Reflected Voices


July 20th, 2017

Early Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

Review by Poo Penny

May Contain Spoilers

Dragons. Beasts. Legacies. A teeeeny tiny spoiler, but I don’t think it will ruin anything.
Do I really need to sell this book to you, if you have read Burn for Me and White Hot then you KNOW what to expect, kind of. Except its better. Its more. I just hope that there is another book, or some kind of short story after that epilogue. I need more.

This book picks up right where White Hot left off, and there is so much happening. The conspiracy, Rogan and Nevada getting used to their relationship, the insane Rynda. Oh, you will just love Rynda. I read this in a bit of a rush, because I was so excited, but there will be a re-read. This book calls for it. We finally find out what Catalina’s magic is! It does NOT disappoint.

And do I need to tell you how sensual and sexy Rogan is in this book? No, no I do not. He is amazing. Oh Ilona, why do you do this! I love when he is brooding, I love when he is breaking things, I love when he is trying to win arguments, I love him! One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Nevada is at dinner with another truthseeker, and Rogan is watching video, and things around him start breaking when he hears the conversation. It was so funny.

I would take off a half star for the epilogue…. but I am hoping that they dont leave me like this. Its like they gave me a bite of really spicy food and nothing to drink. Jerks.

Grade: 5 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes shes fallen in love. Connor Mad Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but shes completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogans life&
Rogan knows theres nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.
As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Ryndas kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevadas grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

July 17th, 2017

Review: Stake Night by Susan Archer

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

May Contain Spoilers

I borrowed Stake Night using Kindle Unlimited because it is about Saddlebreds.  I was wondering how accurate the author would be portraying the run up to showing at the World Championship show in Louisville, and because I love reading about horses. There arent a lot of books about the saddleseat disciple, so I was eager to give this book a spin.

Stake Night follows several characters, both trainers and amateurs, through one show season, ending with the Five Gaited Stake at Freedom Hall. Now, while I have never been privileged enough to show in Freedom Hall, I have been able to attend the show, which is an experience I recommend for anyone interested in ASB (American Saddlebreds), or in saddleseat riding. Unfortunately, I will never be able to scrape together the kind of cash necessary to be competitive at the ASB World Championship horse show. While I started my show career with a saddlebred, I now have a Morgan, and while she isnt fancy enough to compete at our big show in Oklahoma, she does pretty well at smaller shows. Between both horses, I have shown at some of the venues showcased in the book, and I felt right at home with all of the training methods and equipment.

What I wasnt so fond of was the authors writing style. Third-person present tense is my least favorite POV.  Normally I cant stand it; when I do encounter it, I usually put the book aside, never to pick it up again.  I persevered, however, because, well, horses. Once I got going, I did become engaged in the story, but the writing style continued to be distracting; dry, clinical, and not overly compelling.  There was a distance kept between the reader and the characters, and I found that frustrating.

If you are at all interested in knowing what its like to show a saddleseat horse, I highly recommend Stake Night.  Keep in mind, though, that it is all about showing horses. There is little else here. Once show season starts, its just like my life. Horses, horses, horses.  Working to get the horses fit, trained, and ready to compete at one fairground after another. Which horses will be there, what will the competition be like, should we show in this class or that class. Coaching at the rail. Steady up! More snaffle! Stay ahead of the horse!

All of this was familiar, and while the writing style left me somewhat cold, I couldnt wait to get to the end and find out which horse reigned supreme. The ending was a bit unbelievable, and I cant say more without giving the end away. There is a sequel, and I will read it as soon as I get another break in my review schedule.  I have to find out who is going to win next year!

Grade: 3.25 stars

Review copy borrowed using Kindle Unlimited

About the book:

Stake Night is the story of a single year in the glamorous and competitive world of show horses, where the rewards are large and so are the lengths to which people will go to win. For the owners, it is about wielding power through money in their quest to proudly hold the prestigious World Championship trophy. For the riders, it is about demonstrating technical skill and nerve by out-riding their competitors and maneuvering their horse in the frenetic ring so the judges notice it. For the trainers, it is about finding the key that makes your horse out-perform others that might actually be more talented and achieving the professional recognition that leads to new clients and financial security. For everyone, it is about settling scores and finding a way to win the championship.

The central character is Jennifer, a young, relatively unknown trainer. She cant believe her luck when a rich client brings her the reigning world champion horse and tells Jennifer to prepare the horse for her timid daughter to ride. Jennifer quickly learns that this horse and rider are a dangerous and doomed combination, and she must move carefully to find an alternative that keeps her important client from leaving the barn and ruining Jennifers chances to finally join the ranks of the most well-known and respected trainers.

July 16th, 2017

Friday Kimono 2017-07-14

Add to Memories Tell a Friend
Another Ojiya Chijimi Kimono


Wednesday Kimono 2017-07-12

Add to Memories Tell a Friend
Ojiya Chijimi Kimono


Expunging users

Add to Memories Tell a Friend
We have corrected the issue that was causing users to not get expunged. They are currently expunging now.

Thursday Kimono 2017-07-13

Add to Memories Tell a Friend
Awaji Shijira Kimono (same Nagoya obi as yesterday)


Review: Daisy and the Dead by Sarah Bale

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

May Contain Spoilers

When I saw this on Netgalley, I started salivating.  I LOVE zombie stories!  All of the running and fighting and trying to survive  I find zombie stories irresistible.   What I didnt realize before I hit the request button is that Sarah Bale writes erotica.  Thats not a deal killer for me, but when I read books with zombies, I want ZOMBIES.  Not spankings and heroines who defiantly proclaim they wont be sleeping with the big bad leader of the gang who saved her  and promptly jumps into bed with him. Without protection (which the hero claimed to always use, until sleeping with our heroine) during a zombie apocalypse, where an unplanned pregnancy would certainly spell disaster. Not to mention STDs. Its not like theres a doctor on every corner anymore. Smh.

Daisy has been struggling to survive in a world gone haywire. A virus devastated the population, turning the dead into ravenous monsters. When the camp she has been seeking refuge in is attacked by a gang of men and everyone is slaughtered, she thinks her time is up. Then shes saved by a tall, handsome guy, the leader of the violent thugs who just killed her friends and stole all of their belongings. Sir (yes, yes, this dudes name is SIR) promises she wont be raped and takes her with them to their complex, which is like the lap of luxury compared to how shes been living for the past three years. And while Sir promised not to rape her, he never promised not to beat her with his belt, which I find squicky in romance. This wasnt even a playful spanking, but a punishment for Daisy not following every one of Sirs orders to the letter  but it got her excited anyway. Ugh.

For most of the novella, Sir treats Daisy horribly.  Despite his bad behavior, she falls in love with him. I just had trouble buying that, or accepting that Daisy had any agency in their relationship at all.  Sir humiliates her in front of all of his followers, dictates when she can eat, and unceremoniously dumps her after taking her to his private hideaway, a secluded garden far from the stresses of the compound. Ugh. I kept hoping a zombie would bite him.

But then, bad things happen, and suddenly, Daisy is a bada$$.  WTF? Shes shooting people, saving lives, and showing no mercy to the scumbags threatening to destroy her and her new life. Why couldnt more of the story have been like this?  The ending made up for all of the heros cardboard personality, his bad behavior, and Daisys meekness where Sir was concerned. The short page count didnt give the story much depth, and I would have rather had more zombie attacks than so many sex scenes.  But the ending! Even while I was rolling my eyes when Daisy suddenly turned into this female version of Rambo, I couldnt help but cheer her on.  So campy and fun! So, despite some problems with Daisy and the Dead, I plan on reading the Elijah and the Living, which will be available on Kindle Unlimited July 11.  Oy!

Grade: This is a toughie  2.75 to 3 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

Daisy has one goal  dodge the Dead long enough to find a way back to her family. When shes discovered hiding in a barn after her camp is invaded, she realizes the real threat might be worse.
Whisked away by the mysterious Sir to a world she thought died when the virus spread, Daisy discovers that with power comes danger. Now her goal is to save the man who saved her.
Daisy thought it was the Dead she had to fear& But the Living make her fight for the love of her life.

Sunday Yukata 2017-07-08

Add to Memories Tell a Friend
Attempt at Taisho-style yukata worn for neighborhood firefly viewing.

Until the "Yukata Boom"(1980s?) it was standard for adult women to wear yukata without nagajuban (but with hada-juban) and Nagoya obi.


July 11th, 2017

Mini Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

May Contain Spoilers

Meh. I found this slow and it didn’t hold my interest. I read to about the 30% point, and then skimmed and jumped to the end. I don’t know if I wasn’t in the mood for it or what, but it didn’t meet my high expectations (maybe that was the problem – how could it be as good as I built it up to be?). Dimple, at times, was just as selfish and abrasive as Rishi accused her of being, and Rishi, while I liked him, was too passive and too accepting of the role his family put him in. My favorite part of the book was when he broke out of the expectations placed on him and finally fought to come into his own. IDK. Maybe I have just become tired of the YA romance genre.

Grade: 2.5 stars

Review copy obtained from my local library

About the book:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, shes more than ready for a break from her family, from Mammas inexplicable obsession with her finding the Ideal Indian Husband. Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldnt have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers&right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as himwherein hell have to woo herhes totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didnt mean to start turning the wheels on this suggested arrangement so early in their childrens lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

July 10th, 2017

Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

May Contain Spoilers

When I was approached about reviewing this title, I was torn.  I am completely swamped with review books, and I was hesitant to add yet another commitment to my already full schedule. But I saw that part of the book takes place in my favorite time period, Ancient Egypt, and I couldn’t say no.  I’m glad I read the book. It was enjoyable, and I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise, as it was nowhere on my radar.

Semele works for an auction house, appraising and deciphering ancient texts.  When her job takes her to Switzerland to catalog and pack up the Brossard collection, she is thrilled.  The collection is massive and spans hundreds of years.  When Semele discovers a hidden manuscript, supposedly from the reign of Cleopatra, she is over the moon.  The manuscript tells the story of an ancient seer, Ionna, as well as an ancient deck of tarot cards. Once Semele finds the manuscript, strangers start following her, and someone breaks into her hotel room.  As the danger escalates, she frantically attempts to unlock the secret someone is trying to keep from her.

The story is told alternatively from Semele’s POV, as well as from the POV of Ionna and her descendants.  I found the structure compelling, and finished the book in only a few bursts of reading. Semele’s personal life is a mess, and I could instantly relate to a woman whose personal connections are going haywire. She hasn’t spoken to her mother in months, since her father died suddenly, leaving a gaping hole in both their lives.  Her boyfriend of two years is pushing for more commitment than she’s ready to give, and her career goes off the rails when she is abruptly yanked from the Brossard account. Then there’s Theo Brossard, a mysterious man who she feels like she’s known forever, and to whom she is instantly attracted to.

When a close friend is seriously injured while working with her to verify the authenticity of the manuscript, she knows she’s in serious trouble.  This is where the story fell off the rails for me.  I just did not buy into the villain of the piece, and the last few chapters lost their believability.  Overall, though, I couldn’t put it down and whiled away an enjoyable afternoon reading The Fortune Teller.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

Semele Cohen appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.
The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the cards? As the mystery of her connection to the manuscript deepens, Semele cant shake the feeling that shes being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and theres more to Semeles desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?
The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interferesomeone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes its up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

July 7th, 2017

Audio Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Add to Memories Tell a Friend

May Contain Spoilers

Oh, my, did I enjoy this audio book! Moira Quirk is an entertaining, engaging narrator.  She really made the story come to life.  Sophronia and her adventures kept me snickering, as she found herself bouncing from one outlandish caper to the next.

Sophronia is a fourteen year old tomboy. Her behavior gives her mother convulsions.  After a particularly ill-fated encounter with a dumb-waiter, she is sent off to finishing school.  Only she quickly learns that this is a special sort of finishing school. While the girls are taught impeccable etiquette, they are also schooled in poison, knife wielding, and the secret uses of fans.  In other words, it’s a school where they are taught the finer points of espionage!

Sophronia is an inquisitive young woman, and when she is caught up in the hunt for the mysterious, missing prototype, she finds herself toe-to-toe with a fellow student, picklemen, and airman.  As she struggles to master her lessons, she is also frantically searching for the prototype. With the assistance of her new friend, Dimity, Sophronia is determined to save society at large from the villains who are desperate to get their hands on the prototype for their nefarious purposes.

Etiquette & Espionage was a rousing success for me.  I enjoyed all of the characters, even stuck-up Monique.  Sophronia is a take charge kind of girl, who isnt content to sit on the sidelines and watch the action from a safe distance.  Once she suspects a mystery, she doesnt rest until she solves it.  This was a fun book.

Grade: 4.5 stars

Review copy borrowed fro my local library

About the book:

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Powered by InsaneJournal