Monday, February 29, 2016

Rare Disease Day 2016

Today is the day when patients of rare diseases are trying to be heard. Remember the bucket challenge? Many people who never heard of ALS became aware of it. I knew about it since a family friend had it and I could see the impact of that disease. I also know a lot of people who are struggling with getting proper meds due to insurance limitations or FDA limitations. It is something that is important to recognize.

What is a rare disease? (from rarediseaseday.org)
A disease or disorder is defined as rare in Europe when it affects fewer than 1 in 2000. 
A disease or disorder is defined as rare in the USA when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time. 
One rare disease may affect only a handful of patients in the EU (European Union), and another touch as many as 245,000. In the EU, as many as 30 million people alone may be affected by one of over 6000 rare diseases existing.
  • 80% of rare diseases have identified genetic origins whilst others are the result of infections (bacterial or viral), allergies and environmental causes, or are degenerative and proliferative.
  • 50% of rare diseases touch children.
What is so important is that these diseases need to be more in the minds of the doctors, especially when the patient just doesn't fit the textbook in what they expect to see. In fact, a doctor once said that "...when you hear hooves expect horses, but don't discount the zebras". That is why you may come across the zebra as a representation of the disease. So many people get misdiagnosed or diagnose with it being a psychological problem because the doctor does not want to investigate further and refuses to see the zebra amongst the horses. A correct diagnosis is key to helping a patient either get better or at least feel better. Not all rare diseases are fatal, but all affect the quality of life in a person.
Rare Disease Day website probably puts it better:
The lack of scientific knowledge and quality information on the disease often results in a delay in diagnosis. Also the need for appropriate quality health care engenders inequlities and difficulties in access to treatment and care. This often results in heavy social and financial burdens on patients. 
As mentioned, due to the broad diversity of disorders and relatively common symptoms which can hide underlying rare diseases, initial misdiagnosis is common. In addition symptoms differ not only from disease to disease, but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease.
How you can help? 
Not all rare diseases are invisible, but quite a few are... and those illnesses that aren't rare, this still applies.
Just become aware of the prevalence of the disorders. Personally, I would say that just listening or at lest not denying the person has a problem. Many of these are invisible so even if someone looks "good" they may be feeling terrible. I know that I can deal with a pain level of 6 with a smile... so you never know someone's internal struggle. Don't try to cure them. If they are going to doctors (yes, often plural) then they are well aware of their condition. A cure that your friend's brother's in-law's cousin twice removed had the same thing but is cured... good for them, but it may not be the cure for the person with the rare illness or really any condition. Often those with the same diagnosis do not have the same symptoms or the same medical regimen. Also, recognize that they may have to cancel plans in short notice because they had a flare up. They want to be there, but just can't. Don't take it personally. If you would like to have some idea of what it is like to have an invisible chronic condition read The Spoon Theory. She writes about Lupus, but it works for all kinds of conditions. If you have any kind of a chronic condition that affects how you live, I urge you to read it, it resonates with so many people.

Also know this: if you think about it, with all the rare diseases out there, you probably know someone with it. In fact, I can guarantee it. ;)

Find out more on social media:

Rare Disease Day on FacebookTwitter (@rarediseaseday) Re-tweet and use the hashtag #raredisease, YouTubeGoogle Plus

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

Series: Ravenspire #1
400 p.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 2/16/16
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. 
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart. 
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
My thoughts:

Hm... two words: Dragon. Shifter.

*drops mic*

Yea, I thought so. Seems like I'm not the only one who goes running when those two words are uttered... or written. ;) I also love retellings. I love to see what new things authors can come up with, with tales we are all familiar. This one also had me thinking of the movie "Snow White and the Huntsman" especially the evil queen. She seems like Charlieze Theron could step into this role in this book and live there since she is the one that stole that movie. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she had something to do with the inspiration for the queen.

Now this is different than the movie. I loved Lorelai as a heroine and as a character. No matter how dark things got, she found a way to go on and do what was needed to be done to save the kingdom. No, this isn't a save the princess book, she does all the saving. Unfortunately there were moments when she wasn't perfect and didn't save the one imperiled, but although heartbreaking, it lent some reality to our fantasy. It did make it feel more real. Kol is also a great leading man. He is trying to save his kingdom and knows when to ask for help (how many male heroes can say that?). I love how he sacrificed and found his way in the story. I also loved their romance that was not insta love but did take time and some magic to accomplish.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed this book and now I'm curious to see where the author takes us next since this book seemed pretty complete as it is.


Couldn't resist. She is so like the queen here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin #14
400 p.
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 2/23/16
Source: Author, Publisher and NetGalley for review
Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship? 
It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.
My thoughts:

I love this series and I couldn't wait for this addition to the series. One where Finn becomes center in Gin's world. His momma comes back into his life and he must deal with the consequences of that action no matter if it is good or bad. Okay, that is as spoilery as I'll get and it was said in the blurb. As for the rest I'll try not to spoil anything else.

For me this one is about family. Ones we are born to and ones we make for ourselves. It is those ties that define who we are (both good and bad) and who we want to become. Sometimes it is a role model we emulate and sometimes it is an example we make sure we do not become. Because of this dynamic we can easily become involved in this storyline.

This one really kept my interest from the get go, but then I'm a huge fan of Finn. He always has Gin's back and I love the sibling camaraderie they both share. There is another story arc brewing and this one already has my attention and speculation. The book does not end in a cliffie, but does leave the door wide open for what is to come. I think we will get more of Gin's backstory in the works ahead. At least I hope this is the case.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a great addition to this series. While you probably could read this one without reading the other books in the series I do not recommend it. You need that established feeling of who they are to each other to encompass the fullness of this story. Plus I think you'd miss out on too much and this series and there is too much progression that you would miss. I highly recommend this series to those that really love UF.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Blog Tour with Giveaway: The Asset by Anna Del Mar

Why SEAL Heroes Are So Incredibly Sexy

By
Anna del Mar

I’m a huge fan of our special operation guys. They’re awesome. Take a look behind the headlines and you may spot them as those silent, invisible shadows taking care of business where trouble lurks. In a global scene fraught with confusion, violence and danger, they are always present even though they’re seldom seen. 

Read the accounts or ask one of the many hostages who has been plucked from the misery of captivity in Africa, the Middle East or the high seas and they’ll tell you: They never saw salvation coming and, afterwards, they never knew the names of their rescuers, but they were elated to see those camouflaged faces crawling out of the night. Here’s a recent and rare public account of a dramatic SEAL rescue.

I’m partial to the SEALs. My weakness for these guys might have something to do with my years as a Navy wife, when I got to meet some real SEALs. They were friends and neighbors, husbands and fathers who disappeared for weeks and months at a time in secret deployments, only to return as peaceful, outstanding and beloved members of our community.

I won’t lie. All of the active duty SEALs I’ve ever met were physically fit. These men are proud athletes. Their survival and the safety of their teams can depend on their fitness. Physical fitness goes a long way in defining beauty these days. So, yes, lots of dreamy-looking guys. Hot bods add sexy points.

But I like brains with my brawn and while we’re at it, I want moral character in my heroes as well. The SEALs’ arduous selection process, combined with a long, grueling training pipeline, help foster all of that. By the time these guys make it through, their brains have developed into quick, critical thinking, decision-making machines. So they have skills. They’re smart. They rely on each other and work as a team. They’re loyal, resilient and determined. They won’t quit.

All of this goes to explain why as a debut romance author, special operators have the starring roles in my new Wounded Warrior series, a collection of hot, smart romances about strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, military heroes who challenge their limits to protect the women they love. In The Asset, the series’ first novel, we meet Ash Hunter, a Navy SEAL wounded in Afghanistan who’s struggling to overcome his injuries when he finds himself staring down the barrel of Lia Stuart’s shotgun. 

Lia is a fugitive, hiding, desperately trying to escape her terrifying past. She may not be a SEAL and she’s definitively keeping secrets, but Ash recognizes her for who she really is: a fighter and a survivor, the kind, caring, passionate woman he could love, if only she wasn’t so afraid to let him. When she risks her cover to help him, Ash commits to a new mission. He will lay down his life to save hers. 

The Asset is a story about courage, resilience and love’s extraordinary healing power. I chose to write a SEAL as the protagonist to honor a special breed. I hope to convey the strength, courage and complexity of those silent warriors whose heroism often goes unnoticed and unnrecognized. They keep watch but are seldom seen and for their service, I thank them.

So why are SEAL heroes so incredibly sexy? Easy. Braw + Brains + Heart = Sizzling hot. 

About The Asset:

Get a Copy: Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo | Carina Press
Series: The Wounded Warrior #1
Release: February 22nd 2016
Goodreads

Blurb:
Anna del Mar’s explosive, sexy debut novel in the Wounded Warrior series, perfect for fans of Lisa Marie Rice and Lora Leigh—the story of a woman desperate to escape her dangerous past and the navy SEAL who would lay down his life to save her 
Ash Hunter knows what it is to run. A SEAL gravely injured in Afghanistan, he’s gone AWOL from the military hospital. Physically and mentally scarred, he returns home to his grandmother’s isolated cottage—and finds a beautiful, haunted stranger inside.
Like recognizes like. 
Lia Stewart’s in hiding from the cartel she barely escaped alive, holed up in this small Rocky Mountain town. Surviving, but only just. Helping the wounded warrior on her doorstep is the right thing to do…it’s loving him that might get them both killed.

Soon, Ash realizes he’s not the only one tormented by the past. Pushing the limits of his broken body, testing the boundaries of her shattered soul, he’ll protect Lia until his last breath.
About Anna Del Mar

Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.

A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

Giveaway!
Giveaway Info:  
Thanks to the team at Harlequin and Carina Press, one lucky winner will receive the following:
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • eCopy of The Asset
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 22nd - Books and Things Guest post
Wednesday, Febraury 24th - Blushing Reads Review with short Guest Post
Friday, February 26th - The Book Cellar Interview

Monday, February 29th - Curling Up With A Good Book Guest Post
Wednesday, March 2nd - Book Briefs Guest Post
Friday, March 4th - Supernatural Snak Interview

Monday, March 7th - Sassy Book Lovers Review with short Guest Post
Wednesday, March 9th - Happy Ever After Book Reviews Review with short Guest Post
Friday, March 11th - Ramblings From Beneath The Sheets Short Teaser 

For more info about The Asset goto the Tour Page

Friday, February 19, 2016

Audiobook Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett


Series: Roaring Twenties #1
Narrator: Amy Landon
Unabridged
10 hrs. 35 min.
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 5/14/14
Source: Hoopla/Library
Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown's illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who's more comfortable with guns than ghosts. Unfortunately for him, he's the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida's supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her.On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise...
My thoughts:

I love Jenn Bennett's other series, Arcadia Bell and with other bloggers I follow said that they loved this one too (I didn't doubt it at all), I knew I had to dive in... and soon. Finally I got to this one and I loved every bit of it. I also have to say that Amy Landon's narration was so very good. Often I have to listen a while before I get used to it, but there was no problems with that here. While Winter's voice was still different in my head, her version of it didn't distract me from mine. :D Ah the voices in our heads. At least they tale a good story. ;)

The plot is full of twists in the mystery revolving around Winter and I didn't guess who was behind it even though I had my suspicions when we first met that character (no worries, I won't reveal who). The romance was sweet, sometimes frustrating and very hot. Yes, I did... like most PNR/UF books want to kick the male lead in the arse from time to time, but he did redeem himself in the end. I loved Aida from the beginning and I totally loved her independence. She was no shrinking flower but still felt vulnerable enough that I found myself worrying about her character.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoy this author's works and she has become one of my favorites. I cannot wait to get into the other 2 books in this series and I think I may have to do it on audio as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Through the Veil by Colleen Halverson

Series: Aisling Chronicles #1
400 p.
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published: 2/22/16
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review.
Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she's studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war. 
As Commander of Trinity's elite warriors, Finn O'Connell isn't used to having his authority challenged. He doesn't know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth's abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he'll risk everything to help her. 
At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her.
My thoughts:

I really liked the worldbuilding in this story. It goes from modern day America, to the fae realm to modern day Ireland. You have political in nature bad guys that aren't afraid of being murderous. You also have just plain ol' murderous bullies as well. As far as the good guys, those are easy to spot since they take the well being of people who are outside of themselves and their group as a whole. The lines are well drawn but it really enhances the story for me and it doesn't really make anything easier for Elizabeth, our heroine in this tale.

Elizabeth knows nothing of her origins but did not have an easy life. She is thrown into this world in a violent way but does not falter and, in fact, become the heroine, the damsel that saves herself. Yes, she had help, but she proved that she was strong not only in mind, but in spirit and body.

My biggest niggle in the whole story was the romance between Elizabeth and Finn. I could understand the attraction, but I did not really fall in love with this couple until the last part of the book. Then even with an asshat move on Finn's part, I enjoyed how Elizabeth confirmed their love in the end.

The book is complete, but leaves a door wide open for the next installment. I give this book 3 stars. It really got going in the last half of the book where I really became enamored with the story. I loved the secondary characters and I do want to continue the series as the books come out. I recommend it to those that enjoy adult PNR.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Scrape by Erin Kellison

Series: Reveler #8 (series ender)
117 p.
Publisher: Fire Flower Publishing, LLC
Published: 9/16/15
Source: From author for review
The last battle will be a nightmare… 
The Sandman has broken through to the waking world, bringing with Him a monster of a storm. Mirren Lambert and Vince Blackman set out to force him back into his own realm, while Malcolm Rook and Jordan Lane are cornered by an old enemy intent on revenge. They learn that there are no rules when fighting for the ones you love. 
In the midst of the chaos, Harlen Fawkes is charged with finding a way to make dreaming safe again. As nightmares lurk in the fringes, waiting to attack, he is driven to a bold decision that will change the world Darkside forever. All the while, his heart is with Sera—will the love of his life ever wake again? 
Steve Coll must come to grips with his altered nature. His passion for Maisie Lane transcends the darkness, and he becomes both a fearsome nightmare and the hero humanity so desperately needs. Armed with hope and love, he strikes out to defeat a powerful god. But will it be enough? Or has dreaming just become too dangerous? 
Scrape is the eighth and final installment in the Reveler serial, a hot paranormal romance set in a world where shared dreaming is a new pop culture phenomenon that allows people to indulge their wildest fantasies. But there are also unknown dangers Darkside; nightmares are slowly infiltrating not only dreams, but the waking world as well. And behind them all is a shadowy entity called the Sandman.
My thoughts:

Yep, this is the last book in the series and although every book here is short, none lack the punch of a novel with twice as many pages. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to our group and I knew it wouldn't be all sunshine and roses. I was correct in that asumption.

Without spoiling anything, I found myself wondering how everything will play out. As one after another loose ends were tied up, I didn't worry that the ending would answer all my questions. It did, but I did find that the ending with The Sandman a bit too easy once a certain character got involved, but I also liked the revelation that came with it in the final showdown. I guess revelers is a good series name. :)

I give this book 4 stars. It is a action packed book with a touch of romance thrown in for each paring. I especially liked Maisie and Steve's romance... but I will say no more. I highly recommend this whole series (which should be read in order) for those that enjoy UF and PNR.

Friday, February 12, 2016

When Black Women Fall Blog Tour

I always love diversity in books and want to encourage it whenever and where I can. I spy several good romances here.


When Black Women Fall in Love by Ines Johnson

Heartspell Media would like to welcome you to When Black Women Fall, a week long promotional tour of romance novels featuring African American heroines in the contemporary, historical, paranormal, new adult, and erotica genres.

Romance novels are increasingly featuring heroes and heroines of color, from Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series to Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. As society and its citizens increase in diversity so does the market. With more and more authors bypassing publishers and uploading these colorful romances on their own, starved readers now have a buffet of books to choose from.

On this tour, you will find that when black women fall in love it’s a sign of the times in these contemporary offerings. 

In Farrah Rochon's "All You Can Handle" love was the last thing professional pastry chef Sonny White was looking for, but she finds it in a sleepy town with a motorcycle riding hottie.

In Lena Hart's "Because You Love Me" when an old desire is reawakened Sabrina will discover that even an imperfect love can triumph over all.

In Xio Axelrod's "Falling Stars" Hollywood actress' Val Saunders finds her career skyrocketing which makes her real-life attraction to her on-screen love interest come at the worst possible time.

In Ines Johnson's "Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story" having given up on fairytales after falling for her toad of an ex, Pumpkin is afraid to take a chance on a prince charming who comes to her rescue.

In Kim Golden's "Maybe Baby" Laney must choose between the man who offers her financial security and the one who makes her mind and body sing.

In Victoria H. Smith's "The Space Between" Lacey has dreams of the opera, but life has its obstacles, namely a man  who lights a fire inside of her that challenges everything she thought she wanted.

In Christina C. Jones’ “Inevitable Conclusions” Friends? Lovers? Both? For Kora and Tariq, those lines have been blurred for a long time. 

When black women fall in love it’s a magical affair, as you’ll find in these paranormal stories of love.

In L Penelope's "Angelborn" he gave up eternity for love… and lost. Will Maia be his second chance?

In Laverne Thompson's "Angel Rising" Thalya, a soulless creature, meets her match when she hungers for the love of the man assigned to hunt her.

When black women fall in love it’s a defining moment, as you’ll find in this historical romance.

In Piper Huguley's "The Preacher's Promise" Amanda Stewart aims to teach newly freed slaves, but meets with the resistance from the town preacher. Can these two put aside their differences and come together?

When black women fall in love it’s full of growing pains, as you’ll see in this new adult romance.

In Twyla Turner's "Chasing Day" Daylen is the shy cellist who falls in love with her best friend who also happens to be the popular quarterback.

When black women fall in love it can get a little spicy, as you’ll find in this erotica novellete.

In Harper Miller's "Entwined" trouble finds Gabby when she meets an ex-marine looking to release a little tension.

From February 8-14, the intersection of Valentine’s Day and Black History month, check out any one of these romances at a discounted price and enter for your chance to win a giveaway basket that includes a Kindle, along with a few quintessential romance novels featuring black heroines, and a gift certificate for the beauty and cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter!


To find the books (all $.99), get a free excerpt book, and 
enter the giveaway:
  • A $50 Carol’s Daughter gift certificate … to get your beauty on
  • A Kindle Fire HD … to get your read on
  • Ebooks of groundbreaking romance novels featuring Black women by: Beverly Jenkins, Sandra Kitt, L.A. Banks and Zane
  • A $30 Amazon gift card … so you can keep getting your read on
visit When Black Women Fall

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On My Wishlist: After the Woods by Kim Savage


After the Woods
by Kim Savage
320 p.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: 2/23/16
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
Oh this one sounds like an interesting thriller and that cover is creepy cool. :)

What is on your wishlist?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Standalone
384 p.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 2/2/16
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler. 
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways. 
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.
My thoughts:

I had fun with this mash up of western, magic, paranormal, and steampunk. It seems like a lot to thrown in together but here it works. In this one we follow Westie who is a wild girl that lost her family to cannibals. She has a new home now with wildly different kind of people and a mechanical arm. She also has a mouth on her so you know I liked this character. She does cause a lot of problems because she is impulsive, but at least she does try to take responsibility for what damage she wrought.

The mystery was interesting but I didn't like how her new family reacted to some revelations on her part. I don't want to go into what they were because it would be too spoilerish but it just didn't quite jive with me in how otherwise supportive her family was about everything else. I did like the romance between Westie and Alistair. I loved Alley and how he helped Westie and how he loved her. There was a aw moment for them in there for romance lovers. ;) The ending was not as surprising as I think it meant to be but was still enjoyable. I didn't love how it ended but I didn't hate it either. There were also small things that I thought were important which were left out. Like who was spying on Westie and Alistair? I only mention this one specifically since it really doesn't give anything away. This was mentioned as if it was important but yet just didn't give us any clues or answers to what was going on. There was also another incident which I cannot go into but had the same problems. Nothing big but it bothered me a bit. I'm guessing it was the same person, but no answers for those small niggles.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I did enjoy it and I liked Westie. I think this could have been developed into a series and I think it would have been even better as such. I think then not having small questions go unanswered (not the ones I mentioned, but a few others... small but possibly important) wouldn't have bothered me as much. I do recommend it to those that love mash ups of genres with a good dose of fun.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Blogger Craft Circle

This is the meme I had mentioned in a previous post. If you are a crafter and want to do something more on your blog, then join us! I'd love to see what people make.


From Briane from Talk Supe: Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add your tag/label links below and you're good to go!



You can see previous craft posts I've done and posted in this blog by clicking HERE. Most are at the end of the post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Resolution by J. S. Cooper

Series: Swept Away #3
240 p.
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 12/1/15
Source: From publisher for review
When Bianca and Jakob first awoke on a sandy shore in the middle of nowhere, their thoughts were only concerned with survival. But as they explored their surroundings and tried to find out who left them stranded on the island, electricity surged between them. Soon after, Bianca uncovered clues to her abduction, but was left with even more unanswered questions, especially about Jakob’s true motives… 
Now, Bianca just wants the truth. Nothing was as it seemed, especially with Jakob. As she discovers cross upon double cross, all she can trust is her instinct, her connection with him. So they decide to return to the island in hopes of finally learning the truth. Bianca and Jakob have been thrown together and torn apart by their secrets—but can she trust him enough to rescue her at last?When Bianca and Jakob first awoke on a sandy shore in the middle of nowhere, their thoughts were only concerned with survival. But as they explored their surroundings and tried to find out who left them stranded on the island, electricity surged between them. Soon after, Bianca uncovered clues to her abduction, but was left with even more unanswered questions, especially about Jakob’s true motives… 
Now, Bianca just wants the truth. Nothing was as it seemed, especially with Jakob. As she discovers cross upon double cross, all she can trust is her instinct, her connection with him. So they decide to return to the island in hopes of finally learning the truth. Bianca and Jakob have been thrown together and torn apart by their secrets—but can she trust him enough to rescue her at last?
My thoughts:

I'll make this review short especially since the book was so short. I think that is one of the reasons I didn't mind going on with the series when I wasn't enamored with the first one.

This one was a bit better in the mystery department. Although it was the strongest part of the trilogy, it seemed to lag in the other installments, especially the second book. In this one we go back and forth in the past and in the present and it did help move things along. I still didn't like the romance in the book. I did like Bianca better but not Jakob. Ugh. He could be such a jerk. There was a epilogue with the couple and I actually liked them in it! I just wished the romance was the same in the rest of the book.

I give this book 2 stars.  The mystery was solved for the most part. In fact I was thinking back and realized that the main mystery we started out with (I don't want to spoil so I won't say what) was sorta solved. The characters were satisfied with what they thought happened but no definitive evidence or arrest for that particular crime. Still, I had to think about it before I realized that nugget. :) Otherwise the rest of the twists you did get with the mystery did seem to be resolved.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Audiobook Review with Crafts: Disillusioned by J. S. Cooper


Series: Swept Away #2
Narrated: Carly Robins
6 hrs. 35 min.
Publisher: Tantor Media
Unabridged
Published: 3/31/15
Source: Hoopla/Library
Following on the heels of Illusion, indie sensation and New York Times bestselling author J.S. Cooper brings us the second novel in the Swept Away series, a trilogy of dark and sexy romances about a woman marooned on a desert island with a sexy stranger—but is he friend or foe? 
When Bianca and Jakob awake on a sandy shore in the middle of nowhere, their first thoughts are of survival. But as they explore their surroundings and try to discover who stranded them on the island, they can’t deny the electricity surging between them. Soon it’s more than just a campfire keeping them warm… 
But just as Bianca is starting to trust Jakob, she uncovers a clue to their abduction—and he may know more than he’s letting on. Was Jakob just as surprised as she to find himself alone with her…or could the man she’s fallen for be her captor?
My thoughts:

Well, I thought I'd try this one as well since it was only 6 hrs and I thought that was doable. I am sorry to say that I didn't find the romance or relationship any better than I did in the first book. Same problems and the same issues. Pretty much it goes like this: Bianca trusts Jakob, Bianca and Jakob have a hot time, Bianca gets thrown by something and distrusts Jakob, neither seem to have a clue to trust the other but each demands it from the other, add the mystery and repeat... often. A small progress was done on the mystery and I found that putting it on the fast speed really helped this one for me. It was my friend.

Yea, it is a mission now with me to find out what the heck happened since I have the last book and I'm determined to find out who is pulling their strings when they aren't demanding trust from the other. I give this audio 1 1/2 stars. I did enjoy Carly's narration, however and would listen to another audio by her. Also don't let me dissuade you from these books. A lot of people really enjoyed them so I would check out their reviews or check it out at the library and see if it is for you.

The Crafts!
This was a last minute Christmas gift I was determined to get done. I was sewing on Christmas day! :) This is for our veterinarian who does a lot for my pets and has a wonderful family. He noticed my zombie leash and liked it and so the seed of what was to come was born. :D  The embroidery says (in white) "Zombie Outbreak Response Team" and in red "K9 Unit". I hope he and his family liked it.