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 Moment by Brenna Aubrey

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At Any Moment (Gaming the System, #3)At Any Moment by Brenna Aubrey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I finish a book, I like to think about the things that made the book memorable to me. What was it that spoke to me. With at any moment it would have to be the prevailing themes; love, loss, and finally redemption. Those are things that stick out the most when you read this book from the Gaming the system series. The story picks up a few days after Adam finds out Mia’s secrets. Almost immediately you come to see that they are each walking on egg shells just to get through the day. Avoiding the proverbial landlines in their relationship that they haven’t yet figured out how to deal with. Mia is not in the best head space at the start, she has a great deal of guilt that she is allowing to override her judgement. So her reactions to things are born out of fear and guilt rather than having been thought out logically. Adam by contrast is burying his emotions and avoiding his own feelings in a single minded attempt to get them through this hurdle. While his approach it admirable it keeps him from having a settled relationship with Mia that he wants. They each have profound love for each other but they can’t seem to get past the things that have happened in their pasts. Mia is very vulnerable and Adam doesn’t want to take advantage of that where she will have more regrets over their relationship. The problem is that while both Mia and Adam are burying their feelings, they continue to bubble up to the surface and challenge what they have for each other. This story is told from both of their points of view and that makes the dialogue flow richly where each of them has an opportunity to express the things they have going on inside of their minds, however, misguided some of it tends to be. The emotional turmoil they endure battling with hardships and losses takes its toll on them and they both realize that they are at a crossroads but neither one of them truly wants to take the necessary steps to make drastic changes to the relationship because they see it as this intensely fragile thing. They weather the storms together but once they are over the hurdle they realize that they are mostly empty. For Adam there is resentment and anger, for Mia there is guilt and mistrust. When they finally give a voice to those feelings they realize that in order for them to get past this and move forward they are going to have to make tough choices and embark on journeys that they didn’t see for themselves when they first began seeing each other. As with any relationship their bonds are tested to the limits and they both come to realize that love is a choice and not a mantle. Love is something that is ever growing and ever changing. Its the responsibility of the parties involved to continuously work on it and to see things through once they have made the commitment to love. As reader you will come to love the honesty and depth of both Mia and Adam. They have a banter between them that is part romance and part camaraderie. While you still get the depth of the other characters such as Heath, Kat, and Jordan, you also have them as compliments rather than over powering the narrative, making for a very enjoyable read. Fans of the previous two books will love the consistency of their journey and the dance that they share in figuring out love in all of its facets and forms. Kudos Brenna, this series was one of a kind, filled with smart and edgy characters that I enjoyed following. Out of a possible 5 stars this one gets all 5. Happy Reading!!!!!

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At Any Turn by Brenna Aubrey

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At Any Turn (Gaming the System, #2)At Any Turn by Brenna Aubrey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so intrigued with Adam and Mia’s story that I had to check out the follow-up. So with some trepidation, because I am now invested in these characters I decided to read At Any Turn, book 2 in the Gaming the System series. Let me tell you, Brenna stepped her game up with this one, you are literally learning at the same rate as the characters are getting the experience which makes for such an enjoyable read. The story is told from Adam’s POV, and its refreshing because it keeps the story fresh and it lets you get an idea about some of his feelings from the first installment. Looking through my notes, I tried to figure out what it was that had kept me so engrossed in the story, I would say that its the real world parallels that you can draw from the interactions between Mia and Adam. The story picks up just as Adam is finishing up his ‘vision quest’ to rid himself of his addiction to work. He is still the cocky S.O.B. that you met in At Any Price. I think the difference this time around is that he has come to understand a few things about himself. First, he realized that he has a tendency to keep secrets so that he can orchestrate an outcome that he can live with. The only difference this go round is that Adam, doesn’t totally realize the magnitude to which his need for control can take him. By contrast Mia has a few decisions that she needs to make and her insecurity over her past is still present in specter form in terms of her applying and getting accepted to med school. She still has that dream to be a doctor and the drive within her is still just as strong as it ever was before, if not more so, because you can tell that she has love for Adam, but there are elements of it that she holds back almost as if to keep herself from falling fully into their relationship. I think the echoes of what happened to her mother keep her in a paranoid state for a good deal of this second book.

I love how honest and down to earth Adam was, I would have pegged him as being more self-contained but he came out of his experience in the desert relying heavily on Mia to keep him in check with his addiction issues, not realizing that it was a big mantle to lay at her doorstep and that they still had a ton of growing to do before they could reach their own utopia. A huge theme within the fabric of the storyline was the need for compromise, which was a lesson they both failed at miserably. Adam’s inability to deal with the grief from his sisters death was heightened in its exposure and his desire to not have his feelings laid bare in front of Mia definitely contributed to the ongoing battle of wills between the two of them throughout the book. As their relationship unravels and their individual needs for independence and free will become apparent to them both, the bonus round begins for them and things are stressed to the point of fracture. Without giving too much away, I think they grow up a little bit by the end of the book. Not having actually reached a conclusion about their issues but about how they need to view and react to each other. The candid nature of each of the characters is refreshing. You get a real full picture of how each feels for the other without the back and forth that you can get in some books (i.e.: switching POV to tell the story). I would go into more as I have a couple of pages worth of notes but it wouldn’t be fair for those readers that haven’t yet had a chance to take in the story. I will simply say that its a story that can be appreciated and enjoyed, due to the careful crafting of each of the characters. The fullness of the story is simply a bonus to the equation. Out of a possible 5 stars this one gets all 5.

Oh wait one issue I did have was the hair color issue – WTF!!!! OMG even I hated the hair, I am usually pretty flexible about that stuff, but it irritated me to no end and when I got the answers behind it, I think that might have pissed me off a bit more. Ignore that tangent until after you’ve had a chance to take a read. I hope you enjoy the story and the characters as much as I did. Happy Reading!

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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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If I Break by Portia Moore

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If I Break (If I Break, #1)If I Break by Portia Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

O.M.G. I am writing this after having read all of the installments in this saga. I am giving it 5 stars! Now let me set the scene. I am trolling through Amazon after having finished an amazing series, but not yet completely ready to jump out of the escapism that is my reading, when I happen to pick this book up. I vaguely remember the book description, but for some reason, I think its going to be something way less than it is (yes, I am that jaded). Just the same I sit down with a cup of coffee and start reading. The book starts out with Lauren, in a bit of a panic; she is running around the apartment annoyed and pissed off and I am expecting this to take a turn for the worst. The author is brilliant, thank you Portia, as I literally had to finish it. I rather not give too much away but, you twisted my arm, so Lauren is in a fairly recent marriage to Cal, a devastatingly handsome man who is by all accounts emotionally closed off. Portia is so good a weaving their story that I swear she has met and lived with my own husband. He is charismatic, charming, but there is always this huge portion of him that is missing, its like he’s a dream in some ways because he seems so real and honest and then something happens and it makes him seem even more ethereal than when you started. As the story unfolds, you are thinking come on Lauren, this guy is either a secret agent or he literally is cheating and he is just that damned good that you can’t catch him. Either way your heart goes out to her as she remembers all of the things that led to where they are now and you learn that while he does things that can be thoughtless and in some ways even cruel, he has a side to him that is caring and compassionate. He just has a really hard time expressing these emotions. He can be very eloquent but he has this barrier that is more like traversing a gravitational pull when he doesn’t want to share. His presence is very commanding and yet he has these moments, however, fleeting, that you realize he has something there that can be redeemed. Lauren by contrast starts out unsure of herself, even in some instances insecure, but she makes up for it in the grit. She is dealing with some seriously heavy stuff, but her presence of mind and the perseverance that she shows lets you know that she is a strong and very dynamic person in her own right. She has tough breaks, but she isn’t a victim. She takes the licks and she doesn’t give up. I think that is what the reader will appreciate the most. She has her down moments where it all seems as if this is going to be the point where she throws in the towel and is down for the count, but yet somehow her support system gets her through. As wrapped up in the tumultuous relationship that she shares with Cal, the amazing thing is that she stills has the wherewithal to realize her true allies. The story is amazing, and trust me, there is no way that you can’t follow it through to the end of the series. There is a telling honesty to the piece that will grab your attention and make you keep turning the page, even when you feel like you want to stop, you will not want to put it down. So to reiterate, hands down its got the five stars. If I’m late to the party and you already read it, what did you think about it? Happy reading!!!!

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Calamity Jayne (Calamity Jayne Mystery, #1) by Kathleen Bacus

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Calamity Jayne (Calamity Jayne Mystery, #1)Calamity Jayne by Kathleen Bacus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this title, I was hoping for something a bit lighter since I had done back to back drama for a bit, trust me it was worth the read. Calamity Jayne or “Tressa” as she prefers was a super fun read. As her name infers, she gets in to more than a little bit of trouble. The fun part is that her brand of trouble should probably come with some sort of warning label. Readers are going to fall in love with her brand of self-deprecating humor and the follies of her one horse town. Her rivalry with the infuriating Ranger Rick and the high jinx of her Grandma Hannah as well as the Green Hornet himself Joe, Ranger Rick’s lovable Grandpa. These characters bumble around the pages and make for a truly entertaining read. The author even blessed me with being able to stump me on the killer, which, for me is a real rarity. I was close though so it wasn’t a huge margin on that one. It was a great story and you could truly follow along with Tressa as she tries to solve the murder that never was, as most will tell you where there is no body there is no crime, but Tressa seems to be able to ferret out the biggest crimes just by waking up every morning and putting one foot in front of the other. With the Sheriff’s office breathing down her neck, Tressa is in a race to catch the bad guy before she becomes the next one on the chopping block. You are going to fall in love with her, root with her, and on a couple of occasions in the book, want to strangle her yourself. In the end, you will have to love her for her determination if nothing else. Tessa appeals to the underdog in us all, that person that has been overlooked and under appreciated for far too long. The one who if people gave them half a chance could surprise the pants off of you. The story has a heart of its own that is very clear to the reader and makes you want to cheer for Tressas’ tenacity if for nothing else. Out of a possible 5 stars I am giving her all 5. She had me at the opening line. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her antics, take a break and see what she has in store. Happy Reading!!!!!

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