The Vrai Domicile and a GIVEAWAY

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Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre…

Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and quash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B’s and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

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The Next World and the Next

The Next World and the Next by Alice Sola Kim

So this is a different sort of review, because it’s for a short story I stumbled across on the internet. Not long enough for a description, other than if you like science fiction and the sort of ambiguity and intrigue that comes with a short story like this, then definitely read it. Heck read it regardless because it won’t take long, but it will leave you wishing you could find more by her. I’ve only found one other story by Kim and while it’s quite different from this piece of scifi, it was still really good. At the beginning of this link is a short intro bit by the creator of this page, and it is something to wonder about, women in science fiction. Because while I do love science fiction, and that women in them now-a-days aren’t the skimpy clad women of old, I’m still having a hard time remembering a book where the woman was the main lead, and now I sure want to find more. In the end, follow the link and enjoy.

Robert Wintner has been INTERVIEWED!!!

RW jpeg1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

            Robert Wintner.  I’m on Facebook.

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

            Reef photography

3.       How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

            50 years. About 20 or 22, mostly fiction but including 5 volumes of reef photos with narrative insights on fish society, species status, and reef recovery.

4.      What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

            Fiction, obviously. The reef photo books come very easily, with the material calling out for narrative.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

            Many great writers through history died young, failing to see or unable to respond to the rigors of mental stress. I have two books coming out in a three month span and two more ready to go in 2017. I’m pooped. I don’t take notes on quirks like I used to, but I still jot down the odd moment.A-California-Closing - jpeg

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

            Never an outline. Always an idea. Sometimes they go nowhere or lead merrily along to a dead end. But usually they roll over a horizon or two and come full circle to where they can resolve. Character drives story for me—the oddballs of literature know what to do.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

            I am a devout stylist in the Strunk & White mode. Very few current writers edit and rewrite adequately. Reading a manuscript too many times makes it blurry. The hard lesson is to set it aside, most often for months, for a new view with new perception down the road. That’s where the best changes are made.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

            Writers are now expected to buzz around social media calling out “Read me!” I hate it and most of the time will not join the chorus that rises to a crescendo of deafening white noise.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

            Get a camera. Make sure you would not be better off in photography.

Calm: Slice of Life Short Stories

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Calm  description:

One morning, gentle Maylak wakes up and feels a sense of oncoming dread. As the tribe’s healer, it is her job to ensure that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy… and they are.

So what can be threatening her people?

Moving Day
Farli helps move Maddie into the new ‘girls’ cave while avoiding some prospective suitors.

These are two slice of life short stories set in the ICE PLANET BARBARIANS series and do not stand alone. They should be read after BARBARIAN’S TOUCH and are a little bit of sweetness and family life for those waiting for the next full book release.

calmBOOK 7.5: Calm  3 STARS

This story was good, and it definitely makes me excited about the next book in the series. However, it is just a teaser, and I wonder how necessary it really is to the series. I mean it sets up a story to come, but it doesn’t really hold much detail on its’ own. The best part of both stories was getting a better point of view from the sa-khui, especially one like Maylak, because we haven’t really gotten any view points from the women sa-khui, and since she’s already married to see how she views a lot of the new customs coming in, like kissing. Even Farli’s really short story helped with this. But my issue that brought down the rating was that both of these short stories could’ve easily been full tales, and I feel a little jipped that we didn’t get more from this. I don’t know about the other readers, but while I do love the good lovin’ side of these stories, I’ve become so invested in the characters that it’s so much more than that now. I like the full story, and even in this where the characters are already settled, and it’s more about an unknown threat than any romance really had me drawn in. And I wonder if Dixon realizes that she could easily make a thrilling story out of a lot of this that doesn’t really focus on the human relationships and her readers would still love it. Well, at least this reader would.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! That’s right, it’s my birthday, and even though certain people think it’s lame to post about my own birthday *cough* hubby *cough*, I say it’s my birthday, I’ll post if I want too. So, yes, today I turned 28, and you know what’s great about 28? Nothing. You know there are some ages that are big milestones in life. Your first birthday, then the happy age when your parents get to send you away to school finally, 18th b-day, for some your 21st (though totally wasted on me), 30th (cause you officially become ‘not young anymore’), after which is the age you reach when you realize you’re basically going to die at any moment. But your 28th is just another day. Just an excuse to shove your face full of cake and ice cream, and then go about your normal routine. Which means George being a fuzzy weirdo, the hubs coming home with a sweet smile ready to chill after a long day at work, and me thinking this feels just like when I was 27. Just another day in paradise…and yeah…I’ll take it :D 


Falling Like Snowflakes

BOOK 2: The Goodbye Bride  by  Denise Hunter

Falling Like Snowflakes   description:

Eden Martelli is too busy fleeing the clutches of danger to realize she’s running straight into the arms of a new love.

Speeding north through rural Maine, Eden Martelli wonders how her life came to this—on the run with her mute five-year-old son dozing fitfully in the passenger seat. When a breakdown leaves them stranded in Summer Harbor, Eden has no choice but to stay put through Christmas . . . even though they have no place to lay their heads.

Beau Callahan is a habitual problem solver—for other people anyway. He left the sheriff’s department to take over his family’s Christmas tree farm, but he’s still haunted by the loss of his parents and struggling to handle his first Christmas alone.

When Eden shows up looking for work just as Beau’s feisty aunt gets out of the hospital, Beau thinks he’s finally caught a break. Eden is competent and dedicated—if a little guarded—and a knockout to boot. But, as he soon finds out, she also comes with a boatload of secrets.

Eden has been through too much to trust her heart to another man, but Beau is impossible to resist, and the feeling seems to be mutual. As Christmas Eve approaches, Eden’s past catches up to her.

Beau will go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again.

snowflakesBOOK 1: Falling Like Snowflakes   5 STARS

As you can see, I read the 2nd book first, and it’s not a big deal because each book is about a different couple, though of course all the same people are involved in the stories for the most part. The only thing reading the 2nd book did was reassure me of who was ending up with who, which is never a surprise, it’s more about the journey of how they get there, which I had no clue of. Hunter did a great job slowly unfolding the story of what exactly Eden is running from, and that helped to make more sense of what was driving her, and why she was living in such fear. But not getting it all at once kept that sense of mystery, and really allowed you to get a better connection to Eden as the memories would pop up and draw her back to her past at different times. I really loved the whole Callahan family. They’re good people, and the dynamic was a wonderful addition to the story. What I’m loving most about Hunter’s books is that while they’re definitely romantic, and while they’ve even got that spice of excitement that keeps you turning pages until the wee hours of the morning, they’re also dealing with real issues and struggles that so many people can relate to in one way or another. It makes for a wonderful read that you feel like you get a lot out of. I’m very much excited that the 3rd book will be out soon.

Braces and TMJ…umm… TMD

Today I get my braces off after 2 years of wearing them. I got them under the false pretense it would help alleviate the pain caused by my TMJ, which after just looking up turns out is actually TMD, but everyone and their brother (including doctors) seems to call it TMJ so that’s what I shall call it. I actually got a pamphlet from and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor that said that braces could help. I told my dentist that I had TMJ, and the fact is I have crooked teeth so when they suggested I get braces and then told me a good place to go, I figured it was all going to be groovy. However, the problem is that braces of course put some stress on your jaw, and wearing bands, which is going to be required most of the time, is just going to plain suck. I thought I had told my orthodontist I had TMJ, and I know for sure I had told one of the dental assistants there that I had, and yet no one told me of the problems that could come along with choosing to get braces. In fact, once I reminded my orthodontist I had TMJ and so couldn’t wearing bands like they wanted me too, she was shocked I thought braces would help my issues.

What really bothered me was to learn later through my sister that there are actual orthodontist that specialize in treating people with TMJ, and that are equipped with working around the issues normal orthodontal treatment can cause. In fact, my own orthodontist mentioned having to possibly send me to one after having dealt with them for about a year. However, I think in some ways it just depends on which doctor you’re dealing with. I had 3 different doctors that I dealt with in the same practice. One of them, upon hearing that I couldn’t do bands, told me there was no way to straighten my teeth then. On my next visit a different doctor easily worked around the issue. Later on the previous doctor once more tried to act like they were going to have to cut my treatment short, which was once more followed by the third doctor easily working around my issues. Yes it took longer, and wasn’t as easy to do, but it is possible, and I’m so thankful the other 2 doctors could figure that out.

My teeth are now perfectly straight with no help from bands.  Altogether, if you have TMJ make sure they know before going in, and do your research to see if there is an orthodontist in your area who specializes in TMJ. But while it has been a pain, and many a time I regretted getting the braces, in the end it did help make my jaw feel a teeny tiny bit better… and well I do have lovely straight teeth to flash people when I smile real big, so that’s nice too.

Fixing up Thrift Store Furniture

original dresserI bought this at a thrift store for $20. As you can see the paint is all scratched up, and 2 of the handles were clearly replaced with ones that weren’t even close to matching. But it’s made of real wood, no particle board or that cheap stuff. With real wood it’s a lot easier to fix up, and scratches dtotally worth $20. I mean seriously, even the cost of all the stuff to repair it still didn’t come close to how much a new dresser costs, so I was all over this thing.

First things first, had to get all the old hardware off, I saved it just cause, but I bought all new ones. I removed all the drawers and vacuumed it out, which might’ve been a bit pointless considering I sanded it next, but I continued to vacuum as I went to keep it as neat as possible. We were using a power sander with the no slip sand paper. This resulted in a torn up sander, and while this was no where near a new sander, it’s cutey sandingstill sucky to know that this material being sold destroys the foam it’s sticking too to the point that we had to go buy a new one. We got a Dewalt random orbit sander, 5″, and this time went with the 120 Grit Hook and Loop sandpaper. After that the sanding went a lot smoother. I also got this cool sponge like block sandpaper stuff, which was great for getting in the design carved into the drawers. It was also a pretty good work out for my poor pitiful arms. While sanding off the paint it was obvious the previous owners had simply painted over the original finish, which is probably why the paint didn’t hold up too well. You got to sand all the way down to the wood. But before I act like I did it all myself, I sure didn’t. Thankfully my sweet hubby was really doing a lot of the work on this.

sandedHonestly, after sanding the wood, it looked so nice I kind of wish we were going to stain it, but we’d already bought the paint. Plus we were having to reglue some of the pieces of wood together that had begun to separate. In fact we took apart the top completely and resanded where the pieces come together to make it like new. Even as you wipe off the access a bit of that glue residue tends to stay where you wiped it up. Also we were having to fill in the old holes where the hardware had been, and no matter what any product says, the stain never takes to that like it does wood, and so doesn’t look as nice in my opinion. So with paint I go. And, I accidentally bought wood putty that’s apparently meant to be used after wood has been stained and to color match, which meant it wasn’t meant for being sanded or painted on. Since I didn’t want to go back to the store I ended up using wall spackle. It worked so no complaints. And that’s what that white patch is, as we were testing it out to see if it would work.

After all the sanding was done, we had to fix some of the slats the drawers slide on, which only required some glue. I vacuumed some more to get as much of the loose saw dust and dirt off. Then I used a slightly dampened microfiber cloth to scrub it to get all the dust that was really stuck in there. You’d be surprised how much came off. After that of course the wood was a little damp as well, and so I had to wait a while to make sure it was thoroughly dry before I began painting it. I had read on different sites to use a sponge roller for the paint, and after about 4 coats realized it was leaving a really rough texture on the surface. I tried going over it with just a brush, but it didn’t fix the problem and so had to do a light sanding to smooth it out and then did 2 more coats of paint with just a brush, so obviously should’ve just done that to begin with. In the end though it looks pretty awesome compared to how it started out, and definitely worth the money and time put in.

painted dresser

Garden Spells

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen     description:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

gardenBook 1: Garden Spells        4 STARS

For a book filled with so much magic, a cast of great characters, and a really fulfilling plot line, the apple tree is still my favorite part. I mean I think that says plenty about the author, to take something like an apple tree (even a magical one) and give it a real personality, and such a vital part of the story in ways that you slowly discover. But that is just still one small part of the story. This book does deal with magic, but it isn’t a generic story of witches. It’s more like a family filled with unique talents that are inherent to each person. Though, how they do affect the world around them, especially within the Waverly’s property, is definitely a bit witchy. Yet, the story is really that of normal people trying to find their place in the world. Two women who have lived through difficult lives and trying to get to know each other again as real sisters. And the little girl, Bay, was so sweet and adorable with how she knows where everything is meant to be, even people, and the fact that she ultimately has the most insight in the end into people was a really moving part of the story. Beyond the Waverly family you also get to discover a bit about small town living, the good, the bad, and the intriguing family legacies. There was just so much to love about this book, it’s really hard to put it all into one review without ruining the story, so I just say go and pick it up as quick as you can.

The Target

BOOK 1: The Innocent  by  David Baldacci

BOOK 2: The Hit

The Target  description:

The President knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel.

Together, Robie and Reel’s talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don’t trust the pair. They doubt their willingness to follow orders. And they will do anything to see that the two assassins succeed, but that they do not survive.

As they prepare for their mission, Reel faces a personal crisis that could well lead old enemies right to her doorstep, resurrecting the ghosts of her earlier life and bringing stark danger to all those close to her. And all the while, Robie and Reel are stalked by a new adversary: an unknown and unlikely assassin, a woman who has trained her entire life to kill, and who has her own list of targets–a list that includes Will Robie and Jessica Reel.

targetBOOK 3: The Target  4 STARS

While this series is called the Will Robie series, it’s now being a bit taken over by Jessica Reel, but Chung-Cha ultimately stole the show. I understand somewhat why some people said there was too much going on in here, there really was 2 different stories going on. However, Baldacci does a great job of balancing both tales, and having them flow together so that neither end was left for too long so it kept the story moving along well and coherently. Also, it was great to get a better understanding of Reel, and really see her grow and change through this story. Just hoping they’ll do the same thing for Robie. But like I said, Chung-Cha just goes to show what a great writer Baladacci is. Someone so cold and uncaring, who kills people without a thought for a government she doesn’t even like should’ve came across as sadistic and evil as the tyranny that created her. Instead you spend the whole book hoping someone will save her from that life somehow. Although, the Nazis that pop up will feel your quota of pure evil enough for any book. As much as the spy work and intense situations that keep popping up through these stories help keep you turning pages, it was really the character growth and their own personal journy that made me love this book so much.