Thursday, February 26, 2015

Body Language Quick & Easy by Richard Webster

Body Language Quick & Easy

by Richard Webster

18126468Words can be lies, but body language always tells the truth

They say actions speak louder than words, but what are those actions really saying? Body Language Quick & Easy shows you how to use the hidden communication of the body to improve your relationships, build confidence, understand your friends and colleagues, and even be able to tell when people are lying.

Explore the secret codes of unconscious communication that most people don't even know exist. Use your understanding of the body to influence others, interpret motivations, and achieve goals at work. Making a good first impression and gaining rapport is easy when you know how to use body language.
I have always been interested in body language and the 'tells' that we unconsciously give off.  I used to watch the show "Lie To Me" constantly...though a lot of that may have been because of Tim Roth.
This was a good look at body language and how you can tell certain things about someone's emotional status while you're talking to them.  It's titled "Quick and Easy" so I didn't expect it to go into a huge amount of detail and wasn't disappointed with what I read.  I do wish a few things had been expanded, though.  I would have liked to hear more about micro-expressions and less about what anger/sadness/fear/surprise looks like.  I think most people are already pretty aware of those expressions. 
It was an interesting book and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a simple, overall look at body language.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a review copy. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Knit Your Own Farm by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne

Knit Your Own Farm

by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne

The Best in Show series is an outstanding success. Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne are back with a collection of new patterns for farm animals. There is something here for everyone, with instructions for large farm favourites such as cows, bulls, horses and pigs as well as cute chicks, lambs and piglets. The animals are surprisingly easy to make. It will only take a few evenings to create yourself a loveable companion. These knitted animals in miniature are much easier to look after than the real things - they don't need feeding, they won't make a mess and they take up hardly any room. Join this evocative tour of the farmyard, with all the different animals you could hope to meet. Patterns include sheep and lamb, cow and calf, pig and piglet, goat and kid, chicken and chick, goose and gosling, horse and foal, llama, donkey, bull and even a rat. Idiosyncratic descriptions of the various species accompany beautiful photography, making this book irresistible for both keen knitters and animal enthusiasts.

This is a cute book with a lot of pictures of the finished knitted animals.  The instructions seemed pretty clear and there was a range of difficulty levels.  I haven't knitted any of the patterns yet because I am a professional procrastinator.  But I will get to it...some day.
With this book what you see is what you get.  The patterns aren't exactly elegant works of art.  A few of them seemed a little clunky to me.  This is, after all, a book about knitting small animals.  How elegant are you going to get?

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy for review. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

With This Ring by Celeste Bradley

With This Ring

by Celeste Bradley

From bestselling author Celeste Bradley comes With This Ring, a delightful tale about the lengths one woman will go to marry—at all costs…


Elektra Worthington is the lovely middle daughter of the eccentric, impoverished Worthington family. Her beauty means nothing to her except as her currency to return the Worthington name to its former glory of status, riches, and dominance in the ballrooms of Regency England. To this end, she will stop at nothing—even if she must kidnap a rich lord in the process. If this lucky gentleman is just returning from a long absence and knows nothing of the Worthington reputation, well, a girl shouldn’t look a gift lord in the mouth…right?


Lord Aaron Arbogast, returning to England after a decade-old scandal—of which he was not truly guilty, but instead took the blame out of loyalty to a good friend—is the last of his line. He will someday become the Earl of Arbodean and inherit the estate…if, that is, he can prove to his ailing grandfather that he is a reformed man. Falling for a woman like Miss Worthington could cost him everything. But his desire for her? Priceless…

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me a free copy for review*
I love Celeste Bradley.  She has been on my favorite author list for years because of her Liar's Club and Royal Four series.  There were several characters from those series that make an appearance in this book, which I enjoyed a lot.  Button will always be welcome!

With This Ring ended up only being about 3 stars for me, which is still a pretty good rating.  I have a difficult time connecting with some heroines, especially when they are stubborn and headstrong.  Elektra had her reasons for being the way she was, but she still irritated me to no end.  She uses people and manipulates them to get her way, and since she is so focused on her family she convinces herself that it is all worth it.  She didn't seem overly concerned when her actions caused hardship for other people.  Even so, she softened toward the end and seeing her through Aaron's eyes helped me to understand her more.

Aaron himself was a good character.  He was honorable and trying to make up for his past mistakes.  I loved the relationship with his friend because it showed the reader exactly how far he's come since he was an arrogant young man. 

I'm glad I read this book and I would definitely read more from this series in the future.  Celeste Bradley still remains one of my favorite authors.

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes

The Duke's Disaster

by Grace Burrowes

Noah Winters, Earl of Anselm, spent months sorting and courting the year's crop of debutantes in search of an ideal bride. When the sweet, biddable young thing he selected accepts another's proposal, Noah decides to court her companion instead.

Thea Collins, though, is anything but biddable. She has learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted, especially the handsome ones. When she reluctantly accepts, Noah rushes Thea to the altar before she can reveal her deepest secret. Can she finally move on from her past, or will it come back to haunt her?

*Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC for review*
I've read several books by Grace Burrowes and I've never been disappointed by any of them.  Each book is fresh and interesting, with a writing style that leaves no question why Mrs. Burrowes is one of the most well-known romance writers. 
At first, I was concerned because I didn't quite love the way the book began.  It starts in the middle of a conversation between the two main characters and I wish there was a bit more of a lead-in.  After that, though, the book really takes off.  It is a wonderful story with amazing characters.
Noah Winters is dark and brooding (exactly the type of hero I love) but he is also affectionate and shy.  I really loved the way his character was written.  He was given a heroine who deserved him.
Thea was very brave and sweet.  She has moved on from her past and done the best she could to care for her family.  I'm glad this honorable woman was given such a wonderful hero.  The romance between the two was very believable.
The two of them had a rocky start and had to build their trust over time, given the fact that **Spoiler** Thea wasn't a virgin on their wedding night and Noah was understandably upset.  He is a duke, after all.  **spoiler**

This actually made them take longer to get to know each other and made their love stronger, imo.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, and I'd also recommend it to anyone who wants to give romance a try.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr

When a Rake Falls

by Sally Orr

To win a race to Paris, dashing Lord Boyce Parker hires a balloon. He expects to be crowned the victor and become famous for his courage and intelligence. Only then can he regain his father’s respect from the scandal of publishing the naughty book The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide.

Bluestocking Miss Eve Mountfloy makes a bargain with the handsome Pink of the Ton. She’ll fly the balloon during the dangerous crossing to France, if he lets her finish her scientific experiments to predict violent storms and thereby save lives.

Eve proceeds with her studies, but the results are not what she expected. Chafing to keep warm creates unusual sensations everywhere. Then when Lord Parker asks if she is curious about the heat generated by a kiss, well, she is curious. It seems Lord Parker is performing experiments of his own that will forever change Eve’s perception of the word "results."
*Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC for review*
My goodness, Boyce is a funny man!  I'm used to reading books with heroes who are dark and brooding, so it's refreshing to find a character who is lighthearted and funny.  Boyce is sweet, charming, and he loves to sing at the oddest moments.  I found myself laughing constantly because of his funny quirks and inner monologues. He is also very tenderhearted.  He shows a lot of concern for animals and even insects and isn't afraid to show affection.
Eve wasn't quite as interesting as Lord Parker.  I still enjoyed hearing things from her point of view...but let's be honest here, it's mostly because I get to hear more about Boyce.  There were times that I just wanted to slap Eve silly. 
I enjoyed this book quite a bit and would definitely recommend it to people who like historical romance and lighthearted heroes.
***slight spoiler ahead***
There was some good tension between the characters throughout the story.  This would probably be a good book for those who don't want much sex in their romance.  Besides some light make-out sessions, there is only one sex scene late in the book and it is pretty tame compared to most romance books.  It isn't spelled-out or very explicit.     

Friday, February 20, 2015

Unbearable Desire by Vivi Andrews

Unbearable Desire

Lone Pine Pride #4


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton

Never Surrender to a Scoundrel




Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

The Winter Family

by Clifford Jackman

Tracing a group of ruthless outlaws from its genesis during the American Civil War all the way to a final bloody stand in the Oklahoma territories, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir that reads like a full-on assault to the senses.

          Spanning the better part of three decades, The Winter Family traverses America's harsh, untamed terrain, both serving and opposing the fierce advance of civilization. Among its twisted specimens, the Winter Family includes the psychopathic killer Quentin Ross, the mean and moronic Empire brothers, the impassive ex-slave Fred Johnson, and the dangerous child prodigy Lukas Shakespeare But at the malevolent center of this ultraviolent storm is their cold, hardened leader, Augustus Winter—a man with an almost pathological resistance to the rules of society and a preternatural gift for butchery.
     From their service as political thugs in a brutal Chicago election to their work as bounty hunters in the deserts of Arizona, there's a hypnotic logic to Winter's grim borderland morality that plays out, time and again, in ruthless carnage.
     With its haunting, hard-edged style, The Winter Family is a feverishly paced meditation on human nature and the dark contradictions of progress.
*I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is the kind of book that all other books should aspire to be.  It is dark and gritty and full of emotional complexity.  It is full of bad people who do terrible things and have terrible things done to them.  It's about war and brutality, and how people can believe themselves to be good and righteous and yet do horrendous things because they believe in their 'goodness' so much that they can't look past it.  It is, in a word, brilliant.
"The world's a hard fucking place…A little hard to get by with just please."
More than anything, The Winter Family is a book about humanity. 
"People don't even really make this thing; it's this thing that makes people.  It's as natural as a dream.  It's meaner than me, Bill.  And it's never going to die."
Augustus Winter, the leader of the Winter Family, is a brutal killer with a twisted sense of justice.  He sees the world as it is, a bloody mess of hate and greed where men prey on the weak.  Where 'good' men are allowed to get away with their crimes because they conform to the new laws of society.  A society that is as corrupt and greedy as its people.
"But then what's justice? It's men forcing themselves on the world.  You see?  I couldn't break the rules and escape.  For their rules to be real they have to spread over every inch of the earth.  There can't ever be one free space."
The west is slowly becoming more developed, the Native Americans are being killed for their land or forced into reservations, and the wild places of the land are disappearing.  The Winter Family is becoming a relic of the past.
"I got news for you.  The war was civilization.  That was it!  You ain't fighting civilization, Winter!  There's no civilization out here for you to fight.  But it's coming.  And it's a whole lot bigger and meaner than you, friend.  And it's not going to have no use for you when it gets here."
There are no heroes, no pure souls.  Just blood and death and shifting loyalties.
A solid five stars!  I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind having a bloody good time.

Yogi and the Bear by Nix Knox

Yogi and the Bear



*I received a copy of Yogi and The Bear from the publisher via Netgalley*

This began as a 4-5 star book but unfortunately I had to bump the rating down the more I read.  It's more like a 2.5, and the extra half star is just because of Ryan.  His personality grabbed me from the very first page and I fell in love with his character.  He is confident, unafraid of acting silly or being forward.  And he is hilarious.

Then comes(hur hur) Niklas, who is...different.  He begins the story as a calm yogi who is at times confident and at times skittish and afraid of everyone.  And he has good reason to be.  But it didn't make sense to me that this character would **spoiler**quite suddenly change his personality and become a virgin Dom with something very like a split personality.**spoiler**

What really ruined the book for me was that most of the plot was dropped in favor of constant sex.  I felt like everything that happened after the beginning of the book was an excuse for the characters to jump into bed together. Most of the book was sex and the rest was the two characters talking about sex.  I was so bored!  After the first few chapters I didn't glimpse Ryan's amazing personality again.
It was very disappointing because I thought I was going to love this book a lot.

Snowcroft Lost by Christi Snow

Snowcroft Lost

by Christi Snow

Secrets and Lies…
Everyone has them. Big ones. Little ones.

For Trevor Mayne and Jamie Vaughn, secrets and lies are how they’ve made their fourteen year friendship work. Don’t talk about it. Ignore it and it won’t be real. Pretend like everything’s fine between the two of them.

Jamie can’t live like this anymore. He’s in love with Trevor, his best friend who just happens to be straight. Tired of hiding his feelings, he decides to walk away. From their friendship. From his hometown. From his business.

But before Jamie gets a chance to leave, a freak accident leaves Trevor with amnesia. A new blank perspective leaves him confused about the inconsistencies of what he’s told his life should be vs. the feelings that he knows he has. Now those secrets and lies, that should be safer than ever, are suddenly front and center and changing everything between them.

Their world is at risk because their secrets and lies aren’t the only ones at play here. There’s a bigger lie out there and it could just destroy everything as they get closer and closer to the secret hidden in depths of the Snowcroft forest.
*I received a free copy of Snowcroft Lost from the publisher via Netgalley*

I was pretty satisfied with this book.  There was a lot to like and very little that I didn't.  It's a very solid three stars for me.  It was exciting and very interesting. 
Things I liked:
Mention of the Forest Service! I come from a Forest Service family and I'm very proud of our local men and women in green.
Trevor's dark secret.  It's a subject not often talked about and I like that the author was not afraid to address it.
The friendship between Trevor and Jaime.
What I didn't like:
It seemed a little unrealistic that so many men in such a small town were gay and in the closet.   
Overall I think it was a pretty good book and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good M/M romantic suspense.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Winter Knitting by MillaMia

Winter Knitting

Patterns for the family and home

by MillaMia

*I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley*
This is a great pattern book for winter knits.  The layout is very nice and the pictures themselves are beautiful.  The patterns range in size and difficulty, from candle holder cozies to fair isle sweaters.   There is a lot of charting, but I tend to knit from charts anyway.
There are a few projects that I wouldn't personally knit (like the knitted ribbon for gift wrapping), but they are lovely to look at and probably a great stash-buster project.
I'd say this would be a good addition to any knitter's library.


Some Boys by Patty Blount

Some Boys



Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she's afraid. Afraid he'll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But...Ian doesn't. He's funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.

*I received a free copy of Some Boys from the publisher via Netgalley*

I really, really liked this book.  In some ways it reminded me of Speak by

Swept Away: Quilts of Love Series by Laura V Hilton and Cindy Loven

Swept Away: Quilts of Love Series

by Laura V Hilton and Cindy Loven

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

*I received a free copy of Swept Away from the publisher via Netgalley*

I requested this book because of quilting.  And romance!  And quilting!  The best of both worlds, right?
This is the first book I've read by this author so I didn't know what to expect.

My first impression was that I hated Sara.  She was incredibly rude and judged people before really getting to know them and she was a bit of a control freak.  I didn't like her at all until about halfway through the book when she really started to grow as a character.  Until then: Meh.

I liked Andrew a lot.  He was mellow and he had some inner pain that was very intriguing.
One issue I had with the book is that there was something that the author seemed to be working toward ****spoiler*****Andrew's belief that any woman he desires will think he's ugly or unworthy and will laugh in his face if he asks her on a date*****spoiler***** that was never addressed later in the book.  It was implied several times throughout the book but never explained or even mentioned by the end.  Very strange.  And disappointing because I thought it was an interesting take on his character.

At times the book was very preachy and that affected how I liked it, but since it is technically a Christian fiction I think most readers will be looking for that.