Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review: Red Zone

Get it here: Red Zone

The story starts off in an alternate history in Australia, or rather the divided country of New Austoria and Republic of South east Asia. There is a wall dividing the two countries (think of The Berlin Wall, or more currently the Gaza Walls) and they are in a constant state of conflict. We meet a young teenage boy named Blake Sanders who is kidnapped from the Red zone and taken to the wealthy New Austoria. He eventually becomes a hero figure, due to his exploits in battle and as such becomes the target of a terrorist group, the PRA. He is fighting for his life and fighting for the life of one of his troops who was kidnapped in his stead. But is he only a pawn for the Government? Why was he truly kidnapped all those years ago?

This was a very interesting, raw and gritty story to read as it reflected some very real situations from our history and present day. Taken together and combine them and you are left with a deadly, volatile powder keg just waiting to erupt. The emotions and details are really well done you can almost feel like your in the room as Sanders is told to do things by Jay Jay that are not for the weak hearted. But ultimately his is a fast paced, action packed story, well worth your while.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Current Projects

So this year I've been busy, I've made several Boot Socks for customers:

I've also started knitting a cardigan for my older daughter:
This is only the yoke, I am now well below where the sleeves are separated, working on the body. I am pretty proud of myself, it is looking good so far. The last time I attempted to make something to wear (other than socks) was a vest back when i first started knitting. I remember it turned out so lopsided that I just stopped knitting (until last year) and started crocheting blankets. That was always much easier. a square piece of fabric doesn't care about gauge, no need to stitch seams together. so this cardigan is my comeback so to speak. If I can complete this successfully, I think i will attempt many more clothing items in my ravelry queue.

Book Review: Prison of Souls

Get it here: Prison of Souls

This was a pretty interesting story. The story begins in a prison, when we meet Joshua and his wife (who happens to be his attorney as well) where they have lost the murder trial against Joshua and he is now in jail. He suffers from severe epilepsy and hallucinations (that’s even how they met) and apparently during one of his fits he drove upstate and murdered a professor. Early in the story we find out that the professor might have actually performed experiments on Joshua as a kid so the link is there. But it doesn’t explain some of the hallucinations and the story just gets weird from there.

An interesting concept and well written Thriller, this one will keep you turning pages just to try and figure out the clues of what is real and what is in the mind. It was thought provoking and the author obviously enjoys making us think about the deeper meaning of our humanity.

Book Review: The Tegen Cave

Get it here: Tegen Cave

This book was right up my alley, the suspense, the mystery; the thrills of the questions in the plot were fantastic. I loved the spiders as delivering the deadly toxin as a particular horrifying touch. I have several friends who suffer from arachnophobia and so I know that some people would truly be freaking out just by the description of the book. However, our heroine, is on the run after she figures out her boyfriend is not as innocent as he seems. He is part of a big bad mafia family and they are deadly. Hiding out in Billings, she hopes that she has lost their trail but when a friendly lady, helping her find an apartment is killed mysteriously by spider bite, she knows something is amiss and she needs to think fast.

I loved Sara Jones, she was intelligent, compassionate, at times yes I wanted to tell her to stop trying to help everyone and save herself, but that spunkiness was what made me like her. The twists in this story are surprising and entertaining and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a strong female lead!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book Review: The Lies that Bind

Get it here: Lies that Bind

Ally is a single mom, looking for a new start in life for her and her daughter Melanie. After a dismal childhood and a worse short marriage to a cop, she has moved in with her best friend, and pretty much Mother in every other sense of the word Frannie. Working in Frannies Café also gives her a new sense of purpose as she tries to piece together some semblance of a life. When a local murder happens and Ally just happens to be at the scene, the mystery really starts get going. Throw in some childhood friends who might have some secrets of their own and a handsome, long-lost love (who is also a cop, go figure) and you really have a good twisting story.

The characters in this story are realistic and each is flawed, no perfect people here. This is great because it helped me identify with each (mostly ally though) much more. Good Story!

Book Review: For the Love of Anna

Get it here: For the love of Anna

A tragic love story between Guido a philosopher and anarchist and Anna, a prominent dancer in the New York Ballet Company. Thrown into the mix is a Judge Jeremiah who thinks that the wrong people won in WW2. The elitists had the Superior thinking and the Democrat’s had more guns to put it in his words. He tells his granddaughter about the scum of the earth and “riffraff” that isn’t worth anything and how she is better than them in every ways. This thinking permeates his entire life and attitude so that one night when he hits Anna in a drunken driving episode he sees no blame in his doing. This incident emotionally destroys Guido with grief and rage and he starts waging a private war against the judge.

A beautifully written sad love story that is emotionally gripping and very well written. You truly feel for the two youngsters as they go through hard times and can really hate the judge even early on when his elitist and “I am better than you” attitude comes to the forefront. I pitied the young girl Esme for having to be brought up by him andI again enjoyed this story. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: Project Anan

Get it here: Project Anan

An interesting SciFi story. Take an Oil Rigger, A farm Girl and a Marine, throw in some Aliens (the ones who originally messed with us leading to our evolution) and you have a thrilling new Science Fiction Space novel that could lead to the salvation of all our Races (Or the destruction if things go wrong). We are led on a journey that is at times funny, but full of adventure and intrigue.

I liked this story, it is the first in a series, so some things like fleshing out certain characters who are a tad bit one dimensional right now, are sure to come (I hope). I certainly think the author did a good job with how he transitioned the story, giving us enough tidbits of information to keep me reading along. The writing was easy to follow, and the grammar and editing had no problems either. I would certainly give the second book a try as well. 

Book Review: No Hope in New Hope

Get it here: No Hope

This was a great Mystery novel. It is the seventh book in the series but I had no issues jumping into it. I would imagine that you can read all these books as standalone if you want. We are introduced to the Mystery writer Samantha Johnson as she is (cautiously) optimistic about a romantic getaway in the quaint tourist town of New Hope, PA. But quickly she realizes that her getaway turns into (yet again) an adventure involving her on again off again lover Clay and the troubles he gets her into. Along with her three trusty side kicks (older, sassy and nosy should be a warning sign) she starts trying to unravel the mystery of the art Galleries, the forged art and puzzling sales receipts as well as the spooky (?) house she’s staying in…

Fantastic writing style, short chapters and plenty of self deprecating humor thrown in made this a fast, easy and pleasant read. I’m definitely picking up another book in this series, highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review: The Benwarian Fix

Get it here: Benwarian

What do you get when you take our current situation (Global Warming, epidemics, over population, deforestation, etc…) and flip it with an alien twist? You get an intriguing Sci-Fi adventure. The Benwarian race has fled their dying planet. By not interfering with another race that lived on their planet that was destroying it, they were forced to build a space ship and flee. They arrived at Earth, a suitable planet for their survival only to find that the dominant species here (humans) are destroying the planet with much of the same disregard as what happened at their old planet. What are they to do?

This was interesting and certainly pulled you in pretty quickly. The twists with Ship and Logis, the Leader of the Benwarians and their connection, plus the drastic measures that Logis takes to ensure the Earth will survive are obviously going to be controversial. I do think that some readers forget that this is a Science FICTION book, and it only mimics the current Global situation. I still think it is a story worth telling and the author did a fine job.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: My Ladybird Story

Get it here: My Lady Bird Story

I have been looking into this topic of Transgender and especially growing up Transgender in America and came across this book and I am glad I picked it up. I don’t have family members who are but I have been curious ever since this has become okay to talk about in main stream America. The author tells a coming of age story about John and how he struggles throughout high school and into college with who he really is. He doesn’t feel accepted truly in any gender definition of straight, or gay, but he is confused and disgusted when his brother well meaning tries to show him some YouTube videos.
Not until College does he get to find out who he is, and what could/would make him happy.

Now, the author did make the vast majority of family and friends very accepting and I think that in the real world this may not be so clear cut. (I know my family wouldn’t be), but nevertheless John is frank and honest with his struggles and seeks therapeutic help to really get to the bottom of his feelings and I think that that is very important. A good and eye-opening book about growing up transgender, or even just growing up not fitting into the societal norms. 

Book Review: Severed Threads

Get it here: Severed Threads

We are treated to an adventure complete with twists, romance, mystery, some supernatural occurrences all during the hunt for the mysterious sunken ship Wanli II. The Chinese government denies its existence but for Treasure Hunter Chase Cohen, his crew and his former lover Rachel Lyons, that ship can hold the key for all their problems. Chase is in over his head and dodging calls form bill collectors and Rachel’s brother has been kidnapped by a ruthless gangster and wants a lot of ransom money. Chase and Rachel called it a quits shortly after her father dies while on a dive with Cohen and their relationship has never fully recovered.

This story was enjoyable; the author is able to bring together, an old Chinese myth about star crossed but ill fated lovers, a relationship that is on a rocky road as well as an intense ride from one point to the next while dodging close calls. I liked the premise and the formatting and grammar was great, no glaring errors of mistakes that distracted me from reading. I think if you are one for wild adventures you will like this one. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review: The Origins of FORCE

Get it here: The Origins of FORCE

What a ride! The Sci-Fi Universe has just found a great new Author! Sam has created a fantastical tale that is very real and believable. What if there was truly only a limited amount of time to prepare the world for the colonization from Aliens? How would we avert our destruction? As well as getting ground up into food paste for the aliens while we are at saving things. To that end the Pentagon has assembled an eclectic group of scientists and some Military commandos into FORCE, The Federal Organization for Response to Celestial Enemies. Great name and great team, and I haven’t found very much to make me not like this story. A couple of Lucky strikes for us humans mean we might have a fighting chance at survival when they come back.

Gives this book a chance and you will be swept away by a daring and brave attempt to save all of humanity!

Book Review: How to lose the last 10 Pounds

Get it here: How to Lose

This book is awesome! The author makes some frank and stark observations about our Current Epidemics of Obesity and how all the Weight Loss advice we receive is not working because it is a recycled version of the same advice we got last time. Even our Doctors and Dieticians are overweight she observes! This should make us pause. And I agree, I am a grown woman who doesn’t need someone babysitting my meal plans. I need some helpful advice, some no nonsense, get your butt in gear motivation by someone who has been there done that and can tell me, how to do it. And this book does that. All the while the fantastic attitude and humor from the author helps me with taking a critical look at just what I am doing and maybe, just how to fix it in productive (and efficient ways). Oh, and I agree that the food is the Devil! 

Book Review: Bubble Up

Get it here: Bubble Up

This story came off to a slow start. I felt like the Author was a bit all over the place talking about different events that did not pertain to the story (near miss with a great white), but other than that you have a good Horror story. It has tense moments, lots of description of gory details while leaving your imagination to fill in the rest. The story is about a few cousins who happen to be best friends in a small town and love to spend their free time outdoors. They all agree to go diving in a local backwater hole that apparently hasn’t been explored yet.

The story moves along (after the beginning) at a steady pace and we encounter some terrifying beings and some extraordinary circumstances by which the Teens are barely able to escape with their lives. It has a good premise and plot, some more work could’ve been done on some grammar errors throughout, but overall a good story.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Review: Crossing in TIme

Get it here: Crossing in time

Wow, I was captivated by this story. If you’ve ever watched a apocalyptic movie you’ll be familiar with some of the plot lines, but each time I thought I had a handle on how the story would end, the Authors threw another curve Ball. Now, I think this I s the first in a series (well at least I hope so) and the ending is certainly a cliffhanger. There are so many unanswered questions, what happened to Isabel? Was her mission successful? What happened to the people back in her Universe? So many questions unanswered I sincerely hope there is another book coming.

The writing style is smooth and transitions from character to character without any hitches. This is even more noteworthy when you consider that this book is written by two authors. I’ve seen books by two really well-known authors who couldn’t pull this off, so Kudos to the authors for making us truly believe that the world is ending of one thing only to pull it out from under us again and again in a sort of “gotcha” moment. I hope you pick this book up because I don’t think you will be sorry you did!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Review: The Kiev Connection

Get it here: Kiev Connection

Follow along as Matti, an artist working for the Forensic Department as a facial reconstructant, finds and then solves the latest crime scene. The story twist and turns as she tries to figure out just how are the Russians involved and how much does her on again, off again Lover really truly know? The story alludes to it but never really says it but Matti is a medium and her ever constant ghost friend Abby an “in-betweener” can be sure to pop up at any moment. Mattis dog can also sniff “in betweeners”, making him a useful cadaver dog.

The story was pretty interesting, I like following along the different plot lines but was never truly lost in the story. I also like that the relationship between her and Joe, (while being important in the story) never took center stage and we were able to enjoy this story as a Crime/supernatural mystery with a Dash of Romance. Well written and plenty of humor to balance out the crime and gruesomeness of the murders.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

DFWCraftShows: 2016 Highlander Spring Craft Fair

I am so Excited to Announce that OfftheNeedle will be at this Fair selling our awesome and unique Wares!!! Come out if you are in the area!!!

DFWCraftShows: 2016 Highlander Spring Craft Fair: "Our 2nd Annual Highlander Spring Craft Fair is going to be even better than last years. Find the perfect mother's day, wedding, b...

Book Review: Detour Amour

Get it here: Detour

The third and final installment in this unusual Romantic trilogy, finds our main Guy: Tucker again (or still?) in some steamy, exciting and dangerously mysterious situations. Tucker is still trying to unravel the who, what and how’s of the recent events he has undergone (please read the first two books or you might be a little lost at first), but we are soon right in the swing of things again and this time Tucker is taking charge and not just hiding out.

The Romance (after divorce) from a Guys Point of View is pretty interesting. Don’t look for page long anecdotes about a guys pectorals, this book, is straight to the point but still manages to leave some mysteries and humor to give this book a interesting twist on it all. I enjoyed reading the final installment after reading the first two, since it did close up loose ends and answer some questions I had about certain ladies involvement amongst things…

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Book Review: Art of Remaining Calm

Get it here: Remaining Calm

I picked this book up because my Husband suffers from Anxiety and I wanted to get him a helpful book in understanding how it works and how to maybe work around the issues. This book certainly provided us with the information of how anxiety happens, all the different causes and influences throughout our daily lives that can trigger attacks.

The author then goes into helpful ways of managing and (hopefully) reversing the Anxiety by reducing the stress and other triggers in your life. The book was well written in easy to understand language (no page long research journal citations here) and that in itself made it easy for my husband to read. I could’ve done less with some of the repetitive sentences (almost word for word), but maybe they were there to drive the point home that they were making. Overall, an interesting, and informative book and we will see how the tips the author has provided will help us.