Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Darwin's Children (Darwin's Children #1) by Natasha Larry

Darwin's Children (Darwin's Children, #1) 

Book: Darwin's Children (Darwin's Children #1)
Author: Natasha Larry
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing 
Rating: 4 Stars
Level: Young Adult
Source: e-book review copy

Summary from Goodreads:
 Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening – especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!

Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie’s mom’s MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in ‘trainer,’ is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie’s godfather John is more than persuasive – he can literally convince anyone to do anything.

As far as the rest of the world’s concerned, Jaycie’s on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie’s pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with ‘normal’ kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control – and that’s her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of…

Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose!

My Review:
The description drew me in when I was first asked to read and review Darwin's Children. I really enjoyed reading it. It's not your typical urban fantasy. This just has somewhat of a different vibe.

Jaycie lives in a small town and goes to a private school. She only seems to have one friend, Matt whom she has been friends with since she was a child. Her family is not the typical family and they all have superhuman powers. While working at a local bookstore Jaycie meets and befriends Haylee. At the time neither one of them know what Haylee can do. As the story goes on we learn more about each character and some things about their past. Haylee's is the most disturbing and it made me sick to read it. Each character seems to have their own thing going on sometimes at the same time. The author does a great job at mixing everything together though.

I loved Jaycie's personality, she has some snark and sassiness to her. I liked her and Matt's relationship although I hope some things change in the next book. Allison is just so cool, I love her powers and how interacts with each one. There is friendship, romance, family, action, adventure and even some vampires. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading what happens next. This e-book was provided to me by the author for review. This did not affect my review in any way.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Release: A Zebra Like Me by Amy Maurer Jones

Today is A Zebra Like Me's Book Birthday!

Maybelle Dawson longs for normalcy and belonging. Often misunderstood, she struggles with a rare disorder, labeling her a Medical Zebra.

Maybelle’s happiness and well-being threaten to slip through her fingers as she battles to take control of her life. She faces a never-ending battle on her journey to find love, courage and friendship in a world lacking acceptance.

With the guidance of her guardian angel, Maybelle finds her way out of emotional and physical isolation to discover lasting love and amazing friendships.

A Zebra Like Me is the story of one teenager’s battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder affecting one in five thousand people.

About the Author

Amy Maurer Jones has been happily married to her own version of Edward Cullen for sixteen years. She lives in the small town of Tabor City, North Carolina (close to the North and South Carolina shore) with her husband Kelly and their two beautiful children, Olivia and Keaton.

Amy loves reading and writing Young Adult because she finds young people inspiring. She appreciates how teens are able to look at the world with a fresh perspective and willingly open their minds to the endless possibilities that life has to offer. She particularly enjoys writing strong heroines who face problems head on, learn, grow and mature into the type of people who do the right thing.

When Amy isn't reading and writing, she teaches high school theater arts and dance. To say that Amy has a flare for all things creative would be an understatement, just don't ask her to assemble anything that requires instructions or sadly, you will be out of luck!

Favorite quote:
"You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost." ~ Martha Graham



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Author's Note
A Zebra Like Me is a work of fiction but Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and the message in this story are very real. I have EDS and I’ve learned to live with this disease. Sadly, much of my battle has been seeking compassion and finding acceptance from those who don’t understand it. My mission in publishing this book is two-fold.
1 – Awareness – I aim to educate people about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I’m a teacher and through my teaching I’ve learned the best lessons are learned in unexpected ways. I hope my readers will gain a better understanding of this disease through the fictional world I created for Maybelle. There are people like her all over the world. Some EDS patients’ symptoms are less severe than Maybelle’s, some are worse. You may know someone with EDS and not even realize it.
2 – Self Empowerment – I want other people with EDS to know they are not alone. There are support groups and resources online that can help you learn how to cope with this disease. Don’t give up on a normal life. Learn how to avoid injuries and the external hazards that trigger your issues. Find hobbies that are safe, fun, and relieve stress. Surround yourself with positive people and avoid or tune out the people who can’t or won’t support you. Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Need Help? The Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation is just a click away.

Fast Facts about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
“Individuals with EDS have a defect in their connective tissue, the tissue that provides support to many body parts such as the skin, muscles and ligaments.”
The fragile skin and unstable joints found in EDS are the result of faulty collagen. Collagen is a protein, which acts as a “glue” in the body, adding strength and elasticity to connective tissue.”
“There are six major types of EDS, each classified according to their manifestations of signs and symptoms.”
“Clinical manifestations of EDS are most often joint and skin related and may include: joint hypermobility; loose/unstable joints prone to dislocation and/or subluxation; joint pain; early onset of osteoarthritis, fragile skin that tears or bruises easily, slow and poor wound healing and much more.”
“EDS can also be associated with rare and/or serious conditions such as tethered cord, cervical cranial instability, cranial settling, dural ectasia and chiari malformation.”
“In many cases those with EDS do not respond to local anesthetic properly or at all. This may mean complete failure of the anesthetic to freeze the intended area, a much lower amount of numbness, or a much shorter duration of effect.”
“EDS is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder (apart from types 6 and 7C) meaning if a parent has the disorder they have a 50/50 percent chance of passing it onto each child they have. Not everyone with EDS inherits the disorder from a parent. It is estimated that about half of those with EDS received it via what’s known as ‘spontaneous mutation’.”
“Currently EDS is estimated to occur in 1 out of every 5000 births worldwide, equally effecting men and women of every race and ethnicity.”
“Possible dental manifestations of EDS include a high palate, crowded teeth, gum disease and hypermobile tongue. Those with EDS are also more prone to cavities as well as weakness of both the enamel and tooth roots.”
“EDS can cause chronic debilitating pain throughout the entire body. Whether from chronic, repeated joint subluxations and dislocations or degenerative joint disease, this is often easily the most difficult aspect of daily life with EDS.”
“EDS can cause several gastrointestinal complications with one of the more serious being gastroparesis (partial paralysis of the stomach). This condition causes food to remain in the stomach for longer than normal, preventing the stomach from emptying entirely.”
“EDS carries many of the same and/or similar symptoms of several other genetic connective tissue disorders such as Marfan Syndrome and Loeys-Dietz Syndrome. It is not uncommon to have what appears to be a mix of more than one tissue disorder or for your diagnosis to change later in life from one to the other as more symptoms appear and more is learned about these conditions.”
“EDS can affect endless parts of the body, but has ‘variable expression,’ so each person is affected differently, even within the same family. While there are features that are frequently seen in many people with the disorder not all people will exhibit these features.”
“Connective tissue can surprisingly also be found in the bones and blood as well as being the glue that holds the body together inside and out. Collagen alone is found in tendons, ligaments, skin, the cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the gut, and intervertebral discs. All of this helps explain the endless possible complications and outcomes of EDS.”

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: Blinded (Tenderfoot #2) by Amy Tupper

Book: Blinded (Tenderfoot #2)
Author: Amy Tupper
Publisher: Amy Tupper
Rating: 3.5 stars
Level: New Adult
Source: e-book Review Copy

Summary from Amazon:
Heart, hand, and sword - that's what I promised Jules.
I was nineteen years old. What did I know?

Sure, I'd noticed Jules was slightly unusual. Like she always knew where I was and how I felt. Yeah, it was odd, but it was also kind of romantic. One day, I'd even caught her fighting telepathically with Nick, her trainer. Not that I was surprised, because she was different from other girls - and who wouldn't find something to fight about with that guy? Frankly, the only one who needed training was him, starting with manners and ending with butting out. But Jules made it clear they were a package deal and that was that.

Then a creature from Nick's past attacks Jules. She won't rouse from sleep, her coma a reaction to a magic spell. It gets worse. She pulls me into her dreams - old memories that reveal her secrets. I fear Jules might be alone in them forever unless we find a way to remove the magic dagger wrapped around her wrist.

There's only one thing I can do.

Get in the car with Nick and pray we get help in time...

Told from Andrew's point of view, this New Adult Urban Fantasy story explores the depths of love, anger, and college-age friendship. 

My Review:
Blinded is told from Andrew’s point of view.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised while reading this one.  I enjoyed reading the first book Tenderfoot but Blinded I enjoyed a little more.  Action, adventure, suspense and romance comes together to make a great sequel.

Andrew has been waiting all summer to get to see Jules again.  So when he goes to a park to meet her he is shocked to find her in a coma like state with a dagger wrapped around her wrist.  Nick is never far behind when it comes to Jules.  Together Andrew and Nick put Jules in the car and head on 30+ hour trip across the country to get help for Jules.  Nick has a friend that will be able to remove the magic spell dagger that is wrapped around Jules wrist and awaken her from her magical coma. 

Throughout the trip most of the story focuses on Nick and Andrew’s conversation.  It is an interesting and sometimes humorous time.  We learn a lot about Nick’s life and his past.  There are also multiple times that Andrew is able to connect with Jules in her memories.  Sometimes it’s a memory and other times they are able to talk freely.  It was an interesting element added to the story.  There is some mature content (some graphic sex) at the end of the book.  Overall I would give this 3.5 stars.  This is an author whose books I will continue to read in the future.  

This e-book was provided to me by the author for review.  This did not affect my review in any way.

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Purchase the book:  Amazon