Penumbra-The Spook Squad #3 {My Thoughts}

Penumbra: The Spook Squad 3Penumbra: The Spook Squad 3 by Keri Arthur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Dell (first published November 16th 2005)
original title Penumbra (Spook Squad, #3)
edition language English
series Spook Squad #3
other editions (5)
Source:EARC from Netgalley

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Agent Sam Ryan wants out of the Special Investigations Unit. She’s sick of the attitude from her partner, Gabriel Stern. She’s sick of the paperwork. Most of all, she’s sick of feeling lonely. But her boss isn’t about to let her go that easily. He gives Sam a choice: either stay stuck in her office or guard a clone replacement of Dan Wetherton, a government minister. Sam reluctantly chooses the latter—even though she suspects she’s being used as bait to draw out the SIU’s elusive nemesis.

Gabriel would like nothing better than to be on his own, without a partner to hold him back. Then he learns that Sam has been assigned to protect Wetherton—or whatever it is that’s replaced him. Wetherton’s clone could have come from only one place: Hopeworth, the military base that contains the secrets of Sam’s past. Determined to protect her, Gabriel is drawn into a fight against unspeakable evil. And all too soon, Sam and Gabriel discover that the connection between them is far more powerful than anyone could ever have imagined.

My Thoughts
Like all good puzzles you have to have every piece in place for it to be complete, although it seems like we were going to be given all the correct pieces somehow that did not happen and like other readers before me feel there is more to make this a complete ending to the series. Although that is the case there is no doubt in my mind that it was still worth reading as it was enjoyable to finally have certain questions answered that have plagued Sam since Spook Squad series started.

Spook Squad #3 served up the same easy read that the previous 2 books gave us, for me the action was a great enticement to keep turning pages as had to see what happened next, the different twists and turns did at times leave one feeling out of the loop but when the end result was revealed you felt the confusion lessen and become understanding, the chemistry that Gabriel and Sam keep trying to deny was as apparent as ever and all in all this was a pretty interesting addition to the series.

Yes I could tell this did not finish the series, however it did finish the biggest part of the story arc with Sam Ryan herself in a satisfying manner for me so that is better than the alternative.

Would have been nice though if we could have had at least one more book to complete the loose ends that leave one hanging in the wind when you have more questions than answers, that however is the breaks and in the scheme of things the three books were worth investing my time to read as Keri Arthur always entertains me no matter what work of hers I choose.

[EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
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The Lodge On Holly Road-Life In Icicle Falls #6 {My Thoughts}

The Lodge on Holly Road (Life in Icicle Falls, #6)The Lodge on Holly Road by Sheila Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info
Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
ISBN 0778316610 (ISBN13: 9780778316619)
edition language English
series Life in Icicle Falls #6
other editions None found
Source:Netgalley EARC

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How Santa Gets His Christmas Spirit Back…

James Claussen has played Santa for years, but now that he's a widower, he's lost interest—in everything. So his daughter, Brooke, kidnaps him from the mall (in his Santa suit!) and takes him to Icicle Falls. She's arranged a special Christmas at the lodge owned by long-widowed Olivia Wallace and her son, Eric. And yet…Brooke wants Dad to be happy, but she's not ready to see someone else's mommy kissing Santa Claus.

Single mom Missy Monroe brings her kids to the lodge, too. Lalla wants a grandma for Christmas, and her brother, Carlos, wants a dog. Missy can't provide either one. What she'd like is an attractive, dependable man. A man like John Truman… But John's girlfriend will be joining him in Icicle Falls, and he's going to propose.

Of course not everything goes as planned. But sometimes the best gifts are the ones you don't expect!

My Thoughts
Never expected to become engrossed in and than spellbound so easily by this story, a story which brings together a group of strangers and transforms them into friends and family!

Not having read previous Life in Icicle Falls books this was a grand introduction to the series, even though it came 6 books in.

The ambience that permeates the town of Icicle Falls is described in a manner that takes the reader right into the heart of everything, from the smell of roasted nuts to the sound of carolers and the shimmering lights glinting off the fallen snow.

Not only do we feel the magic of Christmas but we also feel joy for each character who is in need as they each find that this holiday season wishes long held in their heart are finally coming true in ways they never expected or planned for.

Having lost family at Christmas it was a very easy thing to empathize with both James and Olivia as well as his children and hers, it was even nicer to see their past memories of happier times overcome the pain of loss that lingered and be replaced instead with new memories filled with the joy of making someone else happy.

Fun as well as seriously uplifting this book will help create anticipation for a holiday that deserves more than just fancy wrapping paper, shiny bows and stress. If you are are looking to find a story that invokes the true spirit of Christmas you have found one, this was a fun engrossing tale that left me feeling nostalgic and happy at the end.

We all could use a holiday hideaway like the Lodge on Holly Road!

[EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
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Guest Post/Book Spotlight- Broken By Traci L Slatton

It is my pleasure to welcome back  Traci L Slatton who is a fellow animal lover as well as the author of 8 books so far. Today we have the pleasure of learning more about her newest release Broken as well as getting a look into how she stays fit with the help of her labs Gabriel and Molly who participate in their own unique way as Traci works out doing Yoga.
Molly, Gabriel & Traci
Writing, Yoga, and Dogs: By Traci L. Slatton

First of all, Jackie, thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog! I appreciate the opportunity to connect with fellow pet lovers.

 My historical novel BROKEN, about a fallen angel in occupied Paris from 1939-1942, has recently been published, and already I’m writing two new novels: the fourth book in my dystopian After Series, and a contemporary love story with an HEA.

I’m also working on a nonfiction book on drawing with my husband sculptor  Sabin Howard. When these new books are completed, I will have authored fourteen books.

Beyond these books stretches a list of several other books for which I’m already scribbling notes. People comment that I’m prolific.

They ask where I get my inspiration.

The answer is that I don’t know.

Story ideas seem to come into my head and heart and to roost.

 I do what I can to provide a clear passageway for them—to keep the flow flowing, if that makes sense.

That is, I take meticulous care of my own energy system, so that bursts of creative energy can travel fluidly within me.

 I try to keep the gutters clear and the channels free so that the flow of creativity isn’t impeded.

 One care-taking tool is exercise.
 Physical exercise. 

Somewhere I read Joyce Carol Oates talking about how important running is for authors, and I remember thinking, “She is smart, and right on target.” 

Physical exercise that makes the blood pump seems to clear out the valves of the brain so that characters can develop, plot points can crystallize, and dialogue can say itself rhythmically and naturally. 

Getting a good sweat going seems to fire up the engine of invention and discovery. I used to run but never much liked all the heavy pounding on my joints. 

I’m not a natural runner. I decided to look out for my hips and knees long term, so I switched to the bike, the stairmaster, and the elliptical trainer at the gym. 

Those machines pump up my heart rate and elicit a steady perspiration. 

 About a dozen years ago, I discovered yoga. Two years ago, I made a commitment to do yoga daily (or almost every day). 

I was aided in my commitment by online yoga studios like Yogaglo.com, which allow me to fit in a thirty or forty-five minute class at home when I don’t have two hours to go out to a studio.

 Showing up on my mat every single day deepened my practice, and the breath work and movement work well to promote flexibility not just in the body, but also in the mind. 

I can start a yoga class with a particular thorny writing problem in my head, and by the end, somehow, there’s a resolution for me, just waiting for me to sit at my computer and type it. 

 About a year ago, my chocolate lab Molly discovered that she could have some fun with me while I was doing yoga. 

When I do downward facing dog, she lies down beneath me, directly under the V of my body.

 When I do upward facing dog, she crawls over on top of me. 

When I’m doing jnana shirsasana, she puts a paw or her nose over my leg. When she hears the “Om” chiming the start of my daily Yogaglo video, she trots in, and the game is on. 

It continues all the way through savasana, during which she stands over me and whines for me to KEEP MOVING. 

 Molly must have told my yellow lab Gabriel about it, because recently he’s wanted in on the fun. Gabriel is a cuddler who wants to be stroked on his belly, so he lies as close to me as possible, begging for attention. 

He’ll even roll onto his back, pushing his paws high up into the air and grinning, to get me to scratch him—while I’m balancing in half moon or warrior 3! 

I end up laughing and striving mightily not to fall over. My yoga practice has evolved so that it’s not just excellent physical exercise that keeps me in shape, and it’s not just a tool for staying open to ideas, but it’s also a time to connect joyfully and playfully with my dogs.

 Every day when I queue up an online class and then stand at the top of my mat to begin it, I wonder what havoc the dogs will wreak on my poses. 

I end the class with my body open from the good worked-out feeling, with my mind open from all the breathing, and with my heart open from the laughter and warmth of playing with my dogs.
Where you can find Traci and her books:

Immortal , a historical novel, a rags-to-riches-to-burnt-at-the-stake story: IMMORTAL

Fallen, a dystopian romance, Book 1 of the After Series, “When the world ends, all that’s left is love”: FALLEN

Cold Light, Book 2 of the After Series, “In the end, love demands everything”: COLD LIGHT

Far Shore, Book 3 of the After Series, “Love is Salvation”: FAR SHORE

 The Botticelli Affair, an art history mystery vampire romp: THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR

The Love of My (Other) Life, a bittersweet sci fi rom com: THE LOVE OF MY OTHER LIFE

 The Art of Life, a photoessay on figurative sculpture through the ages: THE ART OF LIFE

Books on Goodreads: 

Thanks for sharing today Traci, I would love to see Gabriel and Molly in person as they help you to unwind with yoga as well as laughter but just reading about them participating put a smile on my face! Congrats and good luck with newest release.

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