I have caught.
It’s cold here—and when I say cold, I mean colder than Alaska cold—thanks to round two of the bloody Polar Vortex that seems to hanging over us and refusing to release us from its icy grasp. And don’t get me started on the snow—we’ve already had half a foot of snow and more is on the way.
You know it’s cold when you’re outside for less than 5 minutes shoveling—or in my case attempting to shovel, or I should say fighting the drifts—and your thick wool legwarmer actually freezes.
Needless to say, I didn’t stay outside too long, which was good considering I just managed to get inside and warmed up when the power went off. And my Scottish oatmeal breakfast helped to warm me up.
In other news, here’s what been going on in bloglandia.
Lost In Me by Barbara J. Hancock—for those of you who like modern gothics, Lost In Me is sure to satisfy. And it’s completely free thanks to Harlequin putting it out as a free online read!
Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley—another modern gothic--or women-in-jeopardy novel as the author calls them. Written with Kearsley’s flare for combining history, mystery, romance, and suspense, Named of the Dragon—while not as strong as her other novels—will please and entertain.
The Dark Witch by Nora Robert—I’ve never been a fan of Nora Roberts, but I loved this one and cannot wait for the next two in the trilogy.
Reviews to come this week:
Darkening Around Me by Barbara J. Hancock—another delightful modern gothic that I cannot wait to share.
Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson—a brilliant modern take of Pride & Prejudice.
diy candle holder
Stained glass candleholder
DIY to come this week:
My adventures in arm knitting…
What I’m Reading this week:
Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley
Charlotte by Mima
Douglas by Grace Burrowes
Legacy of Darkness by Jane Godman
In other news…
DSCF5151I was in my writing cave for most of last week and some of the weekend working on my own modern gothic trying to make my deadline and keeping well stocked with tea and biscuits…now if only Carson (the butler from Downton Abbey) would keep my teapot topped off…

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.



County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.


Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.


When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.


Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…


Series: The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy #1 | Publisher: Berkley |Genre: Fiction |How I Read it: Purchased  | Rating: 4 Cups

 Challenges Read For:  Reading Through Nora Roberts

Winter 1263 Sorcha, the original Dark Witch, is being hunted by Cabhan who wants her powers for his own and will stop at nothing to get them but Sorcha will not freely give them and he cannot take them without her consent. With her husband off fighting a war and still weak from the loss of her unborn child, Sorcha knows what she must do to keep her three children alive. She merges her powers with the powers of her young children then sends them off so she can face Cabhan alone.
County Mayo, 2013 Iona Sheehan has sold everything and left behind her grandmother, the only person who ever loved her, to move to Ireland, the place of her ancestors. In searching out the legend of the first Dark Witch, Iona hopes to find where she belongs by getting in touch with her roots, but she wasn’t prepared for just how in touch she would become. When she meets her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, they know instantly that she is the third. The only thing left to do is teach her how to use the magick and prepare her for Cabhan, who already has her in his sights.
As Iona learns how use the magick inside her, she also starts falling for Boyle McGrath, the owner of the local stable that she’s just been hired at.
I’ve never been overly fond of Nora Roberts’ writing—it’s good, don’t get me wrong, but none of it has captured my attention the way The Dark Witch did. I found, no matter how hard I tried, I could not put this book. It held me spellbound until the very last page and now I am anxiously awaiting the second book.
The main character, Iona, at the beginning of the book, comes off a bit strong and a tad annoying but thankfully that quickly changes and she becomes very likeable as her character arcs. Boyle McGrath, Iona’s love interest, gave off that typical Irish boxer swagger. Broody and one to keep women at arm’s length, he finds the situation he’s in with Iona to be a new one and jumps to some interesting conclusions which blow up in his face. I just wished that he would have been a bit more prevalent in the story—he’s in there, but I didn’t feel as though I really got a chance to meet him.
While The Dark Witch was Iona’s story, I found that the other characters, Branna, Connor, Fin, and Meara intrigued me as well, which is good considering that their stories are to come (and I cannot wait to read them). They added a nice balance to the novel, and I cannot wait to get to know more about Fin, there was something about him—perhaps that he’s of Cabhan’s blood and walks the line between good and evil—that makes him enthralling.
I also liked the way Cabhan and that whole aspect was handled. Rather than every page being ‘this great evil beastie is out to get us and we all might die’ the drama was well handled, it was there but it allowed the plot to flow naturally without being overloaded.
Another plus for me was the way that Roberts brought the setting to life; I could almost feel the rain and smell the peat fires.
As this is a trilogy, I knew that there would be a cliffhanger of sorts, but I was very pleased with the way the first book ended.
Overall, I could not get enough of this book. While I wished that Boyle would have been introduced more, I think that it lent a bit of mystery that he wasn’t. Thoroughly intrigued and pleased, I cannot wait to read the second installment.
And just look at that cover….gorgeous!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Stained Glass Candleholder

DIY simply angela

For the last few months, I’ve been looking for glass candleholders. Of course, they’re not hard to find, glass candleholders abound just about everywhere you look, but I was looking for a certain type. They had to be round, not too tall but not too short, preferably with a fluted tops and some type of footing, in blue or green, and hold look of antiquity.

I looked and I looked. I searched and I searched. There wasn’t an antique shop or flee market, or store in a 50 mile radius that I left unsearched—I even scoured the internet for something to please my fancy and still I came up empty handed (okay, not quite so empty handed, I did purchase some really neat items along the way, but none of them was the candleholders which I had been searching for).

Once I realized I wasn’t going to find what I wanted, I decided to make my own.

diy candle holder


Supplies needed

Glass Vase/Jar, Elmer’s School Glue, green and blue liquid food coloring, gold puff paint, paper plate, rubbing alcohol, water

Optional Supplies: Metallic permanent marker in gold (I have found that the Sharpie brand works the best on glass surfaces)


before you start

You’ll want to cover your work surface with something to protect it. I use a vinyl tablecloth. If you will need to move your project before it’s dried, you’ll need something for the candleholders to sit in. I use an oversized plastic mixing bowl, but an old shoebox would work— just cover the bottom with newspaper.


step 1

Wash glass thoroughly in warm soapy water. Allow the glass to dry. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and run over the inside of the jar to remove oil and residue. If the glass is too small, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol (about two capfuls) inside the glass, cover the top, and gently shake. Allow to dry.

Upcycling Tip

If you are upcycling an old jar that has the label attached, allow the jar to soak for an hour or two to remove the glue from the jar—if you find that the glue is being stubborn, use a SMALL amount of vegetable or olive oil on a cotton ball to rub over the glue, just make sure you rewash the jar to remove the oil, then follow the steps above.


step 2

  Either in the bottom of your vase or in a separate cup, add two tablespoons of glue and 1-2 tablespoons of warm water, mix together until the water has absorbed into the glue. Now add 2-3 drops of blue food coloring, blend well, then add 1 drop of green and mix. Don’t be afraid to play around with the colors or the amount that you use.

helpful tip

When mixing colors together remember 3 different colors is your limit. If you mix any more than three separate colors, the outcome tends to be murky.


step 3

If you mixed your paint in a separate cup, pour the paint into your vase. Turn the vase until the inside is completely coated, then sit the vase upside down on a paper plate to dry.


step 4

Once the paint has dried, it’s now time to add your designs. If this is your first time, you might want to use a metallic Sharpie to draw on the designs that you want. Having used the puff paint before, I was acquainted with the way the tube and tip worked so I free-handed the designs I wanted. For the gilded-looking top and footer, I squeezed on enough paint to coat the top and bottom then worked the tip of the paint tube until I achieved the design I wanted. Allow to dry to dry for 24 hours.


Voilà! Now you have a decorative vase that will be perfect for both keeping and giving as a gift.

(just remember, the paint is not waterpoof. If you wanted to use these to hold flowers, I suggest that you take a gallon sized ziplock baggy, cut off about two inches down from the top of the baggy to remove the ziplock, place baggy inside the vase, secure the baggy by folding the edges down over the top of the vase and placing on a rubber band, then add water.)


If you make one of these stained glass candleholders, I would love to know how it turned out.

Happy Crafting!  


Sunday, January 19, 2014

When all else fails…Keep Calm & Read On!

Between the cold temps (it dropped to -42, it was colder here in Ohio than it was in Alaska) and my head cold, I’ve missed the last two Sunday Posts…so I thought I would share a few of my favorite bookish quotes.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley


Title: Named of the Dragon

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Allison & Busby (2013)

ISBN: 978-0-7490-4026-0

How I Read It: Trade Paperback purchased by me

Rating: 4 Cups

When one of her authors invites her to Wales for the Christmas holidays, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw hopes to escape the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her baby five years before.

But shortly after she arrives at her host’s house, Lyn meets Elen, an emotionally fragile young widow who’s afraid for her infant son’s safety, and seems to view Lyn as the child’s protector.

As Lyn’s dreams become even more disturbing, she forms an unlikely alliance with a reclusive playwright, and is pulled into an ancient world of haunting legends and dangerous prophecies...where she will finally uncover the secret of her dreams. (taken from the back cover)

My Thoughts:

When I pick up one of Susanna Kearsley’s novel’s I know I’ll be in for a literary treat and Named of the Dragon was no exception.

Literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw has been plagued with nightmare since the death of her baby five years ago. When Bridget, one her authors, invited her to spend Christmas in Angle—a village in Pembrokeshire, Wales—she jumps at the chance hoping to flee her nightmares.

Although when she arrives and meets Ellen, the eccentric neighbor who believes that dragons are after infant son and Lyn was sent to be his protector, her nightmares escalate and become entwined with a Celtic legend whose origins are rooted with the legend of King Arthur. Now she finds that she must unravel the legend with the help of brooding playwright, Gareth Gwyn Morgan.

I am a huge fan of Susanna Kearsley’s novels, so when I finally found Named of the Dragon in print, I had to buy it! One of her earlier works, the writing isn’t quite as strong as her later novels but I found it to be just as engaging.

Mixing all her signature elements—history, mystery, suspense, paranormal, and romance (although it was a bit light)—Named of the Dragon incorporates both Arthurian myth and Tudor history (which I cannot get enough of) into a tale that both intrigued and satisfied.

I loved the atmospheric setting and brilliant descriptions, both made me feel as though I was a part of the novel. While most of the characters were endearing, some come off a bit strong but that didn’t affect their likability. And the flow of the plot was smooth making this book to fly by.

One of the things that I loved about Susanna Kearsley’s novels is that even though the elements of each of her novels remain the same, each book is fresh and new and incorporates something different.

Overall, I loved this book. I wanted to give it 5 Cups, but I felt a few of the scenes were a little rushed and this book could have easily been a wee bit longer.

Character Alert—another fun feature of Susanna Kearsley’s books is that if you have read her novels you will often find that characters from her other books pop up, and Named of the Dragon does have a character cameo, but you’ll have to read the book to find out which one!


Read the first two chapters!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JANEITES REJOICE! .99 cent Austen Authors e-book sale!


Over the years feeding your Jane Austen addiction can get rather expensive, so when a .99 cent e-book sale comes along, I’m over the moon. Especially seeing how extensive this Austen Author sale is.

A few things to remember:


E-books only available via Amazon or Barnes & Noble

E-books make amazing gifts. Plus you can purchase them now and send them later


Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Amazon only


Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Amazon   Barnes & Noble

This is only a small sampling of the books available in this brilliant sale. For the entire list, please click HERE

I know that I will be buying a few of these for myself as well as a few for gifts!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lost in Me by Barbara J. Hancock

Title: Lost in Me

Author: Barbara J. Hancock

Publisher: Harlequin Books S.A. 2013

Only available on Harlequin website HERE and it’s free!

How I read it: Free On-line Read from Publisher

Rating: 5 Cups

Released from hospital into the care of the man whose eyes have haunted her for a year, a troubled artist returns to Belle Aimée. The antebellum New Orleans mansion is the site of a tragedy Chloe's mind will not disclose. It's also home to an unseen presence that traces her steps, visits her studio and lingers near her bedroom.

Waking and sleeping, Chloe grasps at scraps of memory that flutter about her, alighting eventually on her countless canvases. Only under the stormy eyes—and electrifying touch—of Jonathan La Croix does Chloe begin to remember what they once were to each other. What they could be again. Such a man cannot be forgotten forever…. (taken from Harlequin’s website)

 My Thoughts:

 Suffering from amnesia and unable to get the image of an unknown man out of her mind, Chloe’s days and nights are consumed with painting this mystery man, but she finds no matter how hard she tries she cannot get the eyes right and she has no idea why it’s so important to her.

When she’s released from the hospital and delivered to the gates of Belle Aimée, an antebellum mansion in New Orleans, she finds Jonathan La Croix, the man from her painting waiting to take of care of her. While she has found the owner of the mysterious eyes, she is still consumed by the painting that is slowly revealing the memories she lost and the undeniable attraction she feels for this mysterious man.

 Barbara J. Hancock kicks off a new Harlequin imprint, HarlequinE Shivers, and she does it with amazing style and flare. It’s been a while since I’ve read a true gothic tale that intrigued and sent chills down my spine, but Lost in Me did just that. I was hooked from the start with the alluring writing and mystery that was unfolding.

Told from Chloe’s point of view, Hancock’s attention to detail was so lush and vivid I could almost feel the paint on my fingers as Chloe painted. She truly brought the characters to life. I could feel Chloe’s overwhelming urge to paint as well as her struggle to find her lost memories. And Jonathan had that laid-back New Orleans persona that amplified the gothic tone of the story.

What thoroughly surprised me was the way the author flawlessly blended strong sensuality and gothic mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed Lost in Me and purchased HarlequinE Shivers January bundle just to read more from this talented author and this new gothic line.


Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Full House Reading challenge hosted by Book Date

Time Frame: January 1st to December 31st 2014
Host: Book Date

The Challenge:

*Complete the card below. You can do it in any order you wish. You are allowed "one free exchange", if there is something on the square you really dislike you may change it to something of your choice. Once you have played this free card that is it. Mention the exchange in the final summary post.

*If you complete a full house and would like to complete another, that is fine too, and would mean two entries at the end of the year.

Full House Reading Challenge Card

My Goal: Complete a Full House.
If I have time, perhaps I’ll do another Full House

Reading List:
1) From the local library
2) Best Read so far in 2014
3) From your wish list
4) Set in a different country
5) Published in 2014
6) Theme/issue you think is important
7) Setting you’d like to visit
8) Suspense or crime
9) Contemporary
10) More than 400 pages
11) Reread
12) Review persuaded you to read it
13) Free Choice
14) Published before 2013
15) Book with an animal in it
16) Won or borrowed
17) Historical fiction
18) Less than 200 pages
19) Non-fiction
20) Author new to you
21) Book from a series
22) Free of bought very cheaply
23) Published in 2013
24) Paranormal or SF or Dystopian
25) You love the cover

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Mailbox Monday-2014

mailbox monday

 Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

For Review:
PicMonkey Collage

Those Amazon gift cards that I received for Christmas were put to good use. Here are a few books that I ordered that arrived.
bought Collage
I just received Named Of The Dragon by Susanna Kearsley and have read all but the last few chapters. Review to come soon.



I found an amazing deal on Amazon. I purchased both seasons for $15.00 each and once again, I used my gift cards to pay for them.
What little lovelies did you receive in your mailboxes?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Big Freeze—The Sunday Salon


Hello Lovelies, I hope that everyone is well and warm with a stack of books to keep them entertained.
winter wonderland

Here in Ohio, we are getting ready for what The Weather Channel is calling a ‘Deep Freeze’ with temps expected to drop -40, which means not only will we be freezing our booties off, the stores will be a madhouse with those out gathering last-minute supplies. We’ve already had a healthy dose of snow and they say that more is on it’s way. While I’m not looking forward to the arctic temps headed my head, I am looking forward to doing a bit—okay a lot—of reading and consuming numerous pots of tea. What I’m currently reading: Books:

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley—I’m a huge fan of Susanna Kearsley’s novels—a pleasing mixture of contemporary, historical, gothic, mystery, and romance, they keep me glued to their pages for hours and thus far, Named of the Dragon is one of my favorites. With fingerless gloves in place, I intend to finish reading this one today.
kg The King’s Grave by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones –hopefully I will be starting this one today or tomorrow.



I am *finally* going to get around to reading Ireland and Britain.

I hope those of you in the path of this winter storm will stay safe and warm with a stack of good books.

I will leave you with a picture of my favorite reading spot in my back garden. (I don’t think I’ll be visiting it anytime soon).