Friday, January 11, 2019

Tajael by Alisa Woods - #review

Tajael (Fallen Angels #1)Tajael by Alisa Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlotte is a physicist working on a theory that objects can be moved from one dimension to another. Most people she knew did not believe such a thing could exist. But her boss did, and he and the money to fund the research, and he had faith in Charlotte.

Charlotte's fellow scientist was less than thrilled by her presence, perhaps because a) she was a woman, b) she was a woman who wouldn't give him the time of day ... or night, and c) the boss like her ideas better than his.

But, surprise the other dimension(s) is/are real. And not everyone on the other side is thrilled with humans (specifically Charlotte) being able to travel between dimensions, something which had hitherto been reserved for immortals and other supernatural beings. Like the Fae, who were allied with dark angels, vampires and werewolves. On the other side, where Angels and Dragons.

Small wonder, then, that a Guardian Angel (Tajael) was sent to protect Charlotte. She was like this light that was shining like crazy with goodness, and naturally dark creatures are going to think, "Hmmm...THAT can't be good!" (No pun intended, but it is kind of funny.) There is a scene in the Winter Court of the Fae containing incestuous sex, and sexual assault Those situations are not triggers for me, but I still thought, "Ewwww!"

Other than that, I enjoyed the first 75% of the book immensely. Kudos to Ms. Woods for having a MC as a brilliant female physicist. (Won't it be nice, though, when it's so commonplace that we don't get all excited about it anymore?)

But, Tajael (angeling - half angel, half human), has a problem. He, like all angels, is attracted to Charlotte's light and goodness. And, having spent some time in the dark realms, he struggled increasingly with the sin of Lust.

Just after the third successful trial of Charlotte's machine - nick-named SEXi-MRI by her boss, the dark forces popped up in great numbers. Luckily, there was a fairly equal contingent of angels and angelings trying to protect Charlotte and her experiment. But the day was not a complete success. Charlotte was kidnapped by the Fae and the machine was destroyed.

Having realized that Tajael's boss wanted them to mate (to produce more warriors for the light), once Tajael and his 'team' rescued Charlotte and they were back in this world, said couple threw caution to the wind. Once they started having sex, I didn't think they were ever going to stop. Apparently, angels are rather quick to recover. I just prefer my romances with a little more sugar and a little less spice.

Other than that, like I said, I enjoyed the story, and would recommend the book, with the reservations for possible triggers and graphic sexual content.

View all my reviews

 (Disclaimer:  I 'purchased' this copy for free at Amazon, having received an email from deal-notification service such as BookbubBookRioteBookSodaFreebooksyRobin's Reads, etc.  I was under no obligation to review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 reading challenges and read-a-thons:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC
You Read How Many? RC
GoodReads RC
Bout of Books Read-a-thon  
PopSugar RC

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner - #review

Stilettos & Scoundrels (A Presley Thurman Mystery, #1)Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never start reading a novel when you are feeling contrary. I did so with Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner, and for that reason, had trouble getting involved in the story. For instance, I thought Presley should have had a tape recorder running in her pocket when she went in to talk to her boss, who basically told her to 'put out or get out'

Luckily a good night's rest brightened my mood considerably and I have literally just 'turned the last page' in my Kindle reading app, and the more the story progressed, the more I was drawn in.

I can appreciate the ambivalence Presley had about going back to her home town. On the one hand, It was a great place to go to recharge her batteries after she was fired, and she needed to find another job. On the other hand, seeing all those people whom she had known before she left for college was probably somewhat strained. Especially the townsfolk of the 'old boyfriend' variety.

Most cozy mysteries start with a main character who is not a professional investigator. Presley was head of HR at a big corporation in Chicago before she was fired. She talked her way in to an interview with a US Senator, which led to Presley being one of the last people to see him alive. So, the Feds wanted to talk to her, the local LEO's wanted to talk to her, and Cooper, the Senator's private security wanted to talk to her.

Well, Cooper happened to be an old boyfriend. They hadn't seen each other in years, but it was obvious there was still a lot of sizzle. The author held back just enough to have just about anyone become a suspect at one time, but in the end, all the various storylines were drawn together and things made sense.

The revelatory scene made me think of a story where a hostage was describing the moment the soldiers burst into the building to take down the bad guys. She said, "He said, "Get down!" in a voice that said he meant business (so everyone did), and they were subsequently rescued.

I did really enjoy the way Presley and Cooper's increasing interest in each other was written. They didn't just see each other for the first time in years and then fall into bed. They teased each other here and there and they fought 'the inevitable'. It was like they were mad at themselves that something was still there. The progression of their relationship was as fun to 'watch' as it was to read.

View all my reviews

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book at no charge for signing up for the author's newsletter.  My review was voluntary.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 reading challenges and read-a-thons:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC
You Read How Many? RC
GoodReads RC
Pop Sugar RC
A to Z RC
Bout of Books RAT
Literary Escapes RC (Illinois)
Alphabet Soup Author (T)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Haze by Rebecca Crunden - #review

HazeHaze by Rebecca Crunden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this case, the 'haze' referred to in the title could refer to either the physical haze of drugs or the emotional haze we sometimes have to endure when a loved one dies. Eliza knew that all too well, because she had to deal with both.

Early on in Haze, Erick (Eliza's fiance), Sam (her sister) and Maya (Sam's fiancee), are on a hike in the woods. The sisters begin to squabble and Erick feels he needs to step in between the two, which he does. There has been some shoving involved back and forth. The Erick gives Sam a little shove, but she flies backward, hits her head and dies on the spot. No one who counts holds Eric responsible. Either they do not know the full story, or they believe there was no way the shove Erick gave Sam should have caused her to 'fly' as far as she did.

Erick leaves town without saying goodbye, unable to deal with the guilt. Eliza's father crawls into a bottle and doesn't come out for years, and her mother has trouble coping after Sam's death. I read somewhere once that 'children are not supposed to die before their parents', so I have a special sympathy for Sam and Eliza's family.

Tension ratchets up again when Erick returns to town for a family funeral, to support his mother.

Eliza has been taking drugs for a while. She's not living at her parents' house because it's hard for her to see them in the conditions they are in. She gets drugs from a former rival of Erick's and occasionally has sex with him, it sounds like 'because it's something to do'. Most of her emotions, it seems, died along with her sister.

The story was woven well, and I was engaged. (I read the story in one day). I just wanted to step into the story and hug most of the principals, excluding the two drug dealers, who, irrespective of their professions, were scum.

I admit I had some trouble adjusting when the supernatural element moved from the background to center stage. There were a couple of phone calls received by Sam, and then Eliza, from a girl who had committed suicide some years before; these should have clued me in. Indeed, I probably would have had something snippy to say if nothing came of this plot seed.

I'm not sure why this transition to the supernatural part of the story feels a little contrived to me. It seemed like walking from a darkened movie theatre with an incredible amount of noise, to a bright sunny day and relative calm. It took some time to adjust.

But adjust I did, and I have to put that down to the author's abilities. Normally, when I have an experience like that with a book, once I'm gone, it's hard to get back. But I noticed (while reading) that shortly after, I was 'back' into the story.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, with some details.
Will I read more by this author? Absolutely.

View all my reviews

 (Disclaimer:  I received a free copy from the author and publishers via Read it and Reap program on Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 reading challenges and read-a-thons:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC
You Read How Many? RC
GoodReads RC
PWOW RC
Pop Sugar RC
A to Z RC

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ruthless by Susan Kiernan-Lewis - #review

Ruthless (Book 6 ) the Mia Kazmaroff MysteriesRuthless (Book 6 ) the Mia Kazmaroff Mysteries by Susan Kieran lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not the first book I've read by Susan Kiernan-Lewis. That spot goes to Murder in the Latin Quarter part of the "Maggie Newberry" mysteries. I've also 'met' Mia Kazmaroff before. Ms. Kiernan-Lewis writes multiple series of mysteries, so I know I won't be out of books I know I'll enjoy for...oh, the foreseeable future.

In the Midst of Winter by Danice Hope - #bookreview





In the Midst of Winter shares ways to cope for those suffering from misunderstood chronic illnesses, and a glimpse into our daily lives for those who wish to understand. It also testifies of the Savior’s ability to reach into each heart and bring hope and renewal.


At age fourteen, Danice Hope started having troubles functioning during the winter months. Each year, the fatigue and depression grew worse. During the summers, her health would improve, and she learned to fit as much joy into life as possible before winter returned. After six years, she was finally diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Over time, she realized that there was also beauty in winter. She found a poster with flowers growing out of the snow that said, “In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

In the mid 1990’s, Danice moved south to Arizona with the hope of improving her health enough to have a better life. While the SAD improved, she found herself developing new health problems. The biggest surprise was that she could be sitting slumped over in a wheelchair in the emergency room, barely able to speak or move, and doctor after doctor told her that she wasn’t ill, or that it was “just anxiety”. After going to twenty-four different doctors in the next year, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Stunned at the loss of her hopes and dreams, she gradually learned to see in new ways, to balance her health, to reshape her dreams, and to look to Christ. She learned that flowers can grow not only in the snow, but also in the desert sun.






Danice Hope has been married to the same loving, supportive husband for 26 years. They live in the deserts of the American Southwest, where the winters are mild. Their two lovable cats keep them busy.

Danice loved to roam the mountains of Utah in her younger years, and to see the variety of wildflowers each spring. She has enjoyed writing since she was old enough to write. She takes solace in reading the scriptures and other good books. She is grateful for God’s care and guidance through the distresses of life.



~ Website ~
   


Doctors and therapists; I swear! *shaking my head*  Just as wealthy individuals can think people of a lower economic class are 'beneath' them, some medical professionals seem to think that their patients can't possibly know anything about their own bodies ... especially when the patient's opinion differs from that of said learned doctors.  The stories Danice tells about some of her own experiences and those of others with the medical establishment are downright horrifying!  I'd really like to ask how people can do that to each other, but the wars of the last century, unfortunately, have given a near-endless list of examples.

Having left more than one doctor's office in tears, I can all to well relate to this aspect of "In the Midst of Winter".  One example was when I was working midnight shift doing clerical work at a city PD in Texas, I began to fear that I might be having a miscarriage.  So I drove my own self to the hospital, and was so grateful for the nurse who on her way in to work, made sure this near-hysterical woman (me) was delivered to the ER.  I was alone because I had been unable to get ahold of my husband.  The doctor, refused to believe that the home pregnancy test I had taken the week before, or the confirmation test at the ob, until a blood test was performed.  I wound up being there for nearly seven hours.  (He was wrong, and the result of that genuine pregnancy turns 16 one month from tomorrow!)

Seeking redress from the medical abuse heaped upon her, especially while in a serious health situation, was just added to by the medical review board ruling in the doctors' favor - TWICE!  Danice is very brave, and absolutely within her rights to take her mistreatment to a wider audience, hence this book.

But it goes so much farther than that.  In the Midst of Winter is an acknowledgment of other ME/CFS sufferers that they are not alone.  Sometimes, when a person has a medical issue that does not have overtly visible symptoms or signs (surgical scars or whatever), even people who know that person well will sometimes believe that the patient is lying.  And thinking no one believes you can be a very lonely place to be.

One thing that was of great help to Danice was her faith in God.  She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and even went on a mission in her younger years.  There are multiple quotes throughout the book from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but in case anyone is worried, this book is not a proselytising tool.  The references are there as examples of ideas that Danice used to survive her struggles

So, whether you suffer from the same or similar physical ailment, know someone who does, or treat someone who does and you need to learn more about ME/CFS, In the Midst of Winter by Danice Hope should be in your home library.

(Disclosure:  I received an e-copy of this book from the author and publishers, via Loving the Book, in exchange for my honest review.)





To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 




~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 Reading Challenges/Readathons:

52 Books in 52 Weeks
PWOW
#Wintersrespite Read-a-thon
You Read How Many Books?
Alphabet Soup-Author Edition

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Mountain Man's Dog by Gary Corbin - #review

The Mountain Man's DogThe Mountain Man's Dog by Gary Corbin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first thing I noticed about the cover of The Mountain Man's Dog by Gary Corbin is that there was a dog. The second thing is that the dog is injured. Oh! So I had to give Lehigh credit for being a 'dog man', extra credit for being a man who stopped to help out an injured dog, and third degree credit because he didn't even like dogs, since being bitten as a child.

His old flame works at the rescue center and they wind up rekindling that old flame Stacy. Problem is, Stacy's father is running for governor He's not above getting a little 'creative' with campaign financing. His campaign treasurer Paul is *ahem* shall we say, skilled, at finding thousands of dollars of campaign contributions, and in keeping the candidate's name away from the more questionable money. All in exchange for a cabinet post, and marrying Stacy.

When Paul finds out that Lehigh has 'taken' Stacy away from him, he threatens to kill our mountain man. And, Lehigh does suffer a most incredible string of 'bad luck'.

Mr. Corbin's book reminds me of a lot of what's wrong with American politics today - bribes, illegalities around campaigns, mudslinging, influence peddling. I could go on, but it's too depressing. I'd rather think that Mountain Man's Dog also reminds me that there are people in the world who will go out of their way to make society better, and that dogs are fantastic companions, and not bad at rescuing either!

View all my reviews

 (Disclaimer:  I 'purchased' this copy for free at Amazon, having received an email from deal-notification service such as BookbubBookRioteBookSodaFreebooksyRobin's Reads, etc.  I was under no obligation to review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 readathons and reading challenges:

#WintersRespite read-a-thon
YouRead How Many Books RC
Literary Escapes RC

Brownie Points for Murder by Nicole Ellis - #review

Brownie Points for Murder (Jill Andrews Cozy Mystery #1)Brownie Points for Murder by Nicole Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose to read Brownie Points at this time for a couple of reasons. The start of 2019 brings about the start of yearly reading challenges, and as you see from my tags, I tend to enter a number of challenges. Also, the last book I read had a series of entirely too creative murders, so I was looking for something a little less intense.

The cozy mystery genre is one of my favorite and 'Brownie Points for Murder' is a great example of a cozy mystery. You've got your small town setting in Washington State. The main character is in love with a lawman, although this time two couple are actually married at the beginning. Jill's tight circle of friends is most in-laws, but they're nice folks

Her very pregnant sister-in-law, Desi, has trouble with her blood pressure (and don't I know THAT feeling.). Desi had suffered a miscarriage some time before, so everyone was naturally very concerned about her condition. The local LEOs come calling at a family supper one night, wanting to question Desi (downtown!) because some of her brownies are suspected of being poisoned and used in the murder of the town Scrooge. That went about as well as can be expected, so Desi went to the hospital and was put on hospital bed rest until delivery.

There were several sub-plots that made the story very interesting. Unusual and unknown family connections weaved in and out with sometimes sec et business deals. Jill goes over several job opportunities and wonders about going back to work.

Jill was (and is) a great cozy heroine. I especially liked that she wasn't a 'Stepford' wife, all perfect and hello 1950's. It's kind of inspiring like those of us who have bad hair days, and whose last night of decent sleep was before our children were born, can have exciting lives too!

View all my reviews

(Disclaimer:  I 'purchased' this copy for free at Amazon, having received an email from deal-notification service such as BookbubBookRioteBookSodaFreebooksyRobin's Reads, etc.  I was under no obligation to review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helps me fulfill the following 2019 reading challenges and read-a-thons:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC
You Read How Many? RC
Literary Escapes RC
GoodReads RC
A to Z RC
Color Coded RC

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow by Sally Huss - #review

The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow! (Happy Children's Series, #2)The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow! by Sally Huss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Patrick loved all colors, especially the color yellow. Even the color green, which was good, because Patrick was a leprechaun. Because, you see, leprechauns always wore green.

Along with the age-appropriate drawings, is an enchanting tale of a little boy who loves, but is not allowed to wear the color yellow. He follows a rainbow to the end, for at the end of every rainbow, is the pot of gold, and gold was...yellow! Patrick didn't stop to think that he might be missed.

Luckily, Patrick's mother is an observant type, and has a hunch that Patrick has followed the rainbow because of his love of yellow. And, indeed, Patrick is found at the end of the rainbow with his new friend, a golden retriever!

I liked several of the themes that ran through this book. Children can learn that being different, or liking different things is ok. Expressing those ideas is also a good thing. Patrick learned to tell someone where he is going next time.

There is a 'lesson' for children in each book, and Ms. Huss has been a prolific writer, to say the least. Now I'm hoping that I get some grandchildren soon so I won't feel funny buying multiple children's books at one time!

View all my reviews

 (Disclaimer:  I 'purchased' this copy for free at Amazon, having received an email from deal-notification service such as BookbubBookRioteBookSodaFreebooksyRobin's Reads, etc.  I was under no obligation to review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helped me to fulfill the following 2019 readathons and/or reading challenges:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC-
GoodReads RC

Friday, January 4, 2019

First Frost by Liz DeJesus - #review

First Frost (Frost, #1)First Frost by Liz DeJesus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bianca Frost is a quiet 17-year old young woman.

Little does she know that soon she will be hip-deep in real magic.

The Frost family (women) have run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts for generations. Bianca thinks it is all related to the stories her mother Rose tells to the local children, which are mostly fairy tales. She thinks the only magic is how her Mom can turn energetic kids into a rapt audience. But it's more than that. Much more.

Towards the beginning of the book, events force Rose to sit Bianca down and have 'the talk'. No, not that one. The one where Bianca learns that the woman outside who threw a brick through their window is a real witch, who is calling Rose out. Lenore (the witch) is the daughter of the witch from the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves fairy tale. And Snow (aka the First Frost) just happens to be Bianca's great-great-grandmother. Upshot of the evening. Lenore wins. She takes Rose to another dimension, telling Bianca if she ever wants to see her mother again, she (B) will find a magickal book and return it to her.

Bianca and Ming (her best friend) find the book and sally forth to the faeries' green to rescue her mother and find her father David, who had disappeared 10 years ago when Lenore made him a bear. They meet several helpers in the green, not the least of which are the latest incarnation of Prince Charming and his friend and adviser, Terrance, who we find out later is the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf.

With all those faerie tales mashing together, you would think it would leave one dazed and confused to keep track of everyone. But Ms. DeJesus does a wonderful job of keeping all the characters distinct, allowing her readers to follow the story with ease.

The beginning of the book seemed to go a little slow for me, but by the time they went to the faeries' green, and one obstacle after another was placed in their way, I was on board with the rest of the group. It was like an interactive Disneyland (without the long lines and waiting)! If you like faerie-tale retellings or 'what happens after HEA', put First Frost on your TBR.

View all my reviews

~~~oOo~~~

 (Disclaimer:  I 'purchased' this copy for free at Amazon, having received an email from deal-notification service such as BookbubBookRioteBookSodaFreebooksyRobin's Reads, etc.  I was under no obligation to review.)

~~~oOo~~~

This book helped me fulfill the following 2019 read-a-thons and reading challenges:

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon
#BeatTheBacklist2019 RC
52 Books in 52 Weeks RC (#15-main character a teen))
GoodReads RC
Alphabet Soup (Author Edition) RC (L)
A to Z RC

Thursday, January 3, 2019

My #BeatTheBacklist2019 Sign-up


The 2019 Beat The Backlist Reading Challenge is hosted by Austine at her blog, Novel Knight.  Click the button above to go the sign-up page for all the details and to join in the fun!  There are a number of mini-challenge permutations, so be sure to check those out!

~~~oOo~~~

It said to post a TBR list for the year, but I'm sure my fingers would fall off before I got all of them typed up and linked, so I'm just going to go with what I have so far for January (making sure the books were published in 2018 or earlier.

  1. Bad Karma by Douglas Clegg (2017)
  2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (2014)
  3. Ruthless by Susan Kiernan-Lewis (Jan 8) DONE
  4. Stilletos and Scoundrels by Laina Turner (2010)
  5. Tajael by Alisa Wood (2017)
  6. Who Murdered Uncle Ebenezer? by Susan Faith Nightingale (2018)
  7. The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (1921)
  8. Art of a Jewish Woman by Henry N. Massie (2013)
  9. Brownie Points for Murder by Nicole Ellis (2018) Jan 7 DONE
  10. Cowboy Heat by Sable Hunter (2010)
  11. Dead is the New Black by Christina DeMaio-Rice (2011)
  12. Legends of the Egyptian Gods by E.A. Wallis Budge (1912)
  13. First Frost by Liz DeJesus (2012) Jan 4 (DONE)
  14. The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow! by Sally Huss (2013) Jan 4 DONE

When I get towards the end of this portion of the list, I will add other reads.  Links currently go to GoodReads.  After reading, I will write a review, post it to my blog and switch the links to the respective reviews.

My Bout of Books 24 Post

Bout of Books

Click the button to go to the sign-up page and join almost 100 readers so far!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I like the way Jessi from Novel Heartbeat has set up her post, so I'm going to do that as well!

GOALS

5 books finished
5 books reviewed

~~~oOo~~~

MY "JANUARY" TBR LIST

Bad Karma by Douglass Clegg
How the Light Gets In by Joanna Petersheim
Ruthless by Susan Kiernan-Lewis
Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner
Tajael by Alice Wood
Who Murdered Uncle Ebeneezer? by Sarah Faith Nightingale
The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
Art of a Jewish Woman by Henry Massie
Brownie Points for Murder by Christina D. Rice
Legends of the Egyptian Gods by E.A. Wallis Budge
First Frost by Liz deJesus

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DAILY RECAPS

MONDAY 7th

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GRAND TOTALS

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*NOTE* I know the formatting is a bit wacky (different colored backgrounds, depending on from where I  copied some information and a format for the daily records.  So, I've got to go through each line that shows up here and remove the coding for the differences...and it's something of a PITA, so I'm going to do it a little at a time, because it makes my eyes hurt. :p