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review 2017-07-16 02:58
Release Day ARC Review: All In (Wild Cards #3) by Ava Drake
All In (Dreamspun Desires Book 38) - Ava Drake

On his way back to NYC to attend the meet-sees hoping for a job or three, Zane Stryker, fashion model, nearly 30, is detained at the airport because his suitcase was flagged for possible contraband. Inside the interrogation room, Zane meets Sebastian Gigoni, formerly British Special Forces, who asks that he opens the suitcase.

Inside are two metal tablets and a suit - none of which belong to Zane. 

From there, the story takes off as Sebastian and Zane try to work together, though their goals may be at odds, in foiling the plan of the international crime syndicate from the previous installment of this loosely connected series, with a little help from one of Zane's friends, Sebastian's brains, Zane's ability to think on his feet, and the super-sekrit British organization for which Sebastian now works. All while falling in love, because this is a romance, after all. 

The reader needs to suspend disbelief for most of the novel - realistic, this is not. However, it's definitely a fun ride, in and out of the bedroom. There's intrigue, mystery, an inside look at a fashion shoot, bad mob-like dudes with guns, good dudes with guns, a couple of major crime bosses, and a super hawt romance as well.

The attraction between Zane and Sebastian burns brightly from the start, and this book is probably one of the raunchier titles in the Dreamspun Desires series. I'm not complaining, hahaha. The sexy times were hawt! 

Seriously, I had a blast reading this, and I think you will too. This can be read as a standalone, no problem, but I think to get the full impact, you'll want to read the first two books as well. The writing is crisp and well-suited to the story, and there wasn't a dull moment to be found within. 

Nicely done! 

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-07-10 01:36
ARC Review: Straight From The Heart by Sam Burns
Straight from the Heart (Wilde Love Book 1) - Sam Burns

Very impressive debut novel! 

We are first introduced to Alex, 23 and a little naive, who has just defied his mother and dropped out of college, after which she has kicked him out to couch-surf with his friends from his band and cut off his cash-flow. Undeterred, Alex takes his box of things and his guitar and his last bit of cash to celebrate his freedom in the local bar. While there, a little drunk, he's almost mugged but saved by a hot hunk named Liam, and Alex has an epiphany while being pressed against Liam - yep, he's gay. 

As his Liam. Alex wastes no time wallowing in angst, embraces what he's feeling, and goes home with Liam. Who's a perfect gentleman and doesn't take advantage of the slightly younger and much drunker man. 

And that's basically the first couple of chapters. From there, the story takes off, and the author does a great job mixing the suspense with the budding romance between Alex and Liam. Except Liam isn't exactly who he says he is, but he's mostly honest with Alex about all the things he can be honest about.

The relationship between Alex and Liam develops quickly, and love is rather insta, but I didn't care, because the two characters just made me want them to succeed. And the drama/intrigue plot is action-packed and had me more often than not on the edge of my seat. 

I suspended disbelief on occasion, but the unrealistic moments didn't bother me all that much. What felt real are the complex characters. Not only in Alex and Liam, but also the supporting cast. Alex's bandmates (one of whom will also get a book, I'm told), the crime-boss Liam works for, and his son were fully fleshed out and not just cardboard characters. The villain was perhaps slightly over the top, but that was to be expected. 

Alex as a baby-gay was well done, and I suppose I chalked it off to his age and lack of romancing girls before that there was little angst for him when his body reacted to Liam's hot bod saving the day. He just accepted it, though I would think he had to have had some inklings before. Jumping feet first into exploring his sexuality, with Liam as a willing subject, burning up the sheets - oh yeah, that was fun to read.

Alex's best friend and bandmate Jake has a confession too, and there's a little bit of drama when they come out to each other, but Jake definitely has Alex's back, and is a bit suspicious of Liam at first. 

I don't want to give away the plot itself, and don't want to spoil the experience for anyone, but I will say this: If you like romance mixed with suspense and action, and you like when two men just completely fall for each other and make it work against the odds, this book is for you.

I cannot wait for Keegan's story - that's coming next. Sign me up!!

** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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text 2017-06-10 03:03
Baking Powder Wars by Linda Civitello
Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking (Heartland Foodways) - Linda Civitello


 I find history truly fascinating, from the changes we can read and see in people, culture, places. One thing that connects us more is none other then food. Food history is just as rich as it showcases the culture impact every day food such as Baking Powder had on us,that today we take for granted.

 Linda Covitello packs in so much history from the 19th century to today in how Baking Power changed the way we cook and in some cases changed the world.
Covitello just doesn't talk about baking power, but takes the reader along as you see how women, homemakers,bakers and later inventors used to cook before baking powder with old recipes, dairy entries and digging deep into our history from America to Britain and all over.

While I truly enjoyed the history, at times I felt that Covitello put a little to much info, making the reading at times a bit slower or something we had to slog through to get at the meat of the matter. This was a double edge sword though. One had to understand this to understand how it effect that. While this balancing act was troublesome, it didn't take away to much from the book overall.

  For those who love history to cooking, this is a fun book to dig into and learn how something as simple as baking powder changed the world around us.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-16 03:08
A Feminist View of Women vs. the Islamic State
A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State - Meredith Tax

This is a good book though it got immensely better in Chapter 7 and stayed that way until the end.


This book is written by self-described feminist, Meredith Tax, whom I have never heard of before picking up this book.  I admit I picked it up because it had a woman on the cover with a Kalashnikov slung over her back and I love reading War books about the the recent Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to understand why, the outcomes, larger geo-political, and societal ramifications and destabilization which the United States has now inflicted on the region and I thought this book would be very different than what it was really about.


This book will give the average person/American a pretty good understanding of what has happened in the region and a history back to 2001 and even before then that the layperson can understand.  This being said there are many things Tax writes in the book that I disagree with and find befuddling which I will address here.


1. Page 26 which says that conservatives are opposed to gay rights [LGBTQ rights], Roe v. Wade, and abortion. I would disagree with this and say that many modern conservatives are not against these things they just don't want the taxpayer to have to pay for abortion and many have no issue with gay or LGBTQ rights and many are cringing at what current President Trump is doing with respect to these things.


2. Page 28 ..."women's unpaid work caring for children and the elderly props up the whole economy."  I'm not sure I follow this logic or argument and while I agree many women in this country do lots of unpaid work in these areas I am not sure the economy would collapse if women no longer did these things and I wonder if this is the argument Tax is making?


3. Page 144 "...there are no attempts to outlaw marriage, which still remains globally the central apparatus to ensure sexual access and unpaid reproductive labor." I interpret this mean that men want to have sex with women to make them have children and that having children will result in free labor.  I really don't believe this to be the case in Western society and I find this statement and logic appalling.  


Other parts in the book where I made notes are not arguments about or against Tax are:


1. Page 126, the requirements to join the PKK sound like that of a cult


2. The CIA armed and helped Turkey to defeat the Kurds and now we are arming the Kurds to defeat Daesh which is what we did in Afghanistan to help them defeat the Soviets and we armed and helped UBL and the mujahadin defeat the Soviet Union and then armed another group of Warlords in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban 12 years later. Why have our Politicians and our CIA not learned that meddling in the affairs of other countries and arming different factions never seems to have a good outcome for The United States?


3. There was a comment and story about the State building up and beautifying the public squares (what we in America would call downtown areas) and pushing the poor people to the outskirts of town.  This is the very model the IOC and Olympic host cities have taken, spend lots of money to build and beautify infrastructure, attract the world or really the wealthy of the world to watch sport, which allows a select few to make money from the tourist dollars and then they pack up and leave, leaving the infrastructure behind to fall into disrepair or hope that the local community can start or continue to fund the upkeep of the infrastructure so that it doesn't fall into disrepair.  


4. The Turkish Government and other State's have set up lobbying organizations to lobby The United States Congress and pay for trips to the region to help Turkey and Syria which is part of the problem with the US Special Interest money system and this money could better help the Kurds.  


A very interesting book that I recommend reading.  


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text 2017-04-10 08:16
Book Blitz and Giveaway for First to Fight Box Set Books 1 – 5 by Nicole Blanchard

First to Fight Box Set

Books 1 – 5 by Nicole Blanchard Publication Date: April 10, 2017 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense, Military, Box Set
Enjoy four full-length novels and a bonus novella at a discount price for a limited time from the thrilling military romance series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Blanchard. Book 1, Anchor Gabriel Rossi has never met her, doesn’t even know her name, but the former Marine turned Coast Guard will do anything to rescue the woman who saved his daughter, even if it means risking his career, his life–and his heart. Book 2, Warrior Benjamin Montgomery returns home from his last tour in Afghanistan a broken man and learns the night he shared with his best friend’s little sister resulted in more than just smokin’ hot memories. Book 3, Survivor Jack Walker doesn’t want anything to do with the woman who broke his heart–or at least that’s what he keeps telling himself as they embark on a poignant journey through the secrets that tore them apart. Book 4, Savior Logan Blackwell has never let a suspect–or a woman–get away and made it his own personal mission to solve the recent attacks plaguing his small town with the help of his intriguing new neighbor. Book 5, Honor (a First to Fight novella) Scott Green doesn’t believe in second chances, until he’s caught off guard by a kiss from a beautiful woman and is determined to win her back.

About Nicole Blanchard

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Blanchard lives in Mississippi with her family and their menagerie of animals. She chooses each day to chase her own fairy tale even if they contain their fair share of dragons. She is married to her best friend and owns her own business. Nicole survives on a diet of too many books and substantial amounts of root beer and slim jims. When not reading, she’s lavishing attention on her family or inhaling every episode of The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory.
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