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review 2017-11-20 19:17
The Substitute Bridegroom - Jeanne Abbott

Cute. Complicated, but cute. I mean; it reads pretty straight forward but the behind the scenes stuff is a complicated mess.

So ok, our h, 2 months out from her 21st birthday whereupon she would take the reins for half her family spice company, is being pressured to marry by her uncle. She doesn't want to marry the lout. Uncle somehow manages to get a box at the theater, and after a time, she develops a headache. Lout offers to take her home and for whatever reason, she doesn't refuse. Lout actually took her somewhere with every intention of forcing himself on her. Stranger rescues her, and returns her to her home, thinking she's an actress. Uncle seizes opportunity and presses the issue with marriage. Her cousin, not the brightest candle in the room, decides to help her by putting an advertisement in one of the papers. She succeeds, arrangements are made, and...

Our H, rake apparently, who seems determined to blow through his finances for some ungodly reason, is being pressured by the family matriarch to marry. Since she is in possession of all the family funds, her threat to write him out of her will if he doesn't isn't one to be ignored. While dealing with this news, he stumbles across a woman being accosted, beats her attacker, and takes her home, under the assumption she's an actress (cough). After a number of refusals from various eligible women or their families, he's bummed. His best buddy stumbles across the advertisement, and arrangements are made...

They don't figure out who each other is until after vows are exchanged. He takes her to the family pile where an old friend of hers works. Shortly after their arrival, several attempts are made against him. He assumes it's the friend as the friend really really likes her...or that was his impression at least. Then again, at times the h is very naive.

Then their carriage is attacked by highwaymen who a) attempt to kill him (unsuccessfully), and kidnap her (successfully). Naturally, it turns out to be her uncle and the erstwhile intended. Of course, through a comedy of errors... the cousin goes to the maid, who hides her in their quarters and gets the coachman to go to the H's townhouse where, possibly due to the maid being drunk, and the cousin being hysterical, he is under the impression the h IS and wishes her to come with him to reassure her cousin. The H goes off to rescue the h, and is successful. The uncle falls down the stairs in the confrontation, it's revealed that the would-be intended was actually the result of the uncle raping some woman, that the uncle had caused the accident that killed the h's parents, and likely had killed someone else involved in a dual by shooting them in the back. Oh, and his wife was more than happy to have his death declared an accident because she hated him.

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review 2017-11-20 19:15
The Substitute Bridegroom
The Substitute Bridegroom - Jeanne Abbott

Cute. Complicated, but cute. I mean; it reads pretty straight forward but the behind the scenes stuff is a complicated mess.

So ok, our h, 2 months out from her 21st birthday whereupon she would take the reins for half her family spice company, is being pressured to marry by her uncle. She doesn't want to marry the lout. Uncle somehow manages to get a box at the theater, and after a time, she develops a headache. Lout offers to take her home and for whatever reason, she doesn't refuse. Lout actually took her somewhere with every intention of forcing himself on her. Stranger rescues her, and returns her to her home, thinking she's an actress. Uncle seizes opportunity and presses the issue with marriage. Her cousin, not the brightest candle in the room, decides to help her by putting an advertisement in one of the papers. She succeeds, arrangements are made, and...

Our H, rake apparently, who seems determined to blow through his finances for some ungodly reason, is being pressured by the family matriarch to marry. Since she is in possession of all the family funds, her threat to write him out of her will if he doesn't isn't one to be ignored. While dealing with this news, he stumbles across a woman being accosted, beats her attacker, and takes her home, under the assumption she's an actress (cough). After a number of refusals from various eligible women or their families, he's bummed. His best buddy stumbles across the advertisement, and arrangements are made...

They don't figure out who each other is until after vows are exchanged. He takes her to the family pile where an old friend of hers works. Shortly after their arrival, several attempts are made against him. He assumes it's the friend as the friend really really likes her...or that was his impression at least. Then again, at times the h is very naive.

Then their carriage is attacked by highwaymen who a) attempt to kill him (unsuccessfully), and kidnap her (successfully). Naturally, it turns out to be her uncle and the erstwhile intended. Of course, through a comedy of errors... the cousin goes to the maid, who hides her in their quarters and gets the coachman to go to the H's townhouse where, possibly due to the maid being drunk, and the cousin being hysterical, he is under the impression the h IS and wishes her to come with him to reassure her cousin. The H goes off to rescue the h, and is successful. The uncle falls down the stairs in the confrontation, it's revealed that the would-be intended was actually the result of the uncle raping some woman, that the uncle had caused the accident that killed the h's parents, and likely had killed someone else involved in a dual by shooting them in the back. Oh, and his wife was more than happy to have his death declared an accident because she hated him.

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review 2017-10-18 21:01
The Blood of Patriots: How I Took Down an Anti-Government Militia with Beer, Bounty Hunting, and Badassery - Bill Fulton,Jeanne Devon

Fulton has delivered an outstanding book on his experiences in helping to shut down a group planning to start a war against the government. Working undercover, Fulton may have saved several lives. Google "Shaeffer Cox" and you will find lots of information. But....read the book and you will be enthralled with the behind the scenes action. I won't go into the entire story, it would ruin the book. Instead, I offer a very brief synopsis, and then some parts of the book that really impressed me. An Army veteran, Fulton left the military after being injured. He opened an army surplus store in Alaska. He employed a lot of other down-on-their-luck veterans. He discovered that he was good at helping people. Fulton was approached by a very far-right group to supply weapons to kill Federal Judges and law enforcement. To reveal anymore would spoil the book. Fulton reveals several great insights throughout the book. I applaud his reasoning, here discussing one of his employees, "being depended on again made him dependable. And it didn't happen from a therapy session or a new med-it was being part of something again, being of use. And being around a group of guys who didn't judge. Guys sitting around a fire has been some pretty legit therapy since there were guys and since there were fires". Brilliant! On the reasoning of the far-right..."We were on a steady march to a police state, and it was only a matter of time before they came for everyone's guns...I'd heard this a million times. Fear is a motivator, and people...use the fear of gun confiscation, the fear of government threat, to increase membership in militia groups". Man, does this speak to a large group of people I know! "And it reminded me that in a war, both sides believe equally that they are right". "Some dentally challenged lunatic who was mad he had to live by rules and pay some taxes and not get to do whatever the (...) he wanted. Some (....) "patriot"". "I could tell there would be no turning her. She was one of those "I've made up my mind, so don't confuse me with the facts" people. There were too goddamn many of those people." Don't we all know those people, on both sides of the aisle! And finally....."the political right wing has built a mythology: in order to be a patriot and a good American, you must embrace the military-industrial complex that has become our government and the (......) of foreign policy it has created....if you don't support everything we do militarily, then you aren't a true patriot.....patriotism is more than a bumper sticker on your car, or drinking a Budweiser and waving a flag....true patriotism means serving-actually doing something for you country and the people in it because it's the right thing to do." I will probably be flamed by trolls for this review. Before you do, do not write Fulton off as a left-wing ideologue. He is probably more conservative, and has done more to serve his country, than 90 percent of the rest. And before you claim that I am a liberal, know that I served my country honorably for 28 years, and my conservatism is rock solid. "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it"...Norman Schwarzkopf.

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text 2017-09-10 08:10
Release Day Blitz - Down & Dirty: Zak

 

 

 

Down & Dirty: Zak (Dirty Angels MC, Book 1)

By Jeanne St. James

 

Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance

 

On sale for $2.99 for a limited time or FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

 

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2uIGwVy

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2fTe7IZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35845896-down-dirty

 

 

Blurb:

 

Welcome to Shadow Valley where the Dirty Angels MC rule. Get ready to get Down & Dirty because this is Zak’s story…

 

After spending the last ten years in prison, Zak, former DAMC president, has a few priorities: to reconnect with his “brothers,” to get drunk, and to get laid. Not necessarily in that order. When he spots a stunning woman in the clubhouse and mistakes her for one of the club’s strippers, those priorities get a bit skewed.

Sophie has no idea what happened to her life. One minute she’s totally focused on building her bakery business, and the next? She’s delivering a cake to the Dirty Angels motorcycle club’s “homecoming” celebration for a member who just got out of prison. Little does she know baking that cake will change the rest of her life, not to mention, make her a target for a rival MC. Normally, Sophie wouldn’t be caught dead with a man like Zak, a tattooed, ex-con, badass biker.

When a decades old territory war threatens to rip them apart, Zak will do anything to keep Sophie, his club, and the town safe. But being from two different worlds, the threat they’re under may not be worth the risk.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

Sophie had no idea what happened to her life. One minute she’s totally focused on building her bakery business, and the next?

 

She closed her eyes and groaned. Somehow the next, she’s being pulled through a crowd of rowdy bikers and their “bitches” in the cold night air, heading toward a roaring bonfire that appeared to be made up of a mountain of wood pallets. The flames licked halfway to heaven.

 

As Zak strode forward, Sophie leaned back trying to slow him down a bit. She was wearing her very favorite suede knee-high boots. The brown ones that had a really nice heel on them that made her legs look longer. And slimmer. Because that was important, too. However, the heel didn’t make it easy to walk in the dark over stones, dead grass and rough patches of dirt.

 

She had a feeling she would end up on her ass. She should have worn sneakers instead.

 

Especially since she wasn’t trying to impress anyone here.

 

She didn’t even want to be here in the first place.

 

How the hell did she even end up here tonight?

 

The man currently hauling her around left pissed off last night and she had no clue why he even insisted on pursuing her... pursuing this. Whatever the hell this was.

 

The worst part was she had shut down the bakery early, locked the door, turned off all the lights, and went upstairs to hide just in case he did show up at eight. Like he had threatened.

 

And when eight-oh-five came around and he hadn’t shown up, she had breathed a sigh of relief. But then, she should have realized that bikers probably weren’t prompt or watched the time. Life apparently revolved around them, not the clock.

 

Nope, fuck everyone else.

 

So, she left the lights off in her apartment, too, and wearing a pair of yoga pants and an old, soft sweatshirt, she sank onto her couch to catch up on some TV.

 

Well, that was until there was a man in black standing before her, hands on his hips.

 

And if that didn’t make her scream and her heart beat a million miles a minute, nothing would.

 

She had no idea how he got in or why she didn’t hear him. Maybe he was right about the shop needing better security.

 

She needed it just to keep him out.

 

But as he stood over her, her stomach dropped—once it stopped spinning. Holy Hannah, even in the glow of the TV he looked good with his badass clothes, his badass tats, and his badass bod.

 

He jerked his stubbled chin in her direction. “That what you’re wearing?”

 

“How did you get in here?”

 

“Told you I’d be here at eight.”

 

She raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “I locked the door.”

 

“I know. Diesel will be makin’ your place more secure.”

 

He knew someone named after fuel. Okay, then.

 

“Question was: That what you’re wearin’?”

 

She looked down at her clothes, then back up at him. He was judging her clothing choices? “Uh, no. I’m not going.”

 

He blinked slowly as if trying to keep his patience. “Babe.”

 

Maybe he should be more worried about her patience. “My name is Sophie.”

 

“Know what your name is.”

 

“Babe is a pig in a movie.”

 

She swore she heard him snort. Though, it sounded much sexier than a pig.

 

“Got wraps. We can stay here and fuck, or we can go to church.”

 

Sophie heard the silent, “And then fuck,” he was tacking onto the end of that in his mind.

 

Wasn’t much of a choice. “How about neither. I hate church.”

 

This time he definitely snorted. He leaned over and switched on the lamp next to the couch. Sophie squinted as her eyes adjusted to the light.

 

Hot damn, he looked even better in the light.

 

Fuck her life.

 

His beard was freshly trimmed tight to his jaw, his hair actually looked like he ran a comb through it even though it had a shaggy, sexy tousled look to it. His eyes were lit up with amusement.

 

Then there was the rest of him. He had a well-fitting pair of Levi’s encasing his long legs which ended at his black biker boots, of course. And on her way back up, she noticed the same belt as yesterday, and couldn’t forget that grimy black leather vest. Under it was a black thermal Henley that snugged his torso. And his muscular arms. And that muscular chest of his. She finally let her eyes rise to his and he wore a wide smile.

 

Cocky.

 

“Babe. Yeah, thinking stayin’ here and fuckin’ may be the choice you’ll be makin’. I brought a few.”

 

Sophie shook herself out of her daze. “A few what?”

 

“Wraps. Nothin’s gonna hold us back tonight.”

 

Well, that was a relief.

 

Not.

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

JEANNE ST. JAMES is a bestselling erotic romance author who loves an Alpha male (or two). She was only thirteen when she started writing since it gave her an escape from teenage angst! Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine.

Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages. Want to read a sample of her work? Download a sampler book here: BookHip.com/MTQQKK

 

To keep up with her busy release schedule check her website at www.jeannestjames.com or sign up for her newsletter: http://www.jeannestjames.com/newslettersignup

 

Author Links:

 

Website: http://www.jeannestjames.com

Blog: http://jeannestjames.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeanneStJamesAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeannestjames/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanneStJames

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/JeanneStJames

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JeanneStJames

Newsletter: http://www.jeannestjames.com/newslettersignup

Review & Book Crew: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JeannesReviewCrew/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-07-06 02:14
Concussion (nonfiction) by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Concussion - Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?,Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore. Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multibillion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Awhile back I picked up the book League of Denial, a nonfiction book by ESPN sportswriters (and brothers) Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. When I later went to watch the film Concussion starring Will Smith, it felt like almost a play by play of that book so I was guessing it was used as a reference. Admittedly, I wasn't watching the opening credits that closely where I would have likely seen that the movie was actually inspired by this book by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Well, technically this piece started as a 2009 article Laskas wrote for GQ magazine entitled "Game Brain", which she then expanded into this book. But once I did discover the Laskas credit, I figured why not go ahead and check out her book too. So here we are post-read. My thoughts? Hmm, a mixed bag, I think.

 

If you enjoyed the film but haven't picked up League of Denial, this will definitely give you an interesting background look at the key players in the history of the discovery of CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy). And it's a short read to boot, so there's that. But having now covered both books, my personal recommendation -- if your primary interest is on the topic of CTE itself -- would be to put your focus on the League of Denial book. Laskas even gives LOD a shout-out in her acknowledgements.

 

Laskas' book Concussion, while it can't help but hit upon some of the same material covered in League of Denial, felt more like a general biography of Dr. Bennett Omalu. Omalu's work with his mentor, Cyril Wecht, the discovery of CTE, all that ... Laskas doesn't really start to delve into that until about 90 pages in. So I found the title of Laskas' book to be a little misleading. You'll still learn the basic bulletpoint facts of CTE from her book, but you'll come away much more knowledgeable going with the Fainaru Bros. book. It feels a little odd saying that, as Laskas acknowledges spending quite a bit of time with Omalu himself, even having him write portions of this book himself, but that's my take-away.

 

That being said, I did enjoy the reading for the chance to get a little better background & insight into the man himself. Dr. Omalu is certified in four different areas of pathology: anatomic, clinical, forensic and neuropathology. He also holds SEVEN separate degrees including two doctorates, a masters in business administration and a masters in public health! It was interesting to learn the fitting history & meaning behind Omalu's name. Omalu is the shortened version of his original Igbo name Onyemalukwube, translating to "If you know, come forth and speak." His first name, Bennett, has a meaning of "blessed". Even his middle name, Ifeakandu (the name of the doctor who delivered him in Nnokwa, Africa in 1968 during the Igbo genocide), translates to "life is the greatest gift of all". Clearly, his parents envisioned glorious things for him, and it turns out they weren't wrong! 

 

Omalu started schooling at the age of three rather than the traditional starting age of five, mainly because he didn't want to be separated from his close-in-age older brother, Chizoba. But it didn't take long for teachers to see Omalu was quite gifted in intelligence. At age 12 he was awarded a scholarship to attend a school for gifted children, but since Chizoba didn't qualify, a separation of the boys was inevitable. Omalu did so well that he was able to START MEDICAL SCHOOL AT 16!! Omalu got into Enugu University in Nigeria, the same medical school where his older sister, Uche, got her medical degree. Seriously one impressive family in the brains department! (Sidenote: it's also where author Chinua Achebe was a professor).

 

Though things were going well for him academically, Omalu still felt the pressures of continuing conflict between Muslims and Christians in the area. After an episode involving a mental breakdown, it was thought maybe moving to the United States might help Omalu get a grasp on his mental health. His family pooled money together to get him on a flight to the East Coast of the US, but not before a somewhat laughable experience his brother set up: Omalu's brother arranged for a local prostitute to come by and de-flower him before he left Africa, but Omalu says the prostitute's "soulless eyes" spooked him so bad he chickened out. A neighborhood girl ends up getting the job done LOL

 

Once in the States, Omalu's struggles with depression continue. He also finds himself surprised by being faced with racism in the US, a land he had always pictured as a sort of paradise priding itself on equal opportunities for everyone. But he does find that professionally, putting his emphasis on labwork rather than patient interaction does give him some level of comfort in the matter. Omalu develops a fascination with the field of forensics because of death being "the great equalizer" (meaning that it sort of levels the playing field in that "all this, you can't take it with you" kind of way). He goes on to obtain a position as a coroner under the mentorship of Dr. Cyril Wecht (wonderfully played by Albert Brooks in the film).

 

Wecht's own career gained notoriety after he discovered JFK's brain went missing post-assassination autopsy. Wecht was asked to join a forensic panel to re-investigate the shooting of President Kennedy, and he was one of the first to come out and suggest the possibility of more than one gunman. Wecht went on to cover more high-profile cases: claiming that the death of Elvis Presley was likely a drug overdose, not a heart attack; Marilyn Monroe was possibly murdered; OJ Simpson did it but had help; JonBenet (in his opinion) was killed by her father during an act of molestation; he even weighed in on the cases of the Branch Davidians, Laci Peterson, Anna Nicole Smith, and the multiple murders instigated by Charles Manson. 

 

Omalu credits Wecht for giving him the freedom to research hunches regarding the possible existence of CTE in the cases of the football player autopsies. Wecht pushed Omalu to drop the meekness and become fearless, even ruthless if need be, about fighting cover ups by powerful corporations. At the age of 76 (the age where the film introduces him), Dr. Wecht was put on trial for mail and wire fraud, being accused of illegal use of government resources for his personal benefit. Wecht claimed it was just a ploy by people in power to get the attention off the discovery of CTE and the damage it could do to the all-powerful NFL (* Might sound crazy reading that, I know, but once you take in the books & film, his stance DOES make more sense... as Brooks' character says in the film, "Sunday used to belong to God, now it belongs to the NFL", in reference to the insane mountain of millions upon millions of dollars the NFL generates in revenue each year). Omalu, who loved Wecht like a father, was persistently pushed to testify against him. 

 

Because of Wecht's support of Omalu's desire to seek the truth, Omalu was able to pinpoint the specifics of CTE. Though Omalu left the brain of Mike Webster, his first professional football case, in storage for a month before studying it, once he dove in the findings were extraordinary. Dr. Omalu came to find that tau, a kind of lubricant, fluidy material in the brain, actually exists in ALL brains in small amounts. It's when TOO much builds up that you get problems. Persistent head traumas seem to up the production of tau, causing bundles of neurofibrillary tangles which then start to strangle out and kill off healthy brain cells. As more brains of football players found their way under Omalu's microscope, he furthered his investigation by interviewing survivors of the deceased players, building up case histories documenting evidence of speech and behavioral changes (for the worse) in the years prior to death, cognitive delays, financial struggles, scenes of domestic violence, marriage bust-ups, all the pitfalls of life you can imagine. He even went back and laid out the history of dementia pugilistica or "punch drunk syndrome", historically found in professional boxers... the symptoms? Nearly identical to those that Omalu's football playing cases complained of prior to their deaths. 

 

So all in all, a solid study into the life of Dr. Omalu himself, but when it comes to more specifically addressing the topic of CTE, this book comes off feeling like more of an overview. The writing style is entertaining to be sure, having much the feel of a sports documentary narration, but more "highlights reel" than anything.

_________________

 

EXTRAS:

 

>> The genocide of the Igbo people in the 1960s was later given the name Nigerian Civil War / Biafran War (1966-1970) after the tragic killings started receiving worldwide media coverage. Tens of thousands of Christian Igbo citizens of Nigeria, Africa were slaughtered by the Muslim Nigerian Army. Omalu's family was forced to flee their homeland just to survive. 

 

>> The book includes a several pages long glossy insert of photos covering Omalu's life. One photo shows the real Julian Bailes, played by Alec Baldwin in the film Concussion

 

>> Speaking of the film, the relationship between Omalu and his wife was MUCH more romanticized in the film (no surprise). No saying the marriage isn't good between them, just saying when you read the book, you find how the relationship unfolded wasn't quite how the movie laid it out. Also came to find out that the relationship between Wecht and Omalu was given a bit of a glossy finish as well... they actually didn't speak for seven years following the trial. 

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