05 March 2018

Book Review: Zodiac Shifters #18: Passionate Roar: Leo

Title: Zodiac Shifters #18: Passionate Roar: Leo
Author: Solease M. Barner
Publishing Date: 25 July 2017
Kindle Publishing
Pages: 89
Story Line Concept: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dialogue: ⭐️⭐️
Flow: ⭐️
Story Development: Zero

**Spoiler Alert**

This is the story of Landon, King of a pride of lions, who also happens to be the Zodiac Leo, and Davina, a lioness abandoned as a child, who raised herself mostly on the streets. She turns out to be a whole lot of special. Landon runs in to Davina while he is on his way home to his pride. The pride elders have told him he must choose a mate or loose his Kingship. Landon will not allow it, and heads home to tell them all to shove their heads up their ass. On the way, he stops at a diner, and Davina is there working. Once he sees her, he pretty much forces her to come home with him. He has a hard on for her the whole trip, but they don’t do anything until he is home. Then they just kind of fall into a sexual relationship. All of a sudden, there is this prophecy that declares Davina the Zodiac lioness because of her special coloring. The prophecy stated she would be abandoned and raised away from the pride, only to find her mate in the Zodiac Leo. Apparently, her parents abandoned her because they knew of and believed this prophecy. Davina must also fight other lioness in order to get to mate her Leo. The entire story is first person, switching between Landon and Davina.

Okay, I will say this story line had serious potential, and no actualization. OMG! It was seriously the most painful Zodiac Shifters story I have read; actually make that the most painful book I’ve read in a long time. There were the obvious typos, but while that usually takes from a story, the writing in this was so bad that it didn’t even matter that there were typos. The flow was awkward at best. The love story between Davina and Landon made absolutely no sense. They meet, he essentially kidnaps her which she hates, she doesn’t want to be part of the pride, he doesn’t want to mate with anyone, then they have sex which is orgasmic for both of them. He thenabandons her for the day, she gets pissed, he apologizes, they have sex again, and he finally stays the night with her. The next morning his mom expects her to start cooking his meals for him, then there is this prophecy, then he tells her she must fight for him with other lionesses from the pride because he let his mouth run when he shouldn’t have. She absolutely refuses to fight and tries to figure out a way to leave, but the very next day she is totally fine with fighting for him. She gets poisoned by one of the females during the fight, and as a result comes in to her powers and burns that female to death. Then they mate, get pregnant, and of course, they will live happily ever after. Oh, and he brings her her parents, and all is forgiven even though she has spent her whole life hating them for abandoning her, but of course, it is fine, because the prophecy said so. 

I know this is fiction, but come on! The basic premise of this story has a lot of promise. The idea of it could have been taken and made into an amazing story. Instead, it’s a haphazard plot of events that make no sense. The characters lack any depth to themselves. Landon is at best an arrogant ass, and Davina has absolutely no personality. Yes, it was a very short piece of work. At only 89 pages, I would even categorize it as a short story rather than a novel, maybe a short novella, however, it’s absolutely no excuse for such poor quality of writing being actually published.

Some may say this is a rather harsh review, and it is by far the worst I’ve had to give. That makes me so sad, because when I review or edit a manuscript, the first thing I want to highlight are the positives of the piece. Second, is to address basics, like grammar or simple typos. Lastly, to engage and pick apart the actual plot and flow of the story to help an author bring about their absolute best. When I wrote, the hardest part for me was being criticized, and so I always take that memory into every book I read and review. It’s why I haven’t been reviewing the books I read for a long time. Reviewing now is an exercise in personal growth for me. I really wanted to like this book. From the very beginning, though it was hard, because Landon from the start is simply not a personable character. The first person viewpoint is awkward. I’m not saying that this author is a lost cause, no way! This story really does have potential. Some simple alterations could really help the flow and outcome of the entire story. One, start with the prophecy, even if the characters themselves are unaware of it at first, make sure the audience is. Second, Landon is too arrogant for first person, at least if you want anyone to really like him. Davina, as a character, needs more depth, and she needs to freaking pick a lane. She is so flip floppy; I wouldn’t want her to rule anything! Those are just some basic alterations that would take a book that is okay at best, to great. Want it to be amazing, it needs to be longer, more detailed, and edited. 

04 March 2018

Book Review: Zodiac Shifters: Phoenix Under Fire & Dragon in Distress

Title: Zodiac Shifters #7: Phoenix Under Fire: Ares
Author: Crystal Dawn
Publish Date: 21 March 2017
Independently published EBook
Pages: 153
Story Line Concept: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
        Dialogue: ⭐️
        Flow: ⭐️⭐️
        Story Development: ⭐️⭐️


This book is the story of Annie and Ram. Annie is an accomplished witch from a long bloodline of powerful witches. She is the eldest daughter in her family, and her father is “king” of the witches. A seer has seen a great battle in the future between evil and the paranormal world. Annie’s father is determined to solidify alliances to save his people. He’s decided his first daughter will be first, and lines up a marriage for her. Problems, the man he’s chosen is her sisters fated mate, and she has absolutely no desire to be married to either of her father’s choices. So, what’s a witch to do. On the advice of her mother, she spells for her fated mate. 

Ram wakes up one morning with sand in all sorts of places and completely naked. Not knowing how on earth he has appeared on the beach in his birthday suit, he quickly steals some clothes and makes his way toward Orlando, which lucky for him, isn’t too far away, and one of the locations of headquarters for Phoenix International, which is his family company. Oh, and big shock, he’s a Phoenix shifter. Of course, he and his friend choose to contact the witches to figure out what kind of spell could have gotten him there. And of course, Annie shows up. Yup, you got it, they are fated mates. 

Now the two must navigate the political crapfest that is her father’s world, and of course take on this new evil uprising. Ram just dives in, and finds answers that are right there, and starts to act. Among all this, the two fall in love, endure mating behind her father’s back, taking away his bargaining power, a disgustingly over the top engagement ball, and of course an equally extravagant wedding. Oh, and make some in roads in the war on the evil Hubolla.

Now, really, the premise of this story is actually pretty good. I don’t really see how it fits into the rest of the Zodiac Shifters series that all these authors have put together, because other than defining their personalities by their zodiac sign, that’s really the only part that has anything to do with the zodiac. This story really has great potential. 

The dialogue throughout the book is awkward at best. It’s like robots talking. However, it is much better than the first time I read the book, right after it’s release. This is the second edition. The storyline is still very stilted. The first time I read it, I remember thinking it was more outline of a story than an actual story. Some of the flow is better this second edition, but it does still need some work. The climax just seems to happen, but it’s so ineffectual as a climax, you better be seriously paying attention, or you may wonder what on earth has just happened. There were also too many typos, however, like I said before the improvement here from the first time I read is notable. 

I really wanted to just give this five stars, and when it comes to storyline concept, I can honestly do that, as long as I hadn’t read the second book in this particular world, by this author. Once I had read the second book, the storylines do not exactly match up, which makes it really confusing. Reading books with so much potential and not enough actualization, really makes me sad.

Title: Zodiac Shifters #19: Dragon in Distress: Virgo
Author: Crystal Dawn
Publishing date: 5 September 2017
Independently published EBook
Pages: 147
Story Line Concept: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dialogue: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Flow: No stars
Story Development: ⭐️


This story’s prologue is in the ending of the last book. This book goes into the story of Sophie and Knossos. Sophie is Annie’s cousin; their fathers are brothers. Knossos is a dragon who has been asleep for centuries, and the spell for Sophie’s mate, brings him to her in his dragon form still asleep. Of course, waking in a strange swamp wakes his grumpy ass up.

Sophie is a sweet girl. Apparently, she is as powerful as her cousin but completely untrained. This book reveals that her entire generation has been left without real training per Annie’s dads demands. Sophie has always been confined within the walls of her home, extremely sheltered. It’s only when her Uncle starts demanding she be married off that she gets Annie to spell for her fated mate. Once she meets him, suddenly, his attitude gives her a spine, and she seeks out a teacher and begins to learn her magic better. This personality swing for Sophie doesn’t really work. I can understand finally standing up for herself and seeking to learn, but the manner and cause of the change just seem too abrupt.

Knossos has been asleep for centuries and was supposed to be for centuries more. He’s actually King of the Dragons. He’s also a complete and total ass, at least as first. His personality seems to develop as it goes along. Apparently, first awakened dragons are seriously grumpy assholes. However, his transformation is weird. I don’t know what else to call it. At first, he has no desire to be with Sophie or to participate in the fight. Then he goes on a raid, and decides, okay I guess I can help fight evil, but Sophie is still to passive for him. Then his mom shows up, oh and she’s been Sophie’s family’s cook for all her life, and she puts Knossos in his place. He figures, okay, maybe I can give her a shot. He kisses her, and then can’t get enough of her.
I will say that the dialogue, as long as it wasn’t during the sex scenes, was better than the first book. Not truly natural, but much better than Phoenix Under Fire. During sex scenes, that goes out the window. Those are just awkward.

Once they are together, which makes no sense in the first place, the story gets even weirder. The plot and details make no sense sometimes. In the beginning it’s mentioned that Sophie is the way she is because she didn’t have siblings for a really long time unlike Annie, and as such was extremely sheltered. Then later, it states that her mom only had three kids, because she had three in under 10 years, and the last one was a boy giving them a true heir. So, which is it, because three kids in ten years is not that long to be “alone?”  Them getting together doesn’t even make sense. Sophie is so full of doubt because of the way he treats her, then they kiss, then they can’t keep away from one another, then they have sex, and everything is good to go from then on out. All her doubts seem to disappear, and neither one of them can keep their hands off one another. The sex scenes are sometimes sexy, sometimes, it’s all “must have you now, pound into you like a jackhammer, and of course, we both have fabulous orgasms.” 

The second glaringly weird storyline item that confused me was Hubolla himself. The first book, he was some name that was the leader of the evil guys, someone that his number two had spoken to and received orders from. This book, he’s still the head of the evil guys, but now he actually lives on another plane of existence, and hasn’t gotten enough power yet to make it to their world? His followers are doing the work in preparation for him, but I don’t get how. Then it’s suggested to get all his followers and send them to him, but this isn’t followed up. It just seemed an odd addition to the storyline. This happened a few times within the story where details were added but not expounded upon, which left me confused. Why add them? If it’s important enough to add, then to me it should make sense as to why it’s there, and so many of them didn’t.

Thirdly, when Knossos goes and meets with Annie’s dad, because of course Sophie’s dad is a major pushover, and leaves all negotiations for his daughter in the hands of his brother, Knossos thinks Annie’s dad is rude and weird. So, Knossos performs a spell on him, which reveals he’s actually been under an enchantment for many years, and this is the actual reason behind his behavior, like disbanding covens (which are centers of power) and choosing not to truly change the generation of their children. Okay, this spell seems to redeem Annie’s father, which is nice, because the guy was a serious asshole, but why wasn’t this alluded to in the first book. There was really no indication that the witches weren’t training their children to be powerful, just that they weren’t being trained in combat magic. I don’t know. Something this important, I feel, should have at least been alluded to earlier. It could have been a simple short quip about some alteration to his personality. I mean it seems as if he’s always been anal and demanding, but someone must have noticed something. I mean if a stranger can catch it right away, even if he is a powerful dragon, why didn’t anyone else?

As the story progressed, it got even worse. Events were plopped down on the page haphazardly; there was no flow. I’m still trying to figure out what and where the climax is, or is there several? Seriously, I’m walking away confused by this story, which is just so frustrating, because the story concept has so much potential. I had to give it no stars for flow, because it was simply too jerky.

Typos were also rampant through this one. Now, according to GoodReads, this is the second edition of this book, which actually terrifies me! If this is the improvement, I’m really glad I didn’t read it earlier. Am I sad I read it, no. It has so much potential. As a reader, though, there is nothing that saddens me more than to read something that has so much potential but that hasn’t actualized. Now, it’s to note that many independently published authors run in to this problem because of not having someone really edit their work, and I know that editors cost money, money they often do not have, but if you are going to publish like that, please, do not only have friends read through it. I don’t know if this book actually had a professional editor or not, and I know it’s hard to take criticism, really I do, but what any good editor wants, is to see an authors vision actualized. To see a story flow, dialogue to engage, and that fabulous story line you imagined to enliven every readers mind. 

19 January 2018

Quick Project

Whenever the cleaning lady comes, I keep out of her way, which means a detour from my big project. I love making these double thick potholders. I use Sugar n Cream cotton yarn, double the length, fold over and create a border. They are nice and thick to keep your hands safe. They are the best potholders I own. I never burn my hands, and the potholders themselves don’t get burn marks on them like my store bought ones. They are easily washed in the washing machine and last FOREVER! I’ll post some on my etsy page soon!

Example of one I have finished:

17 January 2018

Family projects and giveaways

I have had so much fun this past year with my projects. Most of the blankets I’ve made have been for family, my kids and hubby, and of course, myself. Those blankets are crib or twin/full size blankets, so they took some serious time. I also had fun making a bunch of hats and some scarves which I donated to a local shelter for children here in Kosovo. I wish I had had more done to give to them. I love making items, and taking the step to put some of those items up for sale was huge for me. I like being able to give to those who need them most. 

Here’s some of the items I’ve completed just last year (2017): Now, of course, these are only the items I remembered to take pictures of. ;) 

Crafting for Sale

So I’ve decided to go along with items I have made for my family or given away to charities, it was time to try and actually sell the items I love to make. I love keeping my hands busy, so I sit and crochet while I read and play with my little one. It’s a fun and engaging activity, and I love trying to come up with something unique. I’ve decided to name my shop after my youngest child, since she was such a fun and lively addition to our family, she inspires me to spread that. I also have loved coming up with something that is my signature. That would be what I have dubbed my “waterfall” pattern. I use it on almost all of my blankets. I love the feel it gives the quilts, and it’s something that I have loved playing with. My scarves do not hold the same pattern, simply because the yarn I choose is already bulky, and I found using it on scarves made them too stiff. I like a scarf to be warm and free. Please come and visit my etsy shop “BrennaBlanketsDesign.” Spread the word.

The following are the items currently for sale: *Shoot me any questions you may have, and please share with your friends!

13 November 2017

October Reads

October 2017


Alpha Bear Detective
Zoe Chant

Alpha Lion

The Bear Comes Home for Christmas

Bear Down

Bear Mechanic

The Bear with No Name

The Bear’s Christmas Bride

Bearly There

The Billionaire Jaguar’s Curvy Journalist

The Billionbear’s Bride

Bought by the Billionbear

The Christmas Dragon’s Mate

Country Star Bear

The Dragon Billionaire’s Secret Mate

The Griffin’s Mate

The Hawk and Her LumBEARjack

Healing Her Wolf

Bear with Me

Bear Watching

In the Billionbear’s Den

Joining the Jaguar

Kodiak Moment

Loved by the Lion

A Pair of Bear

Private Eye Bear’s Mate

Pursued by the Puma

*Shifter Kingdom

   1: Royal Guard

Six Pack Ranch
Vivian Arend
   1: Rocky Mountain Heat

   2: Rocky Mountain Haven

   3: Rocky Mountain Desire

   4: Rocky Mountain Angel

   4.1: Making Memories

   5: Rocky Mountain Rebel

   5.1: Never Too Far

   6: Rocky Mountain Freedom

   6.1: Home Building

   6.2: Rubber Boot Romance

   7: Rocky Mountain Romance

   8: Rocky Retreat

   9: Rocky Mountain Shelter

   9.1: Lights & Secrets

   10: Rocky Mountain Devil

   11: Rocky Mountain Home

Thompson & Sons

   1: Ride Baby Ride

   2: Rocky Ride

   3: One Sexy Ride

   4: Let It Ride

   5: A Wild Ride

Granite Lake Wolves

   1: Wolf Sign

   2: Wolf Flight

   3: Wolf Games

   4: Wolf Tracks

   5: Wolf Line

   6: Wolf Nip

Takhini Wolves

   1: Black Gold

   2: Silver Mine

   3: Diamond Dust

   4: Moon Shine

Takhini Shifters

   1: Copper King

   2: Laird Wolf

   3: A Lady’s Heart

Pier 70
Nicole Edwards
   1: Reckless

   2: Fearless

   3: Speechless

   4: Harmless

Caine Cousins

   1: Hard to Hold

   2: Hard to Handle

*Alien Huntress
Gena Showalter
   1: Awaken Me Darkly

   2: Enslave Me Sweetly

Books Read in October 2017

Books Read in 2017