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text 2018-03-01 14:38
December/January 2018 Reads
Bad Behavior - Kiki Swinson,Noire
A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England) - Roseanna M. White
The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter
Tempest - Beverly Jenkins
Best Laid Plans (Madaris Family Saga) - Brenda Jackson

This winter has not been kind to me. I've been quite ill. I only managed to read one book in December and four in January. In Bad Behavior, I was only able to finish the story by Kiki Swinson. The second story by Noire is erotica and I don't read that genre. Here are my ratings;




4 Stars


A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White


The Good daughter by Karin Slaughter


Best Laid Plans by Brenda Jackson




3 Star 


Bad Behavior by Kiki Swinson and Noire


Tempest by Beverly Jenkins







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review 2018-02-05 15:14
"Casino Qaddafi", by Graham Tempest
Casino Qaddafi (Oliver Steele) - Graham Tempest

Book #3, an Oliver Steele Casino series

Set largely in Libya weeks after the assassination of Muammar Gadhafi, this mystery focuses mainly on Oliver Steele mission to locate Hassan, an illegitimate son of the slain dictator. 

Hassan is financing construction of a massive casino in Macau but amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring, he inexplicably disappeared, without his backing the development is doomed.... Comes Oliver to the rescue…..but he is not alone.

Mr. Tempest is relentless on pacing, vivid description of exotic locales, action and adventure and does not shy from interweaving storylines peppered with ruthless characters such as unethical bankers, financiers, revolutionaries and murderers. Oliver’s investigation into layers of secrecy surrounding Hassan’s fortune is interesting but the accounting gibberish is however so over powering and distracting that I let my mind meander during the long narrative. Nevertheless the adrenaline fueled saga is quite suspenseful with characters involved in one conflict after the other. Every time Oliver gets close to a solution, this financial sleuth is derailed instantly. Definitely this story keeps you guessing from page one. Set aside the distraction this book is a good straightforward and easy read played out by an interesting cast of diverse characters.

Even if “Casino Qaddafi” may not have been my preferred story in this series I nevertheless enjoyed passing time reading this mystery.

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text 2017-12-30 14:51
December Wrap-up
Old Celtic Romances - P.W. Joyce
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff
Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk - Morgan Daimler
Dreamtime Dragons - Nils Visser
The Grand Phantom - Harold Cloninger
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Plum Dandi Knits: Simple Designs for Luxury Yarns - Alicia Plummer,Melissa Schaschwary
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale
About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution - Paul Davies

Yes, there's one more day but although I'm getting close to finishing Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I definitely won't be finishing any other books before January 1st.


I seem to have given myself a lot of non-fiction to read this month. Mostly from Netgalley.


I expect to finish Uprooted between today and tomorrow so I'm counting 11 books for the month. Not bad for me!


The stand out ones besides Uprooted (which I'm really enjoying) would be The Toy Makers and the Dreamtime Dragons Anthology. Both have given me a lot of reading pleasure. I enjoyed the re-reading of A Christmas Carol too. 5 of the books are non-fiction so only a couple of meh books.


I also got through some of the samples backlog again. I've only got about 80 left. I collected a LOT over Halloween!


I still have some non-fiction reads in progress so that may slow me down for January reading, but I seem to be averaging more in a month than I used to. I blame all of you.

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review 2017-12-24 16:04
"Casino Excelsior", by Graham Tempest
Casino Excelsior - Graham Tempest

An Oliver Steele novel and book #2 in the Casino series

Sleuth Oliver Steele is doing what he does best always at the service to save the world and get his boss of his back. To the casino world of Las Vegas he goes, to Los Angeles death awaits at every corner. Hunted by bad guys, he runs the maze of tunnels underneath Harrods staying one step ahead and escape without a hitch. Olive won’t stop his escapades till he gets to the bottom and while doing his best to conclude his mission he will give us excitement in Monte Carlo and in the hope of wrapping things up he will take a trip to the island of St-Lydia and will entertain us at every turn. I may be off in order of things but Oliver gives us quite a hellish ride. 

Doesn’t this sound exciting and a most captivating read?, of course it does and once again Mr. Tempest has provided a quick read filled with suspense and intrigue with many plot twists. The language is down to earth: simple, concise and peppered with a touch of humour. The characters are well- thought, varied and interesting. I particularly love Oliver; he plays his role to a tee: a disgraced British accountant who does odd jobs for Tish, a billionaire. When Tish calls, Oliver is expected to jump….and he does. Taking us inside the biggest casinos we learn how high rollers play their games and how it may be easy to cross international boundaries to be the top winners. It gives us a behind the scenes perspective….

“Casino Excelsior” is an easy and fun read I enjoyed passing time with. 

I received a copy from the author for my thoughts, thank you Mr. Tempest

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review 2017-12-23 13:53
Sigil Witchery
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff

by Laura Tempest Zakroff




This is a book about sigil magic, something that has roots in a spectrum of ancient cultural esoterica but became popular with the rise of chaos magick in the 1970s. The book starts with a general explanation and some history of some of the systems where sigil magick began. It then continues with a full chapter on pictorial art from cave paintings to symbols used by secret societies, hitting a few little known facts but missing out obvious things like Runes, which is later explained.


I have mixed feelings about this book. As a book about art and how to apply drawing techniques for interesting looks for sigils, it excels. On magic... not so much. I have no doubt that the author's spells would work for her, but the explanations of how sigil magic works falls short and in some instances contradicts safety information I've read from more experienced and trusted authors on the subject.


I noted that an early reference to the method used in chaos magic(k) gave me the impression that it had been taken from a couple of variations that might have come from Internet forums and thought the author could benefit from reading the book by Austin Spare where that particular method originated, then later she talks about having read that very book and suggests it's difficult to follow.


She also never mentions anything about charging the sigils, which is an important step in the process. For people new to sigil magic, I'd suggest people start at the known authors; Spare, Carroll, Hawkins and possibly Hine.


I think this book would be a good resource for someone who already has a working knowledge of sigil magic and is looking to expand on the artistic possibilities. Her information on art materials was excellent and it's clear she knows her stuff on that. This would be a good supplement for visual appeal and some alternative approaches, plus some I've read about elsewhere like motion sigils get more attention here than in the earliest sources.

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