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HURRY! You, me, the end of the world, Miley Cyrus, cavemen, & startups

I KNEW there was a reason why “Paleo” diets were bad news!!! ROFL!

RTF Smashwords coupon
Click to go to Smashwords to pick up a 50% off copy of “Round Trip Fare” for your own!

Barb Taub

What do Miley Cyrus, cavemen, and high-tech startups have in common with YOU and ME? And how can that get you a free book, designer bracelet, and the best writing on the web?

Well, I’M short on time today, so here’s a look back two years at a blog post and ten thousand years at the Paleo diet.

And YOU’RE running out of time too! (See message at bottom).


The top five reasons why the Paleo Diet will lead to the end of the world:

Several celebrities have been touting the benefits of the Caveman Paleo diet. The idea is that if we eat the way people did 10,000 years ago, we will all be much healthier. As scientist Christina Warriner explained in her TED Talk, they couldn’t be more wrong. But she missed a few points, so I’d like to point out the top five reasons why the Paleo Diet…

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Review: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba, #1)

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

“A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Delacruz lives as an enigma. Well, half-lives. You see, when the New York Council of the Dead brought him back, they literally did a half-assed job. With only the faintest memory of having suffered horribly, the rest of his life before his half-resurrection is a blank. He thinks he is Puerto Rican (well, at least that is what they told him – and he has to admit, it does feel right) but other than that? His life began on the day he died.

Now Carlos works for the council, taking care of the unseen of New York, the maybe-sorta-might-be-dead and others collectively known as the inbetweeners, making them really dead with the sword concealed in his cane. Hey, it may not be much of a life, but it’s his. He gets his fun from pissing off the council members whenever possible, and he has a few close friends – even if most of them are ghosts. It is difficult, being so alone, so different. As far as he knows, he is one of a kind, the only inbetweener he knows of who exists in this half-resurrected state.

But that is about to change, because there really are more like him. And they are determined to take down the wall between life and death, to open the entrada to the Underworld.

I listened to Half-Resurrection Blues, which is narrated by the author, Daniel José Older. His delivery is, in a word, musical. The story caresses the ear in a flow of lightly Puerto Rican accented English with a Brooklyn tone that carries the soulful cadence of a Blind Willie Johnson tune. I would compare his writing to one of my absolute favorites, James Lee Burke (and if I did that, you know I enjoyed it), in setting a tempo that draws you into the life of not only a man lost in pain and loneliness, but also into the attitude and rhythms of the Brooklyn Barrio. The imagery is knife sharp, cutting away artifice and revealing the soul of the character, and of the world in which he lives.

Carlos is sarcastic, with a biting humor that often takes a moment to comprehend, something I totally enjoyed. He is the perfect noir hero, Malaguena cigar tucked firmly between his lips, sharply dressed, calm and collected. He strolls the barrio, sliding between the worlds of the living and the dead, always calm, cool and collected. The perfect Puerto Rican don, hat pulled low and shoes shined. The people he knows, and the people he meets, though some cannot really be called “people” any longer – they are ghosts, trapped in the world of the here-and-now – have their own quirks, worries, and existences, often beyond even Carlos’ comprehension.

Mr. Older’s story offers that edge of heartbreak and loneliness that gives his characters depth, while his own voice is the perfect vehicle for the narration. I loved it, and will be reading the others in the series.

Review: Dead Rising by Debra Dunbar

Dead Rising (The Templar, #1)“The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time.” — Frank Miller

“When in doubt, follow the truth. The path is often well-illuminated and it usually leads me in the right direction.” — David S. Brody, Cabal of The Westford Knight: Templars at the Newport Tower

“Let evil swiftly befall those who have wrongly condemned us – God will avenge us.” – Jacque (Jack) De Molay, last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Friday 13th, 1307

They started as protectors of Pilgrims on the Path. About 1119, Hugues de Payens, a French nobleman, began The Knights Templar, a group of knights charged with protecting the weak and innocent on their journey to visit the Holy Places.

But that changed.

From religious vows of obedience, chastity, poverty and piety, and under the orders of the Church, they became slaughterers of anyone who didn’t believe in Christianity. Thousands perished under their swords, men women and children. They became bankers to the world, an order without “clear purpose or support,” but with enormous financial resources and power.

Well, the church couldn’t have that. So, at dawn on Friday, October 13, 1307 their members were arrested, charged with heresy, blasphemy and various other crimes, tortured, and then executed.

Now, in Debra Dunbar’s marvelous imagination, the Templars still exist – but nothing as they were before. Focused on protecting their Temple filled with magical treasures and conducting research, they no longer Protect Pilgrims on the Path. Oh, they still train. With swords. Yeah, try riding a horse around town with a hand and a half bastard sword strapped to your back and see how far that gets you in this day and age. But mostly? They sit around the pool at their mansions, sipping martinis and playing golf. Well, all that treasure, invested properly, means that everyone inducted into the order pretty much lives a life of fairly obscene luxury. Well, except for Solaria Angelique (Aria) Ainsworth. Nope. Aria works in a coffee shop for minimum wage, lives in a hovel of an apartment, and lives on Ramen. At 26, she is far past the age she should have taken her oath to the order (no matter that her mother nags her constantly!). She knows the Templars should be more. They should still be protecting the Pilgrims, not counting their gold. The modern Templar belief is “only God should judge.” Of course, after their brutal and bloody history, it is easy to understand the reasoning – but to Aria it is a cop-out. There are still Pilgrims trying to find their way along the path, and they need protection.

Even if they are vampires.

When Leonora, the local vampire Mistress, asks for her help in identifying a mysterious sigil, she thinks it will be no problem. After all, she is a well-trained researcher with a massive collection of mystical texts. Oops. Finding the meaning is hard enough (after all, she only has seven days) but then? Things get sordid. Mass murders, the forty year old slaughter of a happy family, and secrets and lies force Aria to make a decision. Who is right, who is worthy of her protection – and who deserves to die.

I loved the idea behind the story. Aria? Nope – not so much. Almost not at all. The woman is 26, she has intense training, and not a lick of self-preservation or emotional common sense. Tell me this. If you know for an absolute fact that if you are to screw the vampire you will last maybe a few weeks, at most a couple of months, and then you will die . . . would you Really be considering actually doing it?!?! Yep. That pretty much ruined the book for me. Everyone who knows me know I love a strong female character. And in a lot of ways, she is strong. She is trying to do the right thing, for the right reasons, but her emotional “I am a pre-teen with a vampire crush” whining throughout the book really turned me off. I mean, seriously turned me off. I kept reading because the book overall was quite good, but I doubt I will read another.

Review: Bloodrunner Dragon (Harper’s Mountains Book 1) by

Bloodrunner Dragon (Harper's Mountains, #1)The last we knew of Harper, Weston, Ryder, Wyatt and Aaron, they were children, barely more than babies. Much beloved by all the Shifters of Damon’s Mountain, they were raised together with all the care and love any child could want.

Now, they are all in their mid to late twenties, all much different than we last knew them. Harper, the Bloodrunner Dragon daughter of Bruiser the Bear and Diem, daughter of Damon Daye, the Last Immortal Dragon, claimed Wyatt for her own as a child. Yet, when disaster happened, instead of hanging around and holding things together, Wyatt left. Left Harper alone to face life without him. Left her to face The Unrest – the time of sickness leading up to her death. But when Wyatt drunk texts Harper ten years later, she pulls together their old gang and flies to his rescue. But will it cost Harper, the last Bloodrunner Dragon, her life even sooner than the Unrest?

This is a whole new time, a time where all shifters have rights – but it also means that vampires have rights as well. Something that they believe gives them the right to take and drink from whomever they wish. It is a tough fight, but with their friends at their backs, will Harper and Wyatt be able to save Harper’s life, and start afresh on Harper’s Mountains? And what of their friends, the children of Damon’s Mountain?

It’s a pleasure, coming back to the Damon’s Mountain world, set in a new place and with the grown children. We only get a short phone conversation with Bash and Bruiser, but I look forward to seeing if the old gang comes to visit as the series goes forward.

Spoilery Stuff Ahead! Stop here if you haven’t read the book!

 

 

 

Someone griped about how angsty they all were, where I didn’t see that at all. Yes, they are pissed at Wyatt – they deserve to be. He left and took their love for him, and Harper’s, and left Harper dying without him. Yes, there is drama. It would be boring as hell without it. But these kids have every reason in the world to be pissed at Wyatt. That doesn’t make them “angsty” that makes them real. We aren’t really shown who they are at this time, what time has made them. We will, in the upcoming stories, and I look forward to that. As for your comment that “mates don’t have physical relationships with other people?” The whole “undying mate” thing is MUCH more unrealistic than the fact that these are written as real people with real issues and real heartbreak. Harper did her best to find another treasure in order to stay alive. Denigrating that with some silly notion demeans the reality (within a supernatural world) of Ms. Joyce writing real stories with real human emotions. And really – did you expect her to lay back on a fainting couch with the back of her hand across her forehead, weeping into a tissue as she dies a painful death instead of gutting up and getting out there and trying to find a way to stop her own death? Now that is patently ridiculous! Real women save their own lives in any way possible without lying around like some wimpy historical romance wimp! If you want that, well, don’t read books with strong, vital female characters!

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t really care for Wyatt’s character. I found him weak – not in her writing, but inside himself, and I give Ms. Joyce huge Kudos for writing ‘alpha’ characters who aren’t all brawny, brainy, perfect. Her Damon’s Mountain characters definitely weren’t perfect – and I greatly doubt the kids will be either. Heck – look who their parents are!

I wouldn’t choose him for myself. But Harper’s dragon did. She saw the good – even thought I pretty much wanted to throw him over a cliff! He was an idiot, but he is her idiot. But then, aren’t so many men out there real, actual idiots that women have to teach to pull up their lives by their bootstraps? Sometimes it requires a light touch. Sometimes they have to whack the bastards over the head with a 2×4 in order to get their attention. She simply had to pull out a semi trailer and bop this dumbass alpha over the head! 😉

 

Review: The FPU Series by Milly Taiden – Two Good and a Hard Skip

fpuI have enjoyed the works of Milly Taiden for quite a while. As a Paranormal Romance reader, I have been often discouraged that authors are more focused on the sex scenes than having anything more than a wisp of story line as a vehicle for stringing together instances of raunchy rollicking. Hey, I love me some hot and nasty, but I want a story to go with it. And, mostly, Milly doesn’t let me down in the boxed Federal Paranormal Unit set. I had read the first in the box, Wolf Protector, some time ago, then wandered away (as usual) before checking out the next two, Dangerous Protector and Unwanted Protector. Having the whole series as a boxed set on Kindle Unlimited was a real treat, as my budget right now is so tight it squeaks!  So what to do but write a review in thanks?

The first, Wolf, is the story I had read previously and enjoyed. Erica Villa is a Profiler for the Federal Paranormal Unit, and one strong cookie. Her particular skills are hidden from the others on her team, other than their boss, Brock. He is the one who has always stayed with her, allowing her to exercise her skills in private, without the others knowing just what makes her different, and so exceptional at her job. But now, Brock has to leave her in the hands of her team members.  Buchanan and Ramirez are shifters, and ‘man whores par excellance’ swooping in on every woman who crosses their path. Jane is their computer maven, brilliant, sensitive, and very private. Of course, Buchanan has been sniffing up Erica’s tail for the ten years they have worked together as a team, though Erica will be damned before she allows a Casanova like him to make her just another conquest. Yes, some women really ‘don’t’ fall all over themselves like idiots over the “Bad Boy” which made her refreshing. But when she is thrown into his care, and he see exactly what she suffers while doing her job, his constant longing for the woman he has always wanted, but who went out of her way to stay away from him, leaves him determined to protect her at all costs. Of course the HEA is there, but the story keeps it interesting.

Dangerous, the second in the FPU series, introduces us to two new characters to the team. Martin Galvez, the uptight FBI department head who is determined to take over the FPU at all costs, even though, as Cynthia Vega, the new head of the FPU, puts it, he never will head the group, “Because you’re not special.”  And Cynthia herself, who was put in place by Galvez to be his eyes and ears, pushing out Brock for top spot in the team. The only thing is, Cynthia has no intentions of telling Galvez anything. Take that, overblown politician ego!

When Cynthia finds herself in the position of being the boss of her ex-lover things are hard enough. Especially with his feelings over her walking out on their engagement ten years ago without a word. But when she gets a call from back home, a place she hoped never to return to again, Brock is determined to go with her to find what has happened to her niece who disappeared. What they find there opens up old wounds, and could very well lead to Cynthia’s death. Another good entry to the series.

Then? Then we get to Unwanted . . . and the whole freakin’ thing blows up, falls apart, and well, just Eww. I would swear that someone else other than Milly wrote Unwanted and she simply added it to her series without even reading it first. The dialog is stilted, the story line unbelievable, there was no logic to the story, and the tone was over-the-top preachy and unbearably ridiculous. Hey, I totally agree with the basic ‘save the environment’ sentiment, but this was just, just, Ugh. The whole thing reeked. I made myself flip through it, but I couldn’t like the book at all. While the other two are a solid 4 as paranormal romance, I can’t give this one more than a one, and a grudging one at that. There were a lot of signs that Milly didn’t write this (or she did it on drugs), from the lack of contraction use to the awful dialog and stilted writing style.

Overall, read the first two, but give the third a hard skip. It left a bad taste in my mouth after enjoying the first two.

Review: Boarlander Cursed Bear by T.S. Joyce

29751085“They say that abandonment is a wound that never heals. I say only that an abandoned child never forgets.” — Mario Balotelli

Clinton Fuller isn’t right in the head, not in any way, shape or form. Pushed from one lumberjack crew to the next on Damon’s Mountain, he has been a pain-in-the-ass for each of the crews. And the Boarlander Crew is his last stop before he spirals too far and the Crew Alpha, Harrison Lang, has to put him down for the safety of all the shifters on Damon’s Mountain. This is his story, and for all I have bitched and moaned about his presence throughout all the Damon’s Mountain stories, I have also gotten bits and pieces of his story all along, and have begun to feel a mite sorry for him, though I never really came to know him. But now, we all get to learn what made Clinton the way he is.

And you know what? I not only understand Clinton now, but my heart is totally (well, maybe not “totally” totally, but still) softened to his story. All of his acting-out makes sense, and I am so glad I got to know him. Of course, Clinton’s story isn’t the only story told in Boarlander Cursed Bear. The political story of ‘Humans vs. Shifters’ comes to a head as the Damon’s Mountain Crew (and all the shifters in the US, though the story doesn’t reach that far) wait for the vote that will decide whether the shifter population retains their right to live, love, and mate as they choose.

This is a terrific end to a wonderful series of books, and I recommend them highly to lovers of Urban Fantasy Romance who want a bit more than just “wham-bam-we-mate-for-life” in their books. These are deeper than that. The reading order, from T. S. Joyce’s website is below.

As always, my disclaimer: I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews. If you haven’t read Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain Series, I highly recommend you read them in order. They are so much fun, yet running parallel to the same hatreds and prejudice we see in the world today that they are more than the sum of their parts. Enjoy!

Reading Order for Damon’s Mountains:

Lumberjack Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 1)

Woodcutter Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 2)

Timberman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 3)

Sawman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 4)

Bear My Soul (Fire Bears, Book 1)

Axman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 5)

Bear the Burn (Fire Bears, Book 2)

Bear the Heat (Fire Bears, Book 3)

Woodsman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 6)

Lumberman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 7)

Gray Back Bad Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 1)

Gray Back Alpha Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 2)

Gray Back Ghost Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 3)

Gray Back Broken Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 4)

Lowlander Silverback (Gray Back Bears, Book 5)

Last Immortal Dragon (Gray Back Bears, Book 6)

A Very Beastly Christmas (Gray Back Bears, Book 7)

Boarlander Boss Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 1)

Boarlander Bash Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 2)

Boarlander Silverback (Boarlander Bears, Book 3)

Boarlander Beast Boar (Boarlander Bears, Book 4)

Boarlander Cursed Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 5)

 

 

Review: Boarlander Beast Boar by T.S. Joyce

29535458“Tales of power and ambition and intrigue and betrayal and desire – when you’re telling those in a big way, you automatically want to go to Shakespeare.” — Beau Willimon

Mason Croy is a real boar. No, not ‘bore’ are in boring, but Boar, as in big-ass, brutal, brawling Razorback Hog. Brought in to replace yet another bear Clinton the Beast ran off from the Boarlander Mobile Home Park, where the C-Team of the Damon’s Mountain lumberjack bears live, Mason is a badly damaged boar shifter, brawling to hide the pain he carries inside. And his brawling is causing a real problem for Rebecca ‘Beck’ Anderson who has been brought in by Damon Daye, the Last Immortal Dragon and owner of Damon’s Mountain. Beck’s job is to improve public relations between shifters and humans, her driver, Mason, isn’t making it easy. And it isn’t as if Beck’s own life is all lavender and fuzzy bunnies either. Her divorce has left her crippled, emotionally and financially, and she is determined to succeed in her job, even if it means taking on a brawling boar like Mason. Because she has a lot more to save than just herself.

The political story continues strong through Boarlander Beast Boar. But there is more than that, as Mason’s backstory is much more deadly than the Boarlanders understand. And it is moving onto Damon’s Mountain in a wave of brutality and death.  This time, it isn’t only the humans who are a danger to the Shifters of Damon’s Mountain. And there may not be a “happily ever after” for Mason and Beck – or any of the shifters of the US. Of all her books set on the mountain I loved Bash’s story the best. . . But now that I have read Mason’s I have to say I love it just as much, though for much different reasons.

I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews. If you haven’t read Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain Series, I highly recommend you read them in order. They are so much fun, yet running parallel to the same hatreds and prejudice we see in the world today that they are more than the sum of their parts. Enjoy!

 

Review: Boarlander Silverback (Boarlander Book 3) by T.S. Joyce

29351627“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Kirk Slater is a rip-roaring, chest-beating, musclebound gorilla shifter, plunked down in the middle of the Boarlander Mobile Home Park, filling in for the C-Team’s rapidly diminishing bear lumberjack population. As personal guard for Kong, (Lowlander Silverback (Gray Back Bears Book 5)) Kirk knew his place in the world. But that was all turned upside down when Kong stepped outside the role he was destined to play and left Kirk on his own to face an entirely different life than the one he expected.

The world of Damon’s mountain is changing as well, as political pressures, prejudice and race hatred are restricting the rights of shifters in the US in a quickly tightening noose. And part of that noose is Officer Alison Holman, one of a team of two undercover police officers sent to restrict access to and from Damon’s Mountain. Unknown to her partner, a rabid shifter hater, Alison quickly learned that the stories she has heard about the viciousness and animalistic behavior of shifters is untrue, and she has been helping the shifters of the mountain. And when Kirk moves to Boarlander, she discovers that this particular Silverback Gorilla is appealing on a whole different level. And Kirk? After what he did to Kong, he knew he would be allowed a family group. But just maybe Kong had the right idea after all. One woman to love seems freakish and unnatural – until he meets Alison.

Again, the Boarlander stories are shifter romance tales, that is a given. But they are richer than simple bear shifter (or in this case, gorilla shifter) meets his mate tales. The stories are building into a situation where the shifters are watching more and more of their rights being stripped away by the human populations fear, hatred and prejudice. Something is going to have to give, and the shifters are banding together, going toe-to-toe with the humans in their own arena. Can they rescue their rights by gaining the hearts and minds of the human population of the US?

I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews. If you haven’t read Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain Series, I highly recommend you read them in order. They are so much fun, yet running parallel to the same hatreds and prejudice we see in the world today that they are more than the sum of their parts. Enjoy!

Review: Boarlander Bash Bear by T.S. Joyce

Boarlander Bash Bear (Boarlander Bears, #2)“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Boarlander Bash Bear is the second in T.S. Joyce’s Boarlander Series, part of her group of stories revolving around the Shifters of Damon’s Mountain. I was so glad I didn’t have to wait long for Bash’s story! In Boarlander Boss Bear, we got to meet Harrison Lang, the Crew Boss for the Boarlanders, the C-Crew of the mountain.  They are the ‘dead-ends’ – the team that would rather bleed each other than get along. Well, mostly due to Clinton, the biggest pain-in-the-ass on the mountain.

Sebastian “Bash” Kane has been fighting the ban on women in the park from the outset, and now that Harrison and Audrey are hooked up, Bash gets the OK to fill that hole in his heart – if he can find the right woman. And the right woman just happens to be Emerson Elliot, a damaged woman with a dark history who is simply looking for a friend (although she has had a crush on the Bash for years . . .)

Bash himself is a pure joy as a character. Lighthearted, big, and goofy, he considers himself to be stupid, and is embarrassed about it, but his heart is so very good, and he is so sweet, you can’t help fall in love with him and wish he were yours. And actually? Well, Bash isn’t as stupid as he has been led to believe, and you will have to read the book to truly enjoy the layers he reveals.

The romance is here, just as expected, but there is a lot more to like about this series than just snuggles. Joyce addresses serious issues of prejudice, race hatred, nasty politics and more. The Boarlander series promises to be much more than just another Shifter Romance.

I have received books from T.S. Joyce in the past in exchange for a realistic review. I am not sure if I received this one for free, so I will just say that I have received books in the past in exchange for a realistic review and this one may or may not be one of those, but how I received the books has no impact on any of my reviews.

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