Review: Swimming With The Dead: An Underwater Investigation Novel by Kathy Brandt

As I sit here in the freezing weather, just outside Denver, I can’t help but envy Hannah Sampson. Heck, Hannah should envy herself! Stuck knee-deep and zero degrees into a bitter winter in Denver, Hannah, a Homicide Detective for the DPD is called to the scene of what first seems to be a senseless crime. The secretary of the Police Commissioner, Greta, has been murdered in the file room of the Commissioner’s offices. While the room is torn to pieces, the contents are so innocuous, there is really no reason for the death, or the break-in.


Oh, yes…. I want to BE THERE!!! Grab this book and sink into the beauty of the Caribbean!

When Hannah received a call from the Commissioner’s assistant the next day, she is pulled into a situation she never would have believed. A month before, the Commissioner’s son died while diving a shipwreck off of Great Camanoe, an island in the BVI (British Virgin Islands). The investigation, slapdash at best, was dropped with minimal investigation, and an outcome of “Death by Drowning.” Commissioner Duvall and his wife Caroline cannot, and will not, accept that their son, Michael, a professional diver and Marine Biologist, would have died so carelessly. They want the situation investigation, and answers found. And who better to do that than Hannah, who is not only Homicide Detective, but also head of Denver Homicide’s Dive & Recovery Team?
When Hannah arrives upon the breathtaking shores of the BVI, things immediately turn interesting as her investigation leads further and further into darkness. Did Michael truly drown due to his own carelessness? Or is there something much more evil occurring, something that could endanger Hannah’s life?
Swimming With The Dead was an absolute pleasure to read. It is always fun when a book is set in your own home area, and with the author, Kathy Brandt, being a “local” as well, it was great fun to follow Hannah through Denver before she left for the BVI. Then, when she arrives in the BVI, the surroundings become even more interesting, as Hannah becomes more and more involved in her investigation. I loved how Ms. Brandt described the islands and the people, the colour and vibrancy of that gorgeous world. Her descriptions of the underwater world were stunning, as well as being informative as Hannah follows through on Michael’s quest to protect the ocean and her creatures. The book is well researched, and draws you into the beauty and the warmth of her story.

At first, honestly, I didn’t really care for Hannah herself. She comes across as hard and emotionally distant, and her seeming lack of care for the environment and the fragility of the ecosystem seems quite odd for a resident of this beautiful state. However, as you come to know Hannah and what her life is, you begin to understand. And as Hannah begins to bloom, you get a true feel for a woman who is damaged, but begins to live once again, and appreciate the beauty around her.
I will be checking out Ms. Brandt’s other works in the Hannah Swenson world, and very much look forward to the pleasure.
This book was provided to me by in return for a realistic review. All opinions are my own.

Check out Ms. Brandt’s website for information not only on her books, but also about  the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and her role with the organization.


Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Mysteries


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Review: Shiftless – Aimee Easterling – A Paranormal Fantasy

Sometimes, being a female werewolf can be a flat out nightmare. Especially when your father, the pack alpha, is a brutal, psychotic mess whose only interaction with you is to issue orders on your birthday every year, then walk away. And things are made even more difficult when you can’t seem to manage your shifts, making the thought of saving yourself from the situation even more impossible.


A new author with a fresh perspective on the werewolf world. Worth spending a bit of your precious reading time with.

Hated by her own father and marginalized by her father’s repressive, misogynist pack, Terra struggles with her change and, when her father demands on her sixteenth birthday that she be mated and bred, Terra finally gathers her strength and flees her fathers hateful pack. Now on her own, life as the equivalent of a teenaged runaway is hard, cold, and more often hungry than not. Then, when the unthinkable happens, Terra knows that it is time to step up and bring her wolf under control – to lock her away and live solely in the human world.

Flash forward ten years, and we find Terra curled up in a chair in a bookstore, intent on a Patricia Briggs novel. If she can’t have a pack, she can at least read about them, right? But again, fate deals her a blow as a pair of werewolves, an alpha – on leash of all things – and his beta walk into the bookstore, and straight into Terra’s life. Oh, shit. Not another alpha! And the world continues to crash around her when her father reappears in her live with ultimatums and torments, threatening to force her back into the life of servitude she has worked so hard to escape.

Will the alpha known as Wolfie and his highly unusual pack be able to protect Terra and her nephew from the torments of her father? Or will she be forced to give up her life, to bend to the will of her brutal former pack in order to save her nephew and the members of Wolfie’s pack?

This is a first novel for Aimee Easterling, and for a first, it is very well written. Even more pleasant, it is well edited, which in and of itself is a positive. The book has many of the same tropes as the ubiquitous werewolf and paranormal romance novel, which in itself is not a bad thing. Ms. Easterling has put her own unique twist onto the culture, especially in regards to Wolfie and his oddball, loveable pack. They were my favorite characters, from the yahoos (you will get the reference when you read the book) to the lesbian couple, something one doesn’t often show up in the werewolf/paranormal genre, and is a pairing that I found quite refreshing.

Overall, this is a pleasant, quirky read, recommended for a lazy afternoon with tea and a quilt, curled in your favorite chair. The book does end on a tiny bit of a cliffhanger, but not unpleasantly so. I look forward to reading the next book and watching to see if wildly disparate groups can learn to function as a community.

This book was reviewed at the request of All remarks and thoughts are my own.


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Review: Rise of the Retics (Rosehaven: the Hidden City)

Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting. – Sydney J. Harris


Highly creative, with exceptional world-building! Click to order.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will. – Patton Oswalt

The right to survival. Throughout history, there have been those who have seen that right stripped, demeaned, destroyed. Native Americans decimated by the white invaders, the Jews (and everyone else) by the Nazis, and everyone not of their religion by the Church. And the depredations of the Church weigh heavily upon the world and the lives of those who are “different” in Rise of the Retics. In this new and fascinating world, based loosely upon the Spanish Inquisition, the church and government attempt to decimate all of the retics, creatures of myth and legend. Driven into refugee camps and denied the most basic of rights, this is their tale, a tale of imagination and great humor, yet also of viciousness and discrimination, pain and angst. And as much as I would like to say that it is only the humans who bring pain, it is also the retics who bring about pain and intolerance amongst their own.

Lantz is brilliant in his character development and perspective, his humor and world building. There are levels and degrees of creativity that are rare in many more ‘idolized’ modern books. While Lantz’s writing is perfect for the preteen audience, it is extremely pleasant for a more adult audience as well. Honestly, I would like to see this wonderful novel rise to the level of the Harry Potter series in popularity. It is more creative, the characters both more and less likable, the world fascinating and beautifully written.

And let us not forget the footnotes – they are absolutely hysterical, and lend an extra level of brightness to the story.

All in all, if you are open to a new and creative world, filled with layers and dimensions, I would highly recommend Lantz’s story. It was, in a word, fantastic.

I received this book from Storycartel in return for a realistic review. All thoughts on the book are my own. It is beautifully written, though it could use a bit of an edit. I would recommend it to the adventurous reader!

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Fantasy


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The Fifth Element – Lucia Di Lammermoor

There is snow on the ground (again) and it is cold and wet outside. I am cuddled up under an afghan and watching “The Fifth Element” again – it is such a funny movie in a lot of ways. Big Badda Boom!

Still, my favorite part is the Diva – beautiful, beautiful . . .

Enjoy the video, and if you haven’t seen it, the movie is a hoot. it’s time for me to go back to work!



Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Music


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Summer Is Coming! Ice Cream Cake Anyone?? FREE Book!

Summertime – when the living is all about the ice cream. . .


Oh, Yummy!!! Click to get the book for FREE from Amazon.

30 Delicious Ice Cream Cake Recipes
Lori Burke
4.3 Stars (59 Reviews)
Genre: Cookbooks, Food & Wine

FREE for a limited time

Ice Cream Cakes are incredible, mouth-watering desserts. Who doesn’t love ice cream, cake, oreo cookie crusts, whipped cream, nuts and fruit? Ice Cream Cakes can be very expensive if you buy them in a bakery or grocery store. But now you can bake your own Ice Cream Cakes at home! This book contains step-by-step recipes for 30 different Ice Cream Cakes. Buy a copy of this book today and you can make a delicious Ice Cream Cake for your family this weekend.




Lori has some of the most delicious sounding recipe books EVER! Check her goodreads page by clicking the photo!



Here are just a few of the Ice Cream Cakes in this book:

  • Black Forest Ice Cream Cake
  • Butter Brownie Brickle Ice Cream Cake
  • Butter Coconut Pecan Ice Cream Cake
  • Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Cake
  • Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Cake
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Cake
  • Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream Cake
  • Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cake
  • Coffee Fudge Ice Cream Cake
  • Coffee Toffee Ice Cream Cake
  • Going Bananas Ice Cream Cake
  • Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Cake
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Ice Cream Cake
  • Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake
  • Oreo Ice Cream Cake
  • Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake
  • Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
  • Raspberry Pistachio Ice Cream Cake
  • Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Click here to get this book for FREE

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Posted by on April 13, 2014 in Cooking


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Review: STREET CHILD: A Memoir by Justin Reed Early


What breed are we, what nightmare, what disgrace, that humans can treat children in this manner? Like offal, throwaway to be tortured, abused, and thrown aside like garbage.

Justin Reed Early
4.7 Stars (50 Reviews)
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs | Children’s eBooks | Religion & Spirituality | Self-Help

FREE for a limited time

“The books the world calls immoral, are books that show the world its own shame.” Oscar Wilde

“Street Child is not for the faint of heart…” – Nicole Broduer, THE SEATTLE TIMES (Article)

Street Child is the true story of a young boy who runs away from his increasingly dysfunctional and violent family. Placed into state custody at ten years old, his journey in foster care and survival takes many drastic turns until he finds safety with similar peers on the seedy streets of Seattle and San Francisco. While dodging serial killers (Green River Killer) and pedophiles, including a juvenile court judge who oversees his custody, these children develop credulous bonds while trying to protect each other amidst the increasingly dangerous elements.

Author Justin Reed Early takes you on a journey into a life where children become victims and victims become criminals. He brings intimate clarity to real life characters through authentic interactions with frequent devastating outcomes.

Many of the children in Street Child, including the author were featured in the documentary STREETWISE, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Street Child is a journey no child should ever endure.

Click here to get this book for FREE


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Review: Worlds of Obsession (A Celtic Otherworlds Novel) – Kella McKinnon

It was the morning of her twenty-sixth birthday, and Liv Johnston couldn’t shake the feeling that today was no ordinary day. Thus begins a supernatural romp through the streets of Glasgow, with side stops that cross dimensions and lead to worlds within worlds that a simple internet advertising office plodder, sending out emails that people hated to receive and tossed without a thought. But today is, truly, no ordinary day.

Out the door on her way to work, Liv is interrupted by a courier – a courier with a very strange message, instructing her to fly from her home in Boston to Glasgow, and there to proceed to a certain house, on a certain street. Along with the message, there is an even stranger package. The Celtic Myths and Legends, by C.L. Dryfus. Huh? What in the world could it all mean?

Tossing it all aside to think about later, Liv gets to her office, only to find that her job has been made redundant, as have the jobs of everyone else in her branch of the company. Well, darn. So, having a bit of savings, and an encouraging friend, Liv hops a plane to Glasgow, certain this must be some sort of joke – but who could resist a bit of mystery and adventure? Especially when you don’t have a ‘day job’ and could really use a bit of vacation.

Liv soon finds that life, as she knows it, will never be the same. Thrust into a world she neither knows or understands, she still somehow feels at home, safe and secure. Though she truly is neither safe nor secure – and things are about to get a lot weirder.

The hero character and love interest is Bastien, a Fomoiri Demon. Having lost his love over two hundred years ago, Bastien has withdrawn into himself and become even more of what he is – a warrior for the Guild, a group whose sole purpose is the protection of humans from the dark, whether it be physically or in the form of knowledge of the other races.

Liv is a strong character, taking her new situation in stride while showing a lot of backbone and more than a bit of temper. I really liked that about her. She takes no nonsense, and doesn’t fawn and whine over Bastien, the (of course) hunky and drool-worthy Demon. She handles herself well under the circumstances and doesn’t back down from anyone – even a bad tempered, hostile Demon who is determined to cut her out of Bastien’s life – and out of life all together.

There are great women characters in the book. A meddling Witch, Carman: Carman had worked for ages to build a solid reputation as an evil Witch so that most other beings, especially humans, left her alone to do as she pleased.” I loved her to pieces, good hearted (though inept) meddling and all. Leanan is the mother of all Vampires, has a wicked sense of humour and is more than willing to get into trouble right alongside Carman. Well, she is the mother of the good Vampires, that is. Those bad ones? They are called Droch Fhola, and are the descendants of Abhartach. . . Well, that is a whole other story. Then there is the Kelpie, the Grandmother who isn’t a grandmother at all, and one bad ass Warrior Goddess with a nasty attitude and an even worse temper. How cool is all that?


If you are into erotic covers, I suppose it is ok. If you want to know what the story is about, ignore the cover and read the book. Great women characters!!!

The only thing I didn’t like about the book, honestly, is the cover. TERRIBLE cover for this particular book. Yes, yes, you are all pretty with your naked, oiled up chest. Get over it. This book is more about Liv than the not-quite-bright Demon Boy. And yet, she is nowhere to be found on the cover! That stinks. Really. Ok, right, fine. Some people want to get all hot and bothered over covers, and Demon Boy is pretty as a ‘picture,’ I will give you that. But this is a LOT more than erotica, and the cover really blows for a book with a good story line and great characters. I hope it gets changed, but I won’t hold my breath.

I received this book from Bookplex in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Urban Fantasy


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