Friday, February 21, 2014

(15) Wingspan

Title: Wingspan by Karis Walsh
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
182 pages
Genre: lgbt romance

I received this as an advance e-book through netgalley.com It was released February 17, 2014.

Synopsis: When architect Kendall Pearson finds an injured osprey on her property, she expects to simply drop it off at a local wild bird rehabilitation center and be done with it. Quick and painless, like every other relationship she has. But wildlife biologist Bailey Chase has other plans for Ken. First, as surgical assistant, and second, as the designer for her new raptor sanctuary.

Bailey protects her privacy with the vigilance of a hawk, hiding in her rescue center where she has complete control over her life and her work. Isolated on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, she’s surrounded by natural beauty and plenty of solitude. Until sexy Ken Pearson walks in with a wounded bird and Bailey finds her life has been invaded by more than just an extra beak to feed.

Sometimes pain is invisible, and only love can soar over protective barriers and heal a wounded heart.

Review: This story really pulls you in at the beginning. The information about the birds and the descriptions of the scenery is beautiful. I also like the back story on both Kendall and Bailey but  think it lingered too long before the walls started to crumble.  The ending picked up again and I liked to see Kendall breech her walls and soar in her design capacity.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

(19) House of Bathory

Title: House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
486 pages
Genre: Historical mystery

Synopsis: In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Čachtice Castle in the hinterlands of Slovakia. During bizarre nightly rites, she tortured and killed the young women she had taken on as servants. A devil, a demon, the terror of Royal Hungary—she bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth.

400 years later, echoes of the Countess’s legendary brutality reach Aspen, Colorado. Betsy Path, a psychoanalyst of uncommon intuition, has a breakthrough with sullen teenager Daisy Hart. Together, they are haunted by the past, as they struggle to understand its imprint upon the present. Betsy and her troubled but perceptive patient learn the truth: the curse of the House of Bathory lives still and has the power to do evil even now.

Review: I am fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory and her twisted mind, and her horrific crimes. Apparently so are many many others as this book is a great mix of historical fact and fiction mixed together.  Alternating between modern time and the 1600's this story tells the history of Elizabeth Bathory and her twisted desire for eternal youth, and the more modern story of a young girl with a twisted past trying to make sense of the strange dreams she is having and the therapist who may have a connection to the Bathory legend.

The characters are well developed and compelling although I did have a pet peeve with the whole Goth thing.  Betsy's patient Daisy is Goth, and Lafferty's description of Goths and their lives etc are a bit off and not quite what you usually find when meeting one.  But despite this I found that Linda Lafferty has woven a great story blending past and present and how things may all be connected.  There is a lot of information on Carl Jung and his controversial Red Book and a peak into his therapeutic style but the real story unfolds around Elizabeth Bathory, her connection to a Hungarian Count and reincarnation.

I found this book highly enjoyable and I will look into other books by Lafferty in the future.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

(18) Chosen with Purpose

I stole this photo from amazon
Title: Chosen with Purpose: A Story of Adoption and Identity by Mark Molzen
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
103 pages
Genre: Adoption

Synopsis: Born to a fourteen-year-old girl and an eighteen-year-old high school dropout, the odds of Mark Molzen being in prison, dying young or becoming a drug addict were far more likely than any other outcome. So how did he beat the odds — becoming a successful, highly regarded public relations professional for an $18 billion, Fortune 150 Company? It’s all because of the plan God had for him—a plan that started when his understanding of adoption radically changed. Mark Molzen’s debut explores the stigma surrounding adoption, delves into what the Bible says about this issue, and examines the inherent power of choosing to accept that adoption is part of God’s plan for our lives. Adopted into the “United Nations of Adoption,” a family consisting of two biological children as well as four adopted children of Native American, Asian American, and African American descent, Molzen’s life circumstances changed dramatically the day he was adopted. But his adoption isn’t really the story. This life-altering book will teach adopted children, young and old, and their parents that to change how they feel about adoption, they must first understand how God feels about adoption and then choose to accept what that means for their life.

Review: This is not my typical book and I'm not a religious person but I had to review this book for work.

Mark Molzen is a black man who was adopted at birth by a white family.  His family also adopted several other children of color in a time when that was rare.  Mark has a very positive and interesting perspective on adoption that was instilled in him by his parents.  Mark believes adoption is part of God's plan and once he accepted this and stopped worrying about what he didn't know about his past his life fell into place.  Through bible quotes and a glass half full outlook Mark explains his family's philosophy on adoption.

Mark has also done extensive research on adoption and includes many statistics on foster children, international adoption and the race of families adopting children of a different race.   He touches on how his family instilled in their children a sense of culture and how they dealt with racism (this was the late 70's), and also delved into the relatively new concept of openness in adoption.  While he doesn't seem to particularly agree with open adoption he does feel that it can sometimes be a good thing. There is an interview with his parents in the back of the book explaining their philosophy on adoption and why and how they chose to adopt outside of their race.  And while I'm not a religious person I found Mark's take on adoption interesting and thought provoking. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

(17) Humans of New York

Title: Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
304 Pages
Genre: Photography

Synopsis: Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City.  Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories.  The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.

Review: I am a huge fan of Brandon's tumblr page, so when I discovered he was making a book I just had to get it.  I love all the diversity in New York and I love the captions that accompany the photos.  NYC is truly a melting pot of humanity and this book is beautiful, quirky and well worth having on your coffee table or shelf.  Love it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(16) The Quickening

Title: The Quickening: Book Two of the Sisters of Spirits Trilogy by Yvonne Heidt
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
210 pages
Genre: LGBT paranormal romance

Synopsis: Tiffany Curran has the ability to read places and people by touch, and although it’s a gift she uses to help people, it’s also a curse that prevents her from having much human contact. She tries to keep life simple, but that all changes when Katerina Volchosky calls in the Sisters of Spirits paranormal team for help.

Kat is tired of reporting about violence in the city and vows this story is her last. She is hoping that S.O.S. can connect with a serial killer’s victims to help provide clues. When she meets Tiffany, she dreams of a promise made centuries ago to a flame-haired priestess.

Ancient whispers of curses and witches haunt Tiffany’s nightmares, and the closer she and Kat get to the murderer, the louder the whispers get. Worse, Tiffany has a horrific suspicion she might know who the killer is.

Review: Not exactly sure that the synopsis really captures this book.  Kat has been tasked by the police as a middle man between themselves and the Sisters of Spirit in order to help solve crime.  Tiffany has been tasked with helping Kat to "see" these crimes and help the police.  What she didn't think would happen is that she would find herself drawn to Kat in ways that she didn't expect.  Along with the help of Shade, Sunny, and Jordan they need to find this killer soon, one of their lives depends on it.

Kat feels Tiffany's attraction and mirrors it only she has been dreaming of Tiffany for years.  She remembers their past life together and wants to rekindle that but how she can do this without freaking Tiffany out she isn't sure.

In my opinion this book was better than the first. There was a bit more drama, a lot more insight into the characters, and some things I saw coming but didn't know how they would fit and others that totally blindsided me.  I like when a book can keep me on my toes.  It doesn't hurt that the book features 3 kick butt women.  I was heartbroken to see that there isn't yet a 3rd book in this series but I'm hoping that Yvonne doesn't keep us hanging for too long!

Monday, February 10, 2014

(15) Hoping to Adopt

Title: Hoping to Adopt: How to Create the Ideal Adoption Profile (Preparing to Adopt) by Russell Elkins
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
38 pages
Genre: adoption,

Synopsis: It’s cliché to say it, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Clichés are cliché because they’re true. When a potential birth parent is browsing through profiles, being able to create an ideal first impression is essential for hopeful adoptive parents. An ideal profile can help catch the eye of potential birth parents by more effectively showing how their homes work, look, and feel. Because few (if any) adoption agencies use the “first come, first served” method anymore, some couples are chosen very quickly— but others, who might not have the right tools, wait for years. If you’re hoping to adopt, there are things you can do to greatly increase the odds that you will be one of the couples whose wait is a short one. Not all adoption agencies are the same. Different agencies will have different methods for creating your profile. Some use scrapbooks, others do everything online. Still, others will use a combination of various resources. Some agencies want one profile letter, some want two (one from each of the hopeful adoptive parents). Some ask for the letter to be written in first person, while others prefer third person, and some prefer a combination of the two. Confusing? Yes. Here’s the point: the basic principles will be the same, no matter the style.

Review: Not sure I would call this a book, its more like a long article for sale.  But given its low price and good advice I'd say it was worth the read.  Writing a profile for adoption is a daunting task but this book gives you some great tips.  If you don't have the time to read one of the longer books that are out there on this subject this short 30 page one might be just right.  Learn about what your picture says about you, how to introduce yourselves in your letter, how certain wording portrays you, and how to end your letter.  There is an example at the end of the book and a shameless plug for the author's other books in the text regarding open adoption. All in all though,  Russell Elkins has provided families with good advice and easy tips in a short book that should help anyone get started and for .99 on kindle it is worth it!

Friday, February 7, 2014

(14) Hounded: The Iron Druid Series

Title: Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One by Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Ray
320 pages
Genre: fantasy

Synopsis: Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Review: I wasn't really sure about this book at first but the more I read the faster I read.  Hounded takes a lot of the old myths and other stories of Druids, werewolves, Fae, and other Gods and puts a new spin on things.  The story reminds me a bit of Jim Butchers series but Atticus doesn't really work to help humans, he is more worried about saving himself.  After over 2 centuries the Celtic love god has tracked him down and wants the sword that he thinks belongs to him. Atticus has been expecting him but not the slew of other Gods and Goddesses that track him down to use him as a pawn in a political battle that is waging in Tir Na Nog.

I fell in love with Atticus's dog and his drunken Irish widow neighbor.  They both provide a good dose of comic relief between all the crazy, witches and goddesses that appear to try to spoil Atticus's normal day. Handsome and witty Atticus is older than most, stronger than some and seems to have a knack for attracting the wrong kind of attention.  This is a great start to a series and I hope that the greatness continues.

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