Why I love Josh Gates in anything he does …..

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I have said it before and I will say it again, I love this guy and would literally love to go on a trip with him to any destination. When things seemed to slow down with destination truth (SyFy), I figured that I would just keep watching the re-runs because at least I still got a little bit of his snarky humor and jovial anecdotes on his travels. I personally liked the format of the show because it took a clinical approach to seeking out things that we all think about at some point like the Yeti or Big Foot and it took the time to investigate the stories that we tend to read about and simply walk away from. My favorite episode is the one where he goes back to re-investigate the area around ‘Stonehenge’ and his former camera man has another experience there. Its griping to see how freaky it is in other parts of the world, and the creep factor just rises every time he goes somewhere else, like the time he went to check out the Chupacabra. I like the honesty and then the analysis they they do once their investigation is over. His banter with Ryder is always good for a chuckle. So, you can imagine that I was disappointed when I was relegated to re-runs. So…you can imagine how excited I got when I realized that he had a new show on the travel channel. Yes, people Josh is back with a new show. So the excitement is real, its called Expedition Unknown and it will premiere on Thursday, January 8th at 9:00p. He is going to cover such critical and eye catching topics as what really happened to Amelia Earhart’s plane? or Who is D. B. Cooper and did he survive? I for one am looking forward to what he will uncover during his adventures. His sarcasm is unparalleled in a world where way too many people take themselves far too seriously. So if you have not yet discovered this rare comical traveler then take a moment to set your DVR to record his new show.

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At Any Price (Gaming the System, 1) by Brenna Aubrey

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At Any Price (Gaming the System, #1)At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fear is a major suck! That is what I learned about At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey. This is the first installment in a three part series. The story is about Emilia (Mia) a gaming blogger that is disenfranchised with her virginity. Mia has a number of things going on in her life and not the least of which is her need to cover costs for the completion of her medical training. The thing is that she is beyond broke as are most of us. She gets the brilliant idea to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder by way of her blog. By her way of thinking this should be a pretty easy transaction with the right kind of planning and with Heath in her corner she feels pretty confident that she has all the bases covered. The thing is she actually doesn’t and when Adam Drake enters the picture he wastes no time in pointing out the obvious flaws in her plan to her. Through a series of misunderstandings Mia learns way more about herself than she was willing to and the fear that results out of it is starting to cripple her. I have to admit, I was skeptical about her line of thinking myself so I was pleasantly surprised that she was as stubborn as she was. She is a strong woman, literally as her name would imply. She has weathered a number of huge life hurdles in her life, and each time she used the experience to erect a new wall/castle/mote around her heart. So for her to find it again, she has to dig deeper than she ever has before. The story is really entertaining because there are Mia’s life issues that she is trying to learn to live with and deal with and then there are the faults that she finds in Adam that he wasn’t even aware existed before she called him on it. What makes their love story memorable is that its honest. Its the kind of story that could literally happen to anyone. It felt like a really natural progression for the depth of their discoveries even in spite of the fact that they were brought together by a set of ‘sick’ circumstances. The thing that I think readers will take away from it just the same is that when you feel completely paralyzed by fear, the only way to overcome it is to face it head on and learn to trust that everything can work out; even if it doesn’t work out according to your own plans. The story is filled with lots of fun characters and some really interesting places throughout California. There of course are also the blogging and gaming elements that were much appreciated. I am pretty confident that if you are looking for an unusual romance that will steal your heart just a little bit then you will definitely enjoy At Any Price. Out of 5 stars I am giving this one 4. Happy Reading !!!!

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Saving Cassie (Fairfield Corners 1) by L.A. Remenicky

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Saving Cassie (Fairfield Corners #1)Saving Cassie by L.A. Remenicky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I recently finished this title that I came across by L.A. Remenicky. The title was Saving Cassie and its the first book in the Fairfield Corners series. The premise of the story is that a young woman with a hugely traumatic past has to relocate back home after the death of her beloved grandmother. As she leaves the lights of the city of New York where she was recently attacked, she starts to experience some very strange activity in her childhood home. The activity begins to escalate until it becomes a full blown problem complete with paranormal events and small town angst. You are probably wondering what I thought of the installment (insert shoulder shrug here), as a blogger I felt compelled to finish off the story so that I could see if there were any redemptive qualities that I could at least reference. The thing about the story was that it seemed as if it was a great outline for a story without the added layers of depth to the characters, Cassie was sort of a dual personality and some of the things that she did were slightly over the top and while it was in order to stay true to who she was as a person there was an element where some of the things she did or said were just not enough to keep me entertained. The plot was good, it was the reintroduction of paranormal events back to the town of Fairfield Corners, but even there it would have been nice to learn more about the town or to come to understand a bit better the feelings of Cassie. Marie the wife of Cassie’s longtime friend/honorary brother is a very patient woman, because while the things that Cassie does are all about Cassie, they are actually really disrespectful to her friend and his wife, just to get a rise out of him and to make him blush over not really wanting to show public displays of affection. Again, its not a bad story but it would be on a Lifetime spectrum, if you could choose between Lifetime and Oxygen networks the odds of you choosing Lifetime first are minimal at best. Remenicky has the bones for what could be a great story, I think in the end if it were tweaked and developed a bit more, where we could see the layers and depth of the deputy and maybe not introduce such a close childhood friend at the tail end of the book. Possibly try to bring in more disbelief about the presence of the paranormal activity without stating the obvious and avoiding the reuse of certain sentence structures you could definitely have your hands on a book similar to say the almost a witch series. The thing is please do not be discouraged by this, I respect how hard it can be to take all of these great ideas and thoughts and try to translate them into something that a reader can get the full picture of. So if you ever have a bit of time on your hands and wanted to re-work this one, I would be first in line to beta read. Out of a possible 5 stars I am going to give this one 2, but that is only because there were a couple of places where your editor skipped over the right use of tense and it made it harder for me to get through the chapters. Just the same it has great potential. Happy reading!!!!!

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Cocoa and Chanel by Donna Joy Usher

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Cocoa and Chanel (Chanel, #1)Cocoa and Chanel by Donna Joy Usher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can I say? I am a girl who likes nice things, so when I picked up this title by Donna Joy Usher, I was hoping for plenty of fashion; and she did not disappoint. Cocoa and Chanel literally had me laughing out loud. I ended up laughing so hard my train neighbors felt the need to lean extra close to see what I was getting into on my tablet. That is how funny it was, after a tough day this is the kind of installment you want to have on deck to take a read from. The story starts out with Chanel, a small town hairstylist, as she is cornered in a supply room. Unfortunately for her, her bosses’ husband is a huge jerk who takes to hitting on her in a way too forward way, apparently, he was letting his marital vows take a break for the day. Chanel finds that she needs to tell a quick lie to get out of the situation and that’s pretty much when the whole thing goes down hill. She later finds herself in the police academy in her own version of Private Benjamin (queue Goldie Hawn for a close up). The story unfolds from there as we follow Chanel and her loveable dog Cocoa as they get into a number of hilarious misadventures. He is the yin to her yang, and has as much of a role in the book as the other characters. I love the way the story shakes out. Since I tend to be too clever for my own good, I guessed the killer way before Chanel did but not without still wanting her to lead me through the rest of the story. Overall, this book made me want to pull out the heels and a bottle of bubbly to enjoy it. I really think that readers will root for both Chanel and Cocoa, as well as some of the more colorful people that seem to be pulled into her life. Chanel picks up hangers on like one would lint in a house filled with long haired cats. If you have a bit of time and want to laugh, take a moment to pick up this title. I am sure it will not disappoint. Out of a possible 5 stars I am giving this one 4. Happy Reading!!!!

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Dare You To by Katie McGarry…Hands Down 5 star

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Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)Dare You To by Katie McGarry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God I am going to sound like such a ham right now…but I could care less. I just spent the past few hours powering through this book and I devoured and loved every high and every low that Katie put these characters through. I laughed with them and literally felt myself mist up at some of the more heavier scenes. I gave this book the a small place in my heart previously reserved for only gasp if I say the “Twilight” series. Beth and Ryan’s story is so raw and honest and I think that has to be what drew me in. Beth with her defiance and the walls that she threw up, only for everything to go haywire and her world be tilted on its axis. Then there is Ryan and his incessant need to take on dares. I will say that you start out in your mind almost hoping for one thing and then begging desperately for another to happen. The characters are rich and vibrant and fly off the page and you become something that a lot of books fail to do to you, you become invested in their story, in their lives, in their fates. There is some heavy stuff here and its done so well in terms of how the story is woven. The best part is how honest they are with themselves and in the end with each other. Its a level of honesty that is lacking in many of the books I have come across. The strong relationships and learning to come to grips with your own value structures and the message that it is okay to not be right but to learn from the mistakes you have made is a message that is so clear and evident in the telling of their story. Their mishaps and the friendship that they find within themselves and each other and the people they have chosen to surround themselves with will enthrall you and keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be sucked into Groveton and the treasures that are the people you will find there. I am highly recommending this title. Happy Reading!!!!

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Double-Crossed by Ally Carter 5 star page turner

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Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Gallagher Girls, #5.5; Heist Society, #2.5)Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter

My rating: <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/612870585″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I just finished reading the new novella “Double-Crossed” by Ally Carter author of the Heist Society series that I have come to love. In a word it’s magnificent. The story brings together the core characters that make up the Heist series and the Gallagher girls series. As it turns out they work well together on paper and make for a truly interesting read. I almost wish that this one were a full length novel just to see what would happen if they had a job together for real or to at the very least have an idea of what Kat would be like if she had to become a Gallagher girl for a bit. As always the enigma that is Hale brings his own brand of intrigue to the story and Macey is there with her own brand of charm. Readers will be taken with the story at the outset and even root for the bad guys as it were with each of the characters being on opposite sides of the law. Now that I think about it I would like to lay out the appeal right now…

Dear Ally,

Can you please give us a couple, if at all possible, a few titles that merge the two worlds? I think your readers would love to see where that one goes. I’m just sayin’

Sincerely,

Cyberiasha

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Skull Flowers by Jason Dion Fletcher

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Skull FlowersSkull Flowers by Jazon Dion Fletcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was recently granted the opportunity to read Skull Flowers, a new novel being distributed by Backwood Press. I was drawn in by the difference in the writing style for this book which was a very different approach. This one reads more like an intricate movie script.

The story depicts a future world, that is torn and divided by different factions all working toward the inoculation of the people in the area. A tale unfolds that brings the existing differences in each of the factions into stark relief pitting the groups against each other in a play for domination and control.

The premise of the story is solid and has a number of moving parts that are meant to add to the over all futuristic element of the story. I even like the different characters that are present like the loveable 808, and the very complex Officer Whistle Britches, and the charming and fiesty Alexis.

My issues with the story are a bit complex, similar to the story. The first issue is that while the story is written in play format, the format doesn’t translate to eReading and detracts significantly from the quality of the story, by making it difficult to fully understand which aspects of the story the author is desiring the audience to follow the closest. For example, there is a section in the story that describes a dock style area where the heroine, Alexis is driving up in order to attend a fashion show. The fashion show is the backdrop, the docks is simply wallpaper. The issue is that the writer takes great detail in the things the characters are using like 808’s grimoire, which sort of starts out as a pager style device but that sort of morphs into a handheld smartphone, that streams video and uploads. The point is that all of these elements are taking away from the bigger issue which is the assassination of a critical member of the Checkmate Club, Governor Champagne.

Another element that seems to be lacking is a more concrete establishment of the characters, you are given snippet insights into them. A good example is the interaction between 808 and Alexis. At the start 808 comes off as a R2D2 style droid that is experimental in his existence. The thing is that he somehow becomes badass by the next couple of scenes and one has to wonder if they didn’t have another character in mind at the time of writing this.

The last item that I will point to is the fact that while the writer is attempting to give the story a spin that is different, like the elements of a creole style that are added at the beginning with the french nuances, they are missing in other parts of the story and could have been more consistent to give it a more concrete feel. Do not be mistaken, this is a story that should be read, however, it is one that could benefit more from some refinement and tweaking that would polish the piece and make it more palatable to the reader. Rather than give away too much of the story, I’d rather you take some time to read the book for yourself to determine how it sits with you.

In my opinion, I would love to see something like this as a movie instead of a book, mostly because it would give a clearer picture to the viewer/reader of what the writer is trying to convey. Considering that I find writing to be one of the most difficult things imaginable; especially given that it is a piece of the writers feelings and soul, I will say thank you for your bravery as it is not easy to put yourself out there.

Out of 5 stars I am only going to give Skull Flowers 3.5, however, I am more than willing to revise that if there is ever a version update that is easier to read on a kindle fire. All the best to you in your future writing/reading.

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