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review 2018-03-21 18:54
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt,Jennifer Woodward,Erin Hunter,Garrick Hagon

This is a fictionalized retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders and though it gets many “meh”reviews, I surprisingly enjoyed it very much. These people are awful! They are selfish, resentful, devious and maddening in their “woe is me” entitled thoughts but I LOVED reading about their misery. And, boy, did they all live in a cesspool of misery, resentment and hate.


I do think you have to be in a certain grumpy headspace to appreciate this one and I was there. We’ve had a never-ending winter and I hurt my back so bad I had to quit a much loved workout routine probably forever. Reading this when I did was perfect timing. We were all miserable together for a short time. So moral of this sad story? Don’t read this if you’re happy or want to be happy.


The story is told from three different points of view. Lizzie, Bridget the maid and a shady male character whose name I can’t recall right now. I listened to the audio which is narrated by three different people. The women do a fine job as does the male narrator EXCEPT when he attempts to do a female voice in a painful fake falsetto. Fortunately he’s mostly narrating the man part so the cringe level is tolerable.


Many people have an issue with the grit and grue factor in this book and I can understand that. This book is an experience. You can feel the cloying sickness permeating these people and for me that’s the mark of good writing but it’s almost enough to make one queasy and I have a strong stomach. There is an exceptional amount of blood everywhere but almost worse is the vomit and rumbling stomachs. These gross people have been eating rotten mutton broth for what seems like weeks on end! The maid suspects it’s bad but keeps adding more salt to disguise the reek of rotten meat. I’m guessing this was because poppa Borden was too much of a cheapskate to let food go to waste.  But I wasn’t there so who knows.


Many people also have issues with the way the story was told and I get that too. It jumps around in time and can be quite confusing and the people telling the story seem quite confused themselves at times. The end of the book leaves a lot of questions unanswered but still I love reading about these people. I cannot explain exactly why. Their relationships are poisonous and mean but if you’re up for that maybe you’ll love it too!

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review 2018-03-20 16:33
Review of "Skyborn" (Dragons & Druids, #1) by Leia Stone
Skyborn - Leia Stone

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


Uneven read for me. I may or may not read another in the series. I think this is one where there's an interesting premise and story arc that was possibly more interesting in concept than execution -- tried a little hard to engage reader interest in places and was sometimes jarring in the romantic elements. For a random Kindle Unlimited borrow, it's very good (clearly was ready to publish, edited, etc.).


The premise is a young woman alone and on the run after accidentally transforming into a dragon. Sounded right up my alley (although she is not alone for very long with cleaner elements of joining what in other genres might be a milita or biker gang except no assault weapons or bikes and had werewolves and other shifters). 


Generally, I liked he main character. She had a TSTL moment from panic but otherwise thought through things (other than the unrelenting lust). Alone in the world, on the run from Hunter's after unexpectedly shifting into supernatural creature (dragon), with single parent mom dying of cancer when a preteen so unable to explain. Of course, the author also put in a lot of elements to ensure readers were sure to almost immediately like the good guys and hate the bad guys. Missed with me on one trope -- bully gets befriended so now all forgiven. A bit much that for centuries the hero had single handed ly been keeping humanity alive and safe from bad guys. Author's voice sounded young but author's note talked of husband and kids so maybe not.


By jarring in the romantic elements -- well, nothing horrible like lack of consent or abusive behavior with fated mate stuff. Actually, no sex on or off page in this one and not really explicit (PG13?). I actually liked these two together; no one stupid or being an inconsiderate douchebag. No, we-can/no-we-can't illogically back and forth. No sudden resolution because someone finally said something after endless chapters of silence. But, sheesh, the unrelenting lust on nearly every page. Okay, we get it. Lust and fated mate and presumably last two of their kind in the world. Leave some room for rest of story or go for it or even rewrite as erotica. Almost made me DNF except was a quick short read for the Bookshelf BINGO Immortals shelf (which was full of mostly things I already read or didn't want to).


Examples of the lust stuff that was a miss with me:

"I needed a hysterectomy or something.My dragon lady parts were malfunctioning and I was stuck in heat."


"Having a half-naked sexy dragon shifter with his arm around me … while he made plans to save his pet kitten … made my ovaries ache for his babies."

Okay, so not real fond of any of the places that actually said "lady parts" but that's a personal pet peeve.


I wanted to like this much more. I do like the main characters. It has elements that could lead to a great series. That's why I'm just not sure how I felt about it or if I liked enough to try the next in series. Despite being on the run, hunted by bad guys, and throwing in with strangers, it kind of lacked suspense -- I think because the bad guys lost too easily and someone with right powers or knowledge showed up or was conveniently ran into.

*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on The Reading Room, Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  


Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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text 2018-03-20 08:44
Dominion by Julie Hall Blitz & Giveaway

Julie Hall
(Life After, #3)
Publication date: March 19th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

After defeating the red dragon’s legion of bloodthirsty demons, Audrey can finally settle into the afterlife with the knowledge her family is safe. But her quest for a perfect existence shatters the moment Logan is kidnapped in an attempt to bend her to Satan’s will.
Audrey must now travel to the one place no hunter has ever ventured to save the man she loves . . . Hell.
Savage demons, desiccated corpses, life sucking zombie trees, and a land of death and rot await Audrey and her friends as they battle through the fiery realm.
But Logan’s freedom comes with a price . . . the destruction of Audrey’s happily ever after.
As Satan schemes for dominion over all the realms, Audrey learns that some acts may be beyond redemption.
We sat on his bed, tucked up against the headboard, Logan sitting with one knee bent and an outstretched leg, and me curled into a ball against his chest, practically cuddled on his lap.
When my tears were spent, I let out a shaky breath of air.
“Audrey, I can’t—” Logan’s voice caught on something. His head rested on top of mine. When he continued, his voice dropped an octave, thickened with emotion. “I can’t imagine what you went through down there. I’m so very sorry. I should never have bonded with you.”
I savored the warm thud of his heartbeat on my cheek for several seconds before what he’d said sunk in. The leakage from my eyes along with a bad case of the feels must have dulled my reactions.
I jerked to a sitting position to stare at him in disbelief—and anger. My face was crusted with the salt of dried tears. There was no doubt I was a hot mess and a half. But that was nothing compared to the mess he’d just spewed.
He reached for me again, but I put a hand up to ward off his movements and curled my upper lip.
Where to even start?
“What I went through? Are you insane?” His gaze jumped around my face as if he couldn’t decide on a safe place to land. “Logan, I actually felt an echo of what you went through. I even experienced some of it in a dream or a weird out of body experience where I was you. What I went through was nothing.”
He opened his mouth to speak, but I slashed a hand through the air to stop him. “Nothing compared to what had been done to you. You were torn to shreds. Literally, in some spots.”
His face paled. I shouldn’t have gone there and instantly regretted bringing it up—but I couldn’t handle his concern for me when he had been tortured. We’d get to the “should never have bonded with you” comment next.
“You experienced some of . . . of what I went through?” he asked.
Shoot, I gave him another reason to beat himself up. Rookie mistake. “Never mind about that. And what’s this business about regretting bonding with me? Frankly, that’s kind of—hey!”
He grabbed my upper arms and held me still as I tried to push away even farther. His blue eyes flashed, and his face was hard as stone. “If bonding with you caused you to feel even a second of what I endured in that place, then yes, it’s something I deeply regret and would do anything to take back.”
Buried under the caveman response was something sweet, but I wasn’t feeling it.
“Argh. You . . .” I pointed a finger at his face. “You just . . .”
As I sputtered to find the right words, the corners of Logan’s lips just barely tipped up. I stopped talking when I spotted his involuntary reaction. Of course I’d find a guy who thought it was cute when I got mad. Actually, that was probably pretty lucky considering I did tend to have a short fuse.
I pressed my lips together and narrowed my eyelids before performing another visual sweep of his body.
Yep, he looked to be relatively healthy.
I launched myself at him and grabbed the sides of his face, and then I planted my lips right over his. Just like the first time I’d surprised him with a kiss, he was momentarily stunned.
I gently but firmly bit down on his full bottom lip in a silent demand for him to get with the program. Then I pulled back a fraction, just far enough that my lips grazed his when I spoke. “Less talking, more kissing.”
I’d gone to Hell and back for this guy. I wanted to collect my reward . . . with interest.

Author Bio:
Julie Hall is a USA Today bestselling YA fantasy author and 1st place winner of the 2012 Women of Faith national writing contest. She was also was awarded "Best Debut Author" at the 2017 Ozarks Indie Book Festival.
Before writing her first novel Julie worked as a film publicist and rubbed elbows with the rich and famous . . . as in she would gently nudge them to let them know their meal had arrived during press interviews.
She now spends most of her "office hours" with her two furry writing buddies. Her daughter thinks that mommy's superpower is “sleeping all day,” but that’s because she’s often awake until the wee hours of the morning weaving tales of adventure in worlds of her own creation. When asked in an interview what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’s quoted to have answered, “to never have to grow up.”
She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her four favorite people--her husband, daughter, and two doodles (because dogs are people too).
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text 2018-03-19 08:16
Cover Reveal for Something So Unscripted by Natasha Madison
Title: Something So Unscripted
Author: Natasha Madison
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2018 Cover Design: Melissa Gill at MGBookCovers
Finding my teammate in bed with my wife made the decision I had been fighting with for years easier.
It’s time to move on. 
A fresh start and a new NHL team in a big city. Most importantly, it’s my son Jack’s best shot. 
It would be both of our best shots. 
After a bad childhood, I made sure I would succeed, so I lived for my job. 
The problem is I die a little with each patient I lose. It’s part of my career at Hudson Children’s Oncology Hospital, but it doesn’t make the sting of loss any easier. 
Seeking anything other than a life saved isn’t on my agenda until a NHL player walks into my hospital with his son. 
We’re officially off script the moment we meet. 
If this love is anything, it’s unscripted.


When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...
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text 2018-03-19 07:13
Callan by Sybil Bartel Blitz & Giveaway

Sybil Bartel
(Uncompromising #5)
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

I was trained to be a hunter. Growing up in the nation’s most infamous, violent cult, my job was simple. Track. Kill. Survive.
And that’s what I did… until our leader threatened to kill his own daughter.
Refusing to watch another senseless murder, I did what I was trained to do. I took his life, claimed his land, and set every member free, including her. I only had one goal left. Find the sister I was told was dead.
But being a hunter in the woods is a far cry from tracking a woman in Miami Beach.
I didn’t find my sister.
I found someone else.

Author Bio:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.
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