Saturday, 18 January 2020

Review of Tactical Heart by S.K. Rose

Tactical Heart by S.K. Rose
Published 22 August 2019

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.
Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …
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*at the time of this posting, this book is available via Kindle Unlimited

Tactical Heart was a one-night wonder for me as it quickly drew me in with it's unique storyline. It features two die-hard gamers who are set up on a blind date by one gamer's sister and her boyfriend (the other gamer's roommate), add in a heaping helping of tropes that we can't help but love - insta-love,"I hate him, but I love him, but I...", and the like, and a smidgen of cosplay dorkdom (who doesn't want to dress up like an elf?), and you have Tactical Heart.
Scar was an enjoyable character to read, I've been gaming for decades now (I am a crone) and to see a female gamer as the protag in a romance was a major "hells yeah" moment. Not only does SK Rose give us a relatable hardcore gamer who lives and dies by the stats, but she also puts the misogyny female gamers face into the book in a believable manner. In today's gaming community as women make it more and more known that we, too, enjoy a game, we get a lot of blowback from misogynists and hardcore gamers who think women ruin the gaming industry. I've been there, faced that, so, when Scar goes off on Kane as she well should, I'm right there because dude deserves that mess. (nope, no spoilers)
I'm a newfound fan of SK Rose and I hope y'all join me in her fandom (also, her author fan group is hilarious and if you become a fan, I highly suggest you come join). I'm recommending you check out Tactical Heart if you're a gamer or just a non-gamer nerd (I don't discriminate) and enjoy reading a romance packed with gaming and goofball goodness and hearty competition. There is parental strife, fiscal issues, and a bit of recreational marijuana consumption, so if those are sensitive issues you'd like to avoid, this might not be a book for you.
Overall, I'm giving Tactical Heart all my 5 stars and a mellow 3 flames and fangirling over the nerdiness of this book. I hope y'all take a moment to check this book out because, I loved it and I hope you do too!


S.K. Rose lives in the hellish desert of Arizona with her newly appointed husband and two obnoxious cats. When she’s not writing, She enjoys reading, gaming, swearing like a drunk sailor, collecting swords, and obsessing over the magnificent sea creature: the octopus.


I'm currently looking for a new service dog (prospect), so I'm going to be putting together posts leading up to that and then, I'm going to make a series surrounding training and all once I've found my new canine partner. I see a lot of misinformation floating around out there now and when I was a kid, my mom and my doctors tried so hard to get me a service dog but nobody knew how to. So I want to fix that problem for others in the future. I know it's not a book thing, but it's a me thing.
For this review, I'm choosing New Horizons Service Dogs, a local training organisation that I'm familiar with that's trained a lot of amazing dogs Manatee and I've met in our adventures. They do a lot of good work and donations to New Horizons help alleviate costs for the program, including for disabled persons in great need of service dogs who are on a tight budget (the cost of a trained service dog is several thousand dollars). As always, if you're of a mind and a means to donate, this non-profit would greatly benefit from contributions.
Until next time, dear readers, have a happily ever after!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Review of The Blacksmith Queen by G.A.Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
The Scarred Earth Saga #1
Published 27 August 2019
by Kensington Publishing

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.
Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …




I chose to make The Blacksmith Queen my first review of the year because, why not start the year off with one of my all-time favourite authors? G.A. Aiken also writes as my personal deity, Shelly Laurenston. That's right, y'all, my precious. In keeping with her usual style of weaving romance in with comedy and bloodshed, The Blacksmith Queen is an excellent launch to Laurenston/Aiken's new series in her Dragonkin world.
The characters we're given in The Blacksmith Queen are, as usual, hilariously dramatic and nonchalantly violent. Keeley has a freaking hammer that she swings around like it's a feather pillow and takes a dude's head off with it. Cousin Keran's a retired member of a fighters' guild. Keeley's mum gets bored whilst preggers and builds things for the farm. I can't even begin to get started with Gemma, just y'all. Come on! And that's just the Smythe family. There's also Keeley and Gemma's father Angus and his brother, Archie, who need a family counsellor (there is no shame in that, that's healthy). And finally there are the Amichai, Caid, Laila, and Quinn all of the Scarred Earth Clan, who make me cackle.
Some of the things I loved most about The Blacksmith Queen were the demonic wolves, I love them and I want one. They're so loyal to Keeley, it's so beautiful! I loved how G.A. Aiken brought up a special deity connection again, because I loved that in the Dragonkin books. I like the absurdity of the Aiken & Laurenston books, they're great for reading after a bad week or when you're stressing out over something or hiding in your closet from your anxiety (hey, I don't judge you...). One thing I disliked about this book was the naming system. I just really freaking hate occupation = surname. My last name translates to the verb "kill". That means that way back in the past somebody decided that someone in my family was good at killing. And my family has had this name for centuries. A bunch of people, known for killing. Okay, I just really hate that naming system, it's not the book's fault. It's my murderous ancestor's fault. But honestly, I'm glad that our civilisation has grown past that.
But the story is not just laughs and giggles, there is heartbreak and hapless adventure and an obsession with working metal that normal folks just won't understand. You will encounter acts of vengeance and acts of betrayal in this story that you won't expect and some you will.
Now, as per usual, I have content warnings for you! If you feel that forewarned is forearmed, all you need to do is click the reveal button and you have the content and trigger warnings. As always, please practise care in your readings if any of these might be problematic for you, and if you have any questions about them, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about them!


Overall, I'm giving all of my 5 stars and 2 flames for heat to The Blacksmith Queen. I always love reading G.A. Aiken and Shelly Laurenston, no matter which pen name I'm reading, and I can't wait to read her next book! Thank you to Kensington Publishing for the finished copy, I now I have two copies so I can read one and lend it if I wish and one pretty one for my shelves. Readers, if you're looking for an entertaining read that you can lose yourself in, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken lives on the West Coast and spends most of her time writing and making sure her rescued Pittie doesn’t love everyone into a coma. When she’s not writing about sexy dragons, she’s writing about sexy wolf, lion, tiger, and other fang-filled predators under the name Shelly Laurenston. Find out more about this New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors books at Shelly Laurenston Website.

Social Media include:: Aiken Facebook Page|Facebook Group|Laurenston Facebook Page

Other books by G.A. Aiken or Shelly Laurenston I've reviewed include::
Hot & Badgered
Howl for It
In a Badger Way


My plans to get ahead a month in my posts went awry, y'all. But I'm not sorry. I moved! No more dreadful apartment with horrible neighbours. We moved into a rental house with a nice fenced backyard for the dogs to run around in. The apartment was furnished, so we're starting out pretty empty, but I honestly don't care! And! At the end of the month (if all goes according to plan), there's going to be something wonderful happening!
Now, if you're like me, you're freaking out over the recent world news, right? Australia is a country I've loved since I was very young, so I'm dedicating this post to the people and wildlife affected by the Australian fires right now. Here are several charities that benefit animals and people that some Australian contacts sent me!