And So We Begin – My 2016 Year of Getting Healthier

January 3, 2016 2016 Challenge 4

Okay I don’t want to type this but dammit here it goes..

I am 5’2″ and unfortunately…

I weigh 245.8 lbs which is absolutely not healthy.

I am not proud of my weight or how bad I have let myself go but I am happy with my decision to make this journey public as it will provide my motivation.

I am also going to take advantage of a deal at Anytime Fitness is doing where tomorrow I will get weighed and measured towards a 90 day weight loss challenge.  It is free for members so if you belong then I would see if your location is participating.  It requires a food/exercise logs be turned in, goal sheets and weekly weigh-ins.  I will definitely share the information I am working with so maybe people can use the ideas I am getting from my gym.

I have also tried to provide myself healthier snacks by buying fruit and protein bars that will be at my desk for snacking while I work.  We shall see how this goes..

 

Good luck to anyone else trying to make changes this year!

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Welcome 2016! A Year of Needed Changes & Progress!

January 1, 2016 Musings 2

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

So … in my post yesterday I sounded a bit down but I believe that I needed to hit this wall in order to move forward.  This year is going to be one where I complete somethings and start on others.  Here are some plans I have and that I will be sharing on the site with all of you.

  • I will complete my Associate’s Degree this spring and graduate with honors.
  • I will start an Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree program at Bellevue University in either the summer or fall.  I want to take time off between programs but at the same time it might be best to just jump in.
  • I will make time to read for fun each week even if it is just a novella.
  • I will post at least 1 review a week here on the site.
  • I will post my weight-loss journey including weigh-ins every Saturday which will be posted as part of a wrap-up post each Sunday.
  • I will start to manage my health issues which means taking my medications as directed even as much as I hate them.
  • I will ask for help when I need it even as I hate admitting that I have issues.
  • I will not take a backseat in my own life and will demand that I get treated as I deserve to be treated.

These are things I have needed to do for a while now but I haven’t been aware enough of to make it a priority.  Those of you who know me know I suck at taking care of myself but this has to change.  2016 is going to be a year of major changes that I hope will set me up for a happier, healthier life where not only I grow but the blog benefits from a healthier, happier Stephanie.

Here’s what I promise for those of you who have stuck with me thru the challenges of working full-time, going to school full-time and working thru a lot of personal issues. I appreciate it but here we go…

  • I will not pull punches on what I am feeling and struggling with as I work to get healthy.
  • I will attempt to give you multiple book reviews during the week including mini-reviews for older titles that I have read but never reviewed on the site.
  • I will post recipes and exercise ideas that I am given as I struggle to control my diabetes and lose weight.
  • I will seek to provide an outlet for others who are also trying to balance work, life and everything.
  • I will post a monthly summary of the books that I have read with my favorites marked.
  • I will have more guest posts and other content that I hope you will enjoy.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time if you’d like to share something either via comments on posts or via email.  I want you to feel free to share anything you wish with me as we all hopefully have a wonderful 2016.

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Are You Ready To Say Goodbye To 2015???

December 31, 2015 Musings 1

So…  I’ve been quiet for a lot of the past few months and it is time to change this in 2016.  This past year has been one full of a lot of challenges in my personal and professional lives but I am stronger because of it.  I am working on getting healthy from both a mental and physical perspective which means a lot of changes over this next year but I look forward to them.

What I’ve realized in 2015:

  • I let myself be lost in a relationship that wasn’t healthy for over 10 years.  I gave up my sense of self to a man who didn’t love me and proved that by not only making me feel like I didn’t matter but by cheating on me.  I tolerated being forgiving when he got gifts and made plans for/with friends but couldn’t do so for me.  I lived with the fact that I wasn’t important enough to plan trips with or even be willing to save up to buy a new bed or furniture that was for us.
  • I am not healthy from both a mental and physical perspective.
  • I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
  • I am more capable of change than I thought.
  • I am way too willing to be the doormat and not ask for what I want or need in all aspects of my life.
  • I am tired of being solitary in all aspects of my life.  This doesn’t mean I want to be a social butterfly but that I need to reconnect with the world in general.
  • Lack of reading time makes me a very sad, easy to anger person.
  • I cannot do it all for everyone and not care about the cost to my personal life or feelings.

What does this mean?  It means I have finally reached a point where things cannot stay the same in any aspect of my life.  I need to push myself to open up, get healthy and strive to be whatever it is I am meant to be.  I need to do a lot of work to accomplish this and I am starting with changes to my inner self which includes taking care of my health from a mental and physical perspective.  Be ready to see a mix of posts about books, my weight-loss journey and other items that keep me grounded plus motivated to change.  I adore reading but perhaps I need to open 2016 with a slightly broader outlook and share my journey with others.  I refuse to let my life keep going as it has been which means CHANGE.

I may get embarrassed from time to time as I share my weight-loss struggles and other items but dammit change is good for you!  I may not see a lot of my favorite people at conventions this coming year but I will chat with everyone on Twitter.

I’m looking forward to what 2016 brings us all!

 

 

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The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 stars

November 2, 2015 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 starsThe Queen by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on 2015-11-01
Genres: BDSM, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 

The time has finally come to keep their promises. 

Out of money and out of options after her yearlong exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground.

While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar?

With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.

Ok I am going to do a rare thing and use gifs to help a bit with summing up my thoughts going in to this book…

This was me as I processed the end of the Original Sinners series…

Which was closely followed by:

You see like many others I DID NOT want to let these characters go but Tiffany gives us a great story that ends in a way that made me very happy even as I was sobbing because it was over.

I can’t say much without possibly spoiling some of it but we get:

  • Confessional Sex – not a spoiler because Tiffany promised us this and YEP she delivered.
  • Kingsley being his usual self with all the personality in the world and such a deep love for our beloved priest even when he was at odds with him.
  • A sense of the gamesmanship between the trio and how that impacts those around them.
  • A better idea of the dynamics between Nora and Søren as they struggled to understand what they were to one another.
  • Did I mention confessional sex???  Cause…  if not…  CONFESSIONAL SEX….  yes I went there… *fans self*
  • An amazing scene that made me all sentimental and was such a great way to address certain items.  (Can I be any more vague? *cue evil laugh*)

All in all this was a story of a woman finally coming in to her own, a man who is driven to do things because of his need to punish that which he loves the most, a man who loves but won’t open his eyes and mind to what his love really needs or who they are, and a glimpse at the incredible people they have become after so many years near and with one another.

I hate that we are done with the series but Tiffany hasn’t completely closed the door to additional stories with these characters but instead has closed the door, for now, to longer glimpses at their lives.  We may still see them popping up in other places but for now I must accept that Søren is taking a small break from us to continue being with those he loves the most and  I can always go back and read those stories again.

I must say thank you so much to Tiffany and all the people who worked so hard on this series.  You’ve made me more comfortable with experimenting with things that seem outside my comfort zone which means I have expanded my horizons in reading and life.  I cannot thank you enough for opening these doors for me.

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Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

September 1, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 starsBegging for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on 2015-09-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...

It’s over…  *sigh* … It’s really over… unless we can talk her in to letting us see them again Jonah and Vivienne’s story is over..  *SOBS*

As I work to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t another story of theirs coming out I have to share what I thought of this one.  We get more of the people surrounding our pair in this story but we also finally get to see Jonah completely…  YAY!!!

Vivienne still has a messed up family who choose to believe that she went after her rapist and that she wasn’t raped.  I mean who cares as long as the facade is kept.  I mean who cares that you chose to ignore her when she did try to say something and when he basically admitted it when Jonah stood up for her.  She’s not being honest right???  Right???  I mean I wish we didn’t have to deal with them at all in this book but it did help finally let her see that nothing was going to change and as much as she adores her niece there comes a time when she has to do what is healthy for her.  I felt for Vivienne in this story as at the beginning she has to take a stand (I must say BRAVA) and let Jonah know she wants it all or nothing.  She also proves her worth by standing up for him when everything looks bleak and standing up for them when he falters.  She gets her strength completely back in this book and finally comes to terms with something that her therapist has been trying to get to all along.  I enjoyed seeing her grow as the story went on and finding a healthy balance in her mental state.

Jonah…  my dear tortured Jonah.  I adored him in this even when I wanted to scream at him.  He’s such a good man under all of his issues there is a general goodness that the years of torment cannot touch.  I loved seeing his family other than his stepdad and how hard they all work to bring the asshole down.  He’s right when he wants more than just the games with Vivienne and what he does to work towards a completely healthy relationship shows he’s in it for all the right reasons.  He has a long way to go to come to terms with his own past but I think he’s in good hands with Vivienne and her therapist.  This story also underscored how easy it is to take things out of context and twist them in to something that makes someone look evil or depraved.

The side-story of abusive relationships made me sad and I was glad to see him starting to heal from going down that path.  *I’m not saying who cause I think it helps the story not to say who*  This also makes me want his story and see him find his match.  I’d also like to see our loved alcoholic get his one and only but hey I’m greedy…  LOL

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30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

August 31, 2015 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0 ★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published by Kensington on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars
For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You'll know when the time is right, he'd said. Now it's two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It's a favor he's more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she's opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what's really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Be ready to tear up a little bit as you read this but also be ready to have a couple of issues with both the hero and heroine…

I’m struggling a bit with this one…  I liked it but I didn’t like how little we got to see of who Harrison is and what he wants other than thru her eyes.  I didn’t like that we really had limited time with him outside of what they did in bed or when they were fulfilling one of the cards.  I liked what we saw of him but I found myself wanting more of his time than of her time.  We just get a glimpse of a good man that has his own demons to put away but I just don’t see how they can be in love without more from him.

My biggest issues were with the heroine and her obsession with the past.  I get that she lost the love of her life… I really do… but I struggled with how much we had to hear about him and what he meant to her and blah blah blah.  Okay that sounds a bit harsh but come on really????  In real life there are these sorts of stories but I guess we have uncovered that in my fiction I don’t want to constantly hear about the ex or see the heroine obsess over her dead true love.  I mean we are in the story to see a couple develop and to be quite honest I felt for Harrison as he was fighting a ghost.  Granted what let him in to her life was her wanting to use the cards the man left her but dammit…  I wanted to understand more about the pull they shared which was constantly interrupted by the musings she had about her dear, sainted dead true love.

Yeah I guess I am a meanie but overall the story wasn’t bad but wasn’t something that I adored.  I liked the idea of the cards and the way it could bring someone back to life but dammit I want my couple to be a couple without a constant ghost cropping up.

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Anything But Broken – Joelle Knox – 4 stars

August 27, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 2 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Anything But Broken – Joelle Knox – 4 starsAnything But Broken Published by Joelle Knox on August 25, 2015
Pages: 237
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
AmazonBarnes & Noble four-stars
The first in a New Adult series about small towns, fast cars, bad boys and the girls who keep falling for them.

After five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what's left of her family. She's flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He's her dead sister's ex.

Sean doesn't bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he's the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn't know how to lose-or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief.

Between her grades and her wealthy family's dark secrets, Hannah's barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they'll either find a love with no limits-or go up in flames.

This is a story about a scarred girl becoming the woman she was meant to be in spite of her family’s chaos and destruction.  This is not the same writing that we see from Kit Rocha or Moira Rogers but  a new voice and outlet for the amazing pair we know and love.

Hannah has always tried to be the perfect good girl.  The one who does what is right and keeps up the perfect appearances expected of her by her image obsessed parents.  She is struggling with the loss of her father and still coming to terms with her sister’s death many years earlier but also having to deal with a decision noone ever wants to have to make.  She finds herself struggling with everything but finds a lifeline and anchor in someone from her past… Sean… her sister’s ex boyfriend.  The man she shouldn’t be attracted to… the man who she has a secret that she knows would hurt him… the man who truly sees her and not another Casey fuck-up.  We see her struggle to be human and to let people in but I liked her strength behind the fear plus saw how badly she just needs to be held/told she matters.

Sean was someone I would soooooooooooo love to have in my life.  He’s a good guy who knows what he is capable of.  He’s very strong but has such a good heart that you just want him to be happy.  He knows that Hannah can’t be his but dammit if he doesn’t want to do everything in his power to help her.  He sees how badly she needs affection but doesn’t make it seem like he sees her as a charity case but that he sees her as a woman who was badly damaged by a family more concerned with appearances than love.  He fights for her to be herself and even pushes his best friend, Gibb, to give her a chance.  He does see her as someone different from her sister and ends up finding out what exactly she means to him in the end.

Now…  I know I am not alone but can we please PLEASE PLEASE have Gibb and Evie’s story…  NOW!!!!!  Their story promises to be an incredible one and I cannot wait for it to come out!

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New NA Author – Joelle Knox – Anything But Broken – Release Day Excerpt!

August 25, 2015 Misc Info 1

broken-HRGuys isn’t that cover ummmm YUMMY???

 So I read some NA but not a lot of it but when I heard my buddies who write as Kit Rocha and Moira Rogers were going to be writing under Joelle Knox well…. yeah I had to have this book.  I will be posting my review tomorrow but today is release day and dammit let’s have an excerpt:

I don’t stay in bed. By the time Sean comes knocking on Evie’s front door, I’ve washed my face, brushed my teeth, and torn through my room, kicking dirty clothes into the closet and wondering how I made such a damn mess when I don’t even have all my things with me.​

I’m at the door before I remember I forgot to change, and it’s too late now. So I answer the door in my pajamas—cotton shorts and a tank top that feels transparent right now.

“Hey. Come on in.”

“Good morning.” He actually did something, one of the bright blue boxes from the bakery down the street from the boutique, and he hands it to me as he walks in.

“Thank you.” I carry the box into the living room, where my quilting supplies are spread out on the floor in front of the TV. Evie helped me sort scraps last night, and I went to bed without putting anything away. “Are you thirsty? I can make coffee, or we have some Cokes.”

“The bakery thinks of everything.” He tilts his head toward the box, and I open it to find two covered cups of coffee nestled inside along with the pastries.

“You’re going to spoil me,” I tell him as I sit on the couch. The coffee table is another of those pieces that looks either cosmetically distressed or lovingly salvaged—only now I know which. Evie finds them at flea markets and yard sales, dropping ten dollars on pieces of furniture no one wants, only to turn around and make them beautiful.

Just like Sean and his car—or me with my scrap quilts, I guess. Maybe we’re all obsessed with rescuing broken things.

Sean takes one of the coffees and sprawls out beside me, one arm looped casually around my shoulders. “Got any plans for today?”

Just the hospital later, but I don’t feel like bringing it up. So I reach for one of the pastries instead, breaking off a corner to nibble. “Not really. I need to open up my laptop and actually deal with some of my email, I guess.”

“Sounds fun.” He wrinkles his nose as he leans his head back and closes his eyes. “I left Gibb alone at the garage.”

I should probably feel guilty about that, but it’s hard to when he’s here, next to me, and I get to snuggle into his side as I eat breakfast. “I’m sure he can handle it. He seems really good at his job. Evie says he is, anyway.”

“She’s right.” Sean tilts his head my way and opens one eye. “You look good.”

My cheeks aren’t the only part of me that heat at the compliment. I abandon the pastry and coffee in favor of curling closer to him, because every point of contact means another giddy spark of anticipation.

It’s easier to flirt with him in text messages, but I try to capture a hint of that mischief as

I smile at him. “I stayed in my pajamas just for you.”

“I like it.” The back of his hand brushes my bare thigh.

An accident? I don’t want it to be. Holding my breath, I shift closer, chasing his fingers.

But he hasn’t moved, so I wind up rubbing my leg against his hand.
Sean is watching me now. “Does Evie come home for lunch?”

I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to know for sure, and I can’t remember right now, anyway. Because that’s not what he’s really asking. This isn’t safe like the lake, with people nearby to keep us from going too far.

Whatever too far means.

“I think she might be meeting Sawyer for lunch,” I tell him, because I know she talked about it. Was it today? God, I hope so, because I can’t think with Sean watching me.

He slides his free hand into my hair and cups my neck. He doesn’t say anything, but he’s utterly focused on my mouth, and he draws in a sharp breath when I lick my lips.

It’s the reminder I need—that I’m not the only one caught in the grip of needy hunger. I press my hand to his chest, splaying my fingers wide. Not to hold him back, but to brace myself as I lean in.

He lifts me into his lap instead, his steely grip a shocking reminder of his strength. I end up perched on his thighs, my knees riding alongside his hips. Straddling him, and it’s nothing like the lake. We might be wearing more clothing—well, he is—but there’s no darkness or water to hide behind.

He can watch my cheeks flush, and he can watch that warmth spread. My tank top is too thin to hide the tightening tips of my nipples, so I crush my chest to his and kiss him before reality can catch up with me.

But it isn’t reality that crashes into me a heartbeat later. It’s sensation, the tightness spreading into a deeper heat as his tongue slicks over mine, and his fingertips edge beneath the hem of my tank top.

I want to melt. Everything inside me is screaming for it, but I break away and pant against his cheek. “I should tell you. That I still don’t—that I’m not ready—”

“For sex?” His voice is low, hoarse. Filthy.

I never thought anything could weaken my resolve.But I didn’t know I could feel like this—flustered and turned on and achy. Empty, and just thinking that makes me feel debauched. “Can we still do other stuff?”

His chest rumbles beneath mine, and his hands slide higher up my back. “Hell, yeah.”

AbB2

Want more info??? Who am I kidding of course you do…  Check out their site here.  They’ll hook you up with buy links and more info.

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The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 stars

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 1 ★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 starsThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.From the Hardcover edition.

I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star.  It has some things going for it but a few things going against it.  I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained.  I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.

I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera…  we have the following:

  • Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires.  In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
  • Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
  • Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
  • Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
  • Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
  • Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED…  She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life

Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this.  I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus.  I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story.  She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have.  I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this…  I’m hooked so give me more.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story.  I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting.  The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games…  or is he…  tune in for more from this series…  LOL

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Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 stars

June 15, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 starsDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Published by Carina Press on 2015-06-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Military, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 242
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

79,830 words

Interesting story about modern day biological warfare and those who work to keep us safe.  I look forward to more from this series as the work that went in to researching the biological weapon and special forces personnel showed in a believable threat with action that kept me interested during the story.

Grace just wants to do her job and do it well.  She wants nothing more than to save lives and make a difference to those she works with but she’s also haunted.  She will never forget people she’s served with and lost but one loss haunts her more than any other.  When they get a call to go check out a suspicious set of deaths at a relatively remote outpost, she has to come to terms with not only her past but the man who wants to be there for her future in order for any of them to have a future.  She’s driven and damn good at what she does which shines thru even as she doubts herself because of survivor’s guilt.  I liked how she would work herself to the bone in order to get answers but mainly liked that she does what she has to in order to survive and complete the mission.  She is someone that I would want in my corner should the worst happen as you know that she will sacrifice herself if it means more survive.

Jacob..  *swoon*…  he’s something else but I would expect him to be all that and a bag of chips.  He’s Special Forces but he’s also a man who has discovered the woman that makes him a bit crazy.  He’s driven to protect Grace from not only outside threats but also herself as he discovers more about how driven she is.  When he pushes her you understand her frustration with him but you also see why he pushes her to let go.  She needs someone who will act as a relatively neutral voice of reason in order to get her to eat and take care of what her body needs.  She really does need a babysitter in some respects but the way Jacob goes about it occasionally made me laugh.  He was someone that while driven to defend his woman also realized that she was quite capable of holding her own.  He didn’t coddle her but instead worked to make her see his side even as much as she hated that.

Overall this was an interesting story with some information that will frighten those who haven’t kept up with modern or heck even old-school biological warfare.  The weapon described is frightening in nature made more so by how much of a possibility this is.  I hope that we never see something like this created but one never knows what evil is out there.

 

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