Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Manatee the Service Dog in Training Update

As you know, at the beginning of the year, I started Manatee's in-store training and he got off to a rocky start transferring his training from just around the family and neighbours to around hundreds of people. Today is Manatee's 55th day of his in-store training year.
Last weekend, I had to go to the clinic for an allergy update, get my epipens refilled and some new medications to try. There was actually a little alcove in the waiting area of my new doctor's office and Manatee and I decided to wait there. He tucked himself out of the way, watching me, and, even though he got horribly bored, he still alerted to my anxiety and doing the first stage of interruption (in regular people speak, he noticed the first phase of my attack and he started nudging me and then pawing me to distract me from said attack). We went outside, I calmed down and we went back inside and they were ready for us to go into the patient room. When we went into the exam room, he waited patiently while I got my vitals done and then tucked himself into the corner out of everybody's way for the visit. He ignored the staff until I said it was okay to meet a nurse who was polite enough to ask to meet him after I was settled in and he was in 'chill mode'.
But really, please don't pet, even after asking.
A service dog is medical equipment like a wheelchair.
So unless you're planning to pet someone's wheelchair,
don't pet someone's service dog.
Anyways. To finish up at the clinic, I decided to let Manatee work on his exit skills. I've been training him to open doors in the event I shut down and he needs to get us outside away from the populace. He had a little trouble with the door since it was heavier than the bathroom door we'd been working with but he managed. Overall, Manatee did great at the clinic.
I took advantage of his good training session and decided to extend it to going to Publix fill the prescriptions so I wouldn't die if I encountered one of my million and one allergies. Because grocery stores make me nervous with my eating issues, I don't like this training part, but it's a must. He was great, he ignored the people staring, blocked while I was distracted getting us fruit, and steered me away from the peanut display, something we'd only ever practised once. There were vets doing the poppies bit outside and the sweet guys helped me put poppies on Manatee's jacket and complimented us on how well he did crossing the parking lot. 
I trained him to look both ways before crossing on the crosswalk, so he blocked me at the start of the crosswalk, looked both ways, waited for a car to stop at the sign before unblocking and walking with me.
As a reward, we went over to our Starbucks and got him a munchkin-sized caramel frappucinno. Echo, our favourite barista, tucked some fruit into it for him as an extra treat.
Later that Saturday, I decided to take him in again to pick up my prescriptions. And he was even better. There was another service dog team in the store (a woman I know but Manatee doesn't) and he gave them a casual glance while we walked past and then ignored them the rest of the time. He waited patiently in a standing block while we were in line at the pharmacy counter and ignored the people staring at us. He tucked himself under the counter out of the way (something he's had problems with) and waited for me to finish up. Then he found the truck for me when we were outside.
Such an amazing day!

Coffeehound
So this past Saturday, I decided to take the coffeehound to Starbucks first thing. He did AMAZING. He standing blocked in line and didn't get nosy and tucked himself out of the way while we waited for our order, not under the table yet, but he's taller than the tables anyways. He tucked himself between my feet and sit-stayed until the order was ready. He had no problems with the million different sounds or the people walking by with coffee. I took him back to Publix for more in-store training. We worked on down-stays in the empty aisles and turnwork, his two biggest training problems. Totally ignored the couple with the half-dozen kids who were wanting to pet the doggy and gawked at him through 2 aisles, and steered me away from the peanut area of the produce section. He ignored the intercom this time when it came on. And, we decided to tackle the register lines (a big panic thing for me). He did a full down-stay block (which he struggles with so much) the whole time and ignored the cooing from the woman behind us. I even dropped the leash to unload the cart and he remained in the down-stay. (So excited to see it transfer from pet-friendly spaces to actual working situations!!)
I made our first Chewy order and it arrived very quickly. It's loaded with a bunch of different treats for the dogs that are all allergen-free. No tomatoes, no passion fruit, no peanuts! Chewy is great because it lists all of the ingredients of a product so for allergy-laden dogs and their owners can avoid anything bad for them. I also picked up some fancy meat treats for Manatee's in-store training so he understands that in-store work is special.


This week will be another medical appointment (because I'm blind as a bat) and then a few training sessions at Sam's Club, Target, and Publix. Wish us luck, dear readers! Until next time, have a happily ever after!

Friday, 9 February 2018

ARC Review of Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle

Survive the Night
by Katie Ruggle
Book Three of Rocky Mountain K9 Unit
Published by Sourcebooks on 6 February 2018
Source - Edelweiss+
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
🔥🔥
"He's always been a haven: For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he'll do more than heal her battered spirit―he'll defend her with his life.
K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe's very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he's never been in love.
Until he meets Sarah Clifton's haunted eyes. Until he realizes he'll do anything to save her.
All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there's no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth...but he'd never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah's finally ready to face whatever comes her way.
It's time to take a stand."
Books A MillioniBooksIndie BoundKobo



I received a copy of Survive the Night by Jackie May from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. The following review is reflective of my opinions and mine alone.
Alice Blanchett is the not-at-all beloved sister of crime lord, Aaron Blanchett and she is so used to having nobody on her side that when she receives a note in her dry cleaning telling her to be ready to escape, she doesn't dare to hope because who would be willing to go against her brother. But when her brother promises her to a cruel man to gain favour and form a partnership with an even bigger crime family, she hopes against hope that her unknown saviour will come through. Amidst the bombardment of her home, help comes in the unlikely form of her brother's associate who whisks her away and provides her with a new name and safe passage to a welcoming safe house.
Otto Gunnerson is every animal's best friend, always going out of his way to help an animal in need. When he meets his friend's new housemate, Sarah Clifton, he's speechless. And then awkward, then speechless again, and then awkward again. When Otto comes to Sarah's rescue one day, he offers up his underground bunker to the woman that's captivated him and rendered him tongue-tied.
Otto Gunnerson is really my ideal male gender mate. He's adorably awkward when presented with a woman he finds attractive and he'll bend over backwards to help an animal in need as you can tell the moment you meet him climbing up a dilapidated windmill to rescue a kitten for his friend's little sister. In addition to the rescued kitten, he's also taking care of a frightened horse, a neglected goat, and a litter of orphaned puppies, which turns out to be his 'in' to getting to know Sarah Clifton. Sarah (previously called Alice) is wary of men in general and while she's attracted to the viking-lumberjack LEO, she's also hesitant to get involved with Otto because she knows sooner or later she'll have to disappear again to stay ahead of her brother and pseudo fiance. But Sarah and Otto cannot ignore the heavy attraction building between them and finally decide to make the most of it while things are calm and before Sarah has to leave for parts unknown.
When war comes to Monroe, the ties that bind are tested and lives will be lost. What does the future hold for Sarah and Otto?
Survive the Night was my first approval on Edelweiss and I'm so very glad I was approved for it. I actually finished reading it back in January and was so reluctant to write this review because I didn't want to say 'goodbye' to it. I mean, I kept coming up with excuse after excuse not to finish writing it. I reorganised my books six different times in four weeks, I decided to learn Korean, I bingewatched Dollhouse and some Korean shows on Hulu and Netflix, I made pancakes, pretty much anything I could do to prolong my relationship with Survive the Night. That's why I'm going to warn y'all right now before we go any further. You will get emotionally invested.
From the very beginning readers will become attached to Alice as she endures her abusive life with her older brother, the head of a small crime family. When Alice is manhandled by the twisted creep that her brother chose as her betrothed as a means to attaching himself to a much larger criminal family, I wanted to raze the entire fictional country to the ground. I actually got a bit loud celebrating the explosive entrance her rescuer has at her bedroom window one night and I cheered Alice on as she climbed the roof then rappelled down the other side of the house, and holding my breath and biting a hole in my lip as she passed her brother's office. I chewed my thumbnail down to the quick as Alice struggled up the ravine with her 'bodyguard' and thoughts of what her brother would do if said 'bodyguard' caught her pushing her onward. When Alice, now called Sarah, meets Otto, the awkwardly adorable meeting made me feel embarrassed. With every awkward interaction between Otto and Alice, I was overwhelmed by their adorkable factor. And as the story progressed, I started morphing into one of those really wild ship fangirls that you see on tumblr. 
Alice and Otto are both well-developed characters, adding their love story to the series and reintroducing couples from earlier in the series that will worm their way into your hearts and make you want to read their stories as well. You will fall in love with the mischievous twins, Ty and Tio, and want to fight Sam's demons for him. You will cheer Alice/Sarah as she becomes more and more sure of herself. But you'll also find yourself hoping she'll leave Monroe so you can have Otto all to yourself. My favourite part was how detailed Ms Ruggle was in her research for how to care for orphaned puppies. It reminded me of the days when I was bottlefeeding Manatee and Ozymandias' litter, an event that actually saved my life nearly 9 years ago. Here's a photo of the litter a day old with their bio mum, also named Maggie! No, Maggie did not own a dog named Maggie, let's just say that Otto was made for me.
Survive the Night is an emotional read all-around. I laughed at the kids' antics, I cried at sad animal moments (no animals were harmed or killed so don't worry), I nearly died laughing during the bull elk scene. The buildup of the final act had me looking like a strange cross between a caterpillar (a woolly bear, if you must imagine it) and a blanket burrito gone horribly awry. I'm avoiding telling you the entire plot even though I want to gush and gush and gush, but I won't. You'll need to grab a copy of your own to find out what happens to Alice and Otto.
I cannot properly express how intense the emotions were that I felt reading Survive the Night. Ms Ruggle truly knows how to keep a reader wrapped up in their blanket burrito waiting with bated breath with every turn of the page.
In the end, I'm giving Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle 2 flames for the sexy times and 5 out of 5 stars. That's right. FIVE STARS. I devoured this book in a few hours one night. After I had finished it, I immediately went to the kindle store and bought the first two books of the series and the first book of her other series because I needed more!



A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.
You can connect with Katie on her website, her Goodreads, her Facebook, or on her Twitter.


Let me know your thoughts on Survive the Night. Like this post, share it, comment, donate to the ASPCA, whatever. Until next time, my darling readers, have a happily ever after!

Monday, 5 February 2018

ARC Review of Her Devoted Hero

Her Devoted Hero
by Caitlyn O'Leary
Book Two of the Black Dawn series
Publishing Date - 25 September 2017
Publisher - Passionately Kind Publishing
Source - Publisher via NetGalley
🌟🌟🌟 Navy SEAL Dex Evans has a problem. His buddies think it’s a riot when they sign him up for a dating service behind his back. But who would have thought that with a profile like SailorBoy69 he’d snag a woman who was hysterically funny and gorgeous. Too bad she was also skittish as all hell. Dex fears that when she finds out his profile was a set-up, his happily ever after could sink to the bottom of the ocean. 

Single mother, Kenna Wright was in way over her head. She’d spent years putting her child first while ignoring her needs. So what was she thinking responding to the flirtatious email? Luckily for her, when she is stuck on a project with Dex, he’s even better in person than he’d been on his online profile. But can she believe this sexy SEAL when he says he’s looking for more than a fling? 

When one of her co-workers is murdered and it looks like Kenna might be the next one in the killer’s crosshairs, Dex is determined to keep her safe. But with a target on her back, it’s really hard to keep a shield over her heart.




KoboNook



I received a copy of Her Devoted HERO from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The following opinions are mine and mine alone.
Dex is a Navy SEAL who never thought he'd be victim to a dating profile prank, but he was. After he and his teammates prank a fellow SEAL team, he's signed up for a dating site as SailorBoy69 by his counterpart on the second team. When he gets back from assignment, he's greeted with a flooded inbox from responses to 'winks' that SailorBoy69 had sent out. To every woman in the tricounty area. Being a gentleman, he replied to each and every single message, explaining the prank profile. When he reaches the final one, he's intrigued enough to ignore the prank and reply to Poppy (Kenna).
The self-deprecating single mom works two jobs, one a nurse and one a personal assistant to a silver screen actress. In her initial email, and all the ones to follow, she cuts herself down and tells SailorBoy69 all the reasons why he should just ignore her message. When Dex continues emailing her and informs Poppy that he's really and truly in it for the long haul, she breaks things off and deletes her account. That's when Dex gets a little stalkerish, he contacts her boss and pleads his case. Rosalie, being the romantic she is, pounces and sets things up. Almost immediately after Dex convinces Kenna to give him a real chance, Kenna picks up an extreme stalker. Dex forgets the whole 'budding relationship' status of his connection with Kenna and kind of takes over her whole existence after that.
I was happily surprised that I wasn't able to figure out the whodunnit factor, which is a certifiable feat for any writer that can stump me like Ms O'Leary did. And I totally understood Kenna's need to stress clean through her ordeal, I've actually broken into my grandmother's church in the middle of the night and cleaned every inch of the place because I was upset.
What put me off? I wasn't impressed with how easily Kenna capitulated to Dex's massive alpha complex after the initial rebellion. It had promise but Kenna seesaws between 'help me, I can't do a thing' and 'I don't need nobody' and I felt as if I'd develop whiplash if she continued the back and forth. I was disappointed that once they became intimate the story became secondary information. Kenna is asked early in the book for a favour from a friend and she completely forgets halfway through said favour because of boy-brain. And it paints her as a vapid woman the way she does a complete character remix for a guy. The author introduced a bevy of important characters and did nothing for their character building. We learn which of Dex's teammates drives what vehicle and they get a few lines and two references to past incidences. But other than that, they were nonexistent.
Overall, I'm going to give Her Devoted Hero 3 stars because I could see the story coming alive and I was held captive with suspense, but Kenna was just a hot mess and most of the characters lacked depth. And let's not talk about the whodunnit. I mean, points for stumping me, but come on!






Caitlyn O’Leary is an avid reader, and considers herself a fan first and an author second. She reads a wide variety of genres, but finds herself going back to happily-ever-afters. Getting a chance to write, after years in corporate America is a dream come true. She hopes that her stories provide the kind of entertainment and escape that she has found from some of her favorite authors.
Her Series Include:
THE FOUND: It’s a bit Paranormal, a bit Sci-Fi and 100% Action/Adventure. The characters have special abilities, that make them targets.
MIDNIGHT DELTA This is focused on a group of Navy Seals. What makes them special is their bond to one another, and the women they come to love.
FATE HARBOR This is the series that started her career, it is a Menage Series that takes place in Fate Harbor Washington. It focuses on a tight knit community who live and love and care for one another.
She loves to hear from her readers. caitlyn@caitlynoleary.com
You can follow Miss O'Leary on FacebookGoodreadsGoogle+Pinterest, and on Twitter.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Her Devoted Hero! Leave a comment, share the post, like it, donate to World Wildlife Foundation, whatever.
Until next time, darling readers, have a happily ever after!






Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Beau & The Belle by RS Grey ★ Release Day Blitz

I'm honoured to participate in the Release Day Book Blitz for The Beau & The Belle by RS Grey. Happy Book Birthday, Miss Grey!

THE BEAU & THE BELLE by R.S. Grey is available now! Don't miss your chance to get your hands on this new romantic comedy - read for free with Kindle Unlimited or grab it for just $2.99!

 

About THE BEAU & THE BELLE

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.
I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.
That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.
A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.
Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.
Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.
My old friend, Mr. Fortier.
But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.
When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.
Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.
Add THE BEAU & THE BELLE to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on THE BEAU & THE BELLE now:

 

About R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com