outbreak by Robin Cook

I received this book for free from Own book in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

outbreak by Robin CookOutbreak by Robin Cook
Series: Dr. Marissa Blumenthal, #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on February 1st 1988
Genres: thriller
Pages: 340
Format: paperback
Source: Own book
Buy on Amazon

Murder and mystery reach epidemic proportions when a devastating plague sweeps the country.

Dr. Marissa Blumenthal of the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control investigates--and soon uncovers the medical world's deadliest secret.

"His most harrowing medical horror story." (The New York Times)

So, I originally read this book a few years ago because I liked the movie “Outbreak” and when I originally wrote a review – just a few words – I commented it was nothing like the movie.

Well, I finally figured it out – the movie’s not based upon this book! LOL No wonder it’s not like the movie! (I’m a little slow sometimes)

So, Outbreak is about, duh, an Outbreak. Robin Cook, if you aren’t familiar with the author, writes medical thrillers. I read a ton of his books back in the day, when I was actually reading thrillers. Not really sure what possessed me to read this now.

It was good – and if you like the genre you’ll probably like this one. Things to keep in mind: it’s dated. It’s very dated. I didn’t particularly like how relationships were written in the book, either, but it is a product of its time, like any other book. The main female character was supposed to be this smart, educated, independent women, yet she kept going out on dates with men she didn’t even like romantically and kept calling them when she was out of town, and the men all but patted her on the head and called her “good little kitty” (they didn’t really call her that, but I felt like they were treating her like a pet).

All in all though, I did enjoy the book, and it would make for a good movie!


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Allerleirauh book tour & giveaway

Allerleirauh book tour & giveawayAllerleirauh by Chantal Gadoury
Published by Amazon Digital Services on December 21st 2015
Genres: fantasy
Pages: 153
Format: ebook
Source: blog tour
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A King makes a promise to his dying wife to marry only someone with her golden hair. The King finds his eyes are turned by his maturing daughter's beauty. Realizing her father's intentions, Princess Aurelia decides to sacrifice her life and escapes the Kingdom disguised in a cloak of a thousand furs. Aurelia enters the Kingdom of Saarland der Licht and is taken under the wing of Prince Klaus. Aurelia must face herself and her fears in her journey of self discovery.


I could feel my whole body shaking as I stood in front of my Father’s chambers. I could see my hand shaking as I lifted it towards the wooden door. I had not ever been so nervous to see my Father before. The idea of my Father now frightened me after what had taken place in my room earlier in the morning; the idea of my own unknown fate terrified me the most. I slowly brought myself to knock and wait in silence. Lord Haven’s face greeted me as the door opened slightly.

“Princess…” he said with surprise in his voice. He should not have been surprised. He should have known I would keep my word and come to the King. I could hear my Father asking, “Is that her? Is that Aurelia?” Lord Haven gave a small nod towards the other side of the room, where I could imagine my Father leaning over his desk; his fingers tousled in his hair. The door parted more for me and Lord Haven gestured with a bow for me to enter. I tucked my hands behind my back and took a breath. I had to remember the plan Myriah and I had created.

“Could I speak to my Father, the King, alone?” I asked delicately as I kept my gaze to the floor. I could hear the silence between the two of them; the unspoken questions and commands. Perhaps Lord Haven already knew I had come here to agree to my Father’s wishes, and perhaps my Father felt as if he had won. I just hoped my plan would work.

“Aurelia, the King has much to speak to you about.” Lord Haven’s voice was nervous, shaky even and I nodded in reply.

“Yes, I know.”

“Leave us.” My Father’s voice caused an array of shivers to run down my spine. The hairs on my arm rose as I watched Lord Haven leave the room, and my Father took a step towards me. He looked regal and different from the night before in his cloak, his hair matted against his forehead and his crown, the large weight of his responsibility on his shoulders. I felt his finger touch my arm gently, rising and falling up and down my skin. I wanted to shrink away, but knew I could not. I had to stay firm and strong just as Myriah had told me to be.

“Aurelia…” he whispered softly. I took a step towards his desk and placed my hands on the oak wood, remembering him here, snapping his fingers at me as if I were a dog just the night before.

“Your Grace.” I replied, turning to look at him. I felt as if it were the first time I was truly seeing my Father for who he was now, then whom he had been before with my Mother. I hoped the way I spoke to him made him realize the change which had occurred. He was no longer a Father, but a stranger to me.

“I’ve come to make an arrangement with you.” I said directly.

“And what is your arrangement?” There was a hint of amusement in his voice as he spoke to me. I bit my lip and looked down at my bare hands, trying to remember everything Myriah and I had spoken of. “What is it you wish from me?” He asked again.

“You have told me this morning I am to be your bride.” I caught his gaze, keeping it as long as I could until he turned, brushing a hand through his hair.

“Yes.” he replied simply. “I’ve searched long and wide for a wife to meet the late Queen’s…”

“My Mother.” I interjected. He stared at me; a tense moment between the two of us.

“The late Queen’s request.” He finished as he rounded his desk. He began to take steps closer to me as his hand very close to mine; his face seemed to draw itself even closer.

“You are so very beautiful Aurelia. I’ve watched you grow in the past two years, and I never knew. Never knew how truly beautiful you were.” I felt a strange disgust build in the coils of my stomach. I wanted to turn my face away from him, to turn my back and stride out the door; I wished with all of my soul, I would never have to face him again, yet, I knew it would never resolve so easily. I could not stay a moment longer in his presence but I knew I must. As he came closer, thoughts of the night before flooded my mind; how easy it had been for him to press me against his bed, for him to take my clothes and to take me in a way only a husband should have.

“It is very lonely without a partner to live a life with. The late Queen knew how to entertain our people and myself. She knew how to hold herself with poise and grace, and she knew how to tend to her husband diligently. I see much of her in you.” It seemed strange he would. I hardly thought I was anything like my Mother. Perhaps, yes, she was graceful and delicate, but she hardly knew how to take care of anyone but herself. I began to think of the ball, and the golden dress and how I had resembled her so much it seemed my Father fell in love with me.

My Father took another step towards me and I backed away instinctively. His hand grabbed mine and pulled me towards him, so that I was standing pressed against him.

“Have you forgotten your Mother’s last wish? I promised her I would marry someone as beautiful as she. You’re the only one who has the same golden hair, the same smile, the same beautiful eyes. You are the only one who will do, who I can love. The only one worthy of my love, my power, my body. You will be my bride.” He declared as he ran a finger through my hair. My teeth clenched at his touch; the only thing keeping me in the room was the hope my arrangements would ultimately save me from this fate. I could not live this life with him.

“If I am to marry you,” I began softly, letting out a deep breath. “I have four simple requests.”

My Father grinned and nodded, “Go on… anything.”

Perhaps he thought he was about to have everything he wanted. Perhaps in this moment, he was. I slowly uncurled my fingers from the fist I had created and licked my bottom lip.

“For my marriage, I will require new gowns. I request three gowns, one spun from the ray of sunbeams, the second, as silver as the moonbeams that dance along the night sky, and the third, woven from the star dust that falls from the heavens.” My Father looked slightly surprised but continued to listen. I knew he would remember these from the night he had declared he would do anything for me to keep me happy and by his side.

“My last request,” I continued, “A fur coat made of all the Kingdom’s wild animals, so when the harsh winters come I can keep sickness and death at bay.” I could feel my hands shake from trepidation; I couldn’t believe I actually made these demands to him. What would the people think once they heard of him going to these lengths to marry me? Would they think I was a harlot? Would they think I encouraged my Father’s inappropriate behavior towards me?

“And this is all you request from me?” he asked, surprised. I could see the amusement light up upon his face as I slowly nodded to him. Maybe this would actually work. Perhaps he would not see through the façade and agree to these. If he did, this would grant me more time to collect my things, arrange an escape from the palace, and more forward with my plans. I would never again be Princess Aurelia, but I would avoid the marriage between my own Father and myself.

“And if I agree to these things, you will marry me?” A smile crept upon his face as I gave a fast, curt nod as I swallowed my fear.

“Consider it done then, my love.” My Father embraced me as he pressed a kiss upon the corner of my lips. I felt his finger lift my chin gently and I quickly took a step back away again. My eyes darted to the ground and I twisted a part of my dress around my finger nervously. I needed to play the park but protect myself.

“I have much to plan.” I said quickly, fumbling and turning towards the door. For those who heard me, perhaps they imagined I’d create a beautiful wedding, but for me I knew I had other things to plan.

“Dearest,” My Father’s voice caused me to stop in my foot-steps at the door. My hand had only been inches away from reaching the doorknob.
“I shall have these gifts to you within a week. Mark my words, the day after I present them to you, we shall marry.” There was no question in his voice. This was how it would be. I only gave him a silent nod as I avoided his eyes and opened the door. I escaped quickly out into the hallway, far away from him before he could see the tears I fought so hard to keep at bay.

Quote #6 Allerleirauh


About the Author:


Chantal Gadoury is a young author who currently resides near the beaches of Delaware, though originally from the country side of Muncy, PA. She shares a home with her two cats, Theo and Harper, and her fiancé Robert. Chantal enjoys to paint in her spare time, drink a good cup of coffee when she can and appreciates watching her favorite Disney classics with loved ones. When she’s not busy crafting or reading, Chantal is dedicated to her family at home: her mom, sister and a furry-puppy-brother (and her Dad, who has now lives in heaven.) As a 2011 college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, writing novels has become a dream come true!


Twitter: https://twitter.com/cgadoury16

Blog: http://chantalgadoury.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chantalgadouryfans

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8059023.Chantal_Gadoury

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cgadoury16/

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Gadoury/e/B00MTLD0P0/

Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood book review

I received this book for free from publisher in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood book reviewGreetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood by Claire Hoffman
Published by Harper on June 7th 2016
Genres: memoir
Pages: 288
Format: paperback
Source: publisher
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In this and intimate memoir, an acclaimed journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers.

When Claire Hoffman is five-years-old, her mother informs her and her seven-year-old brother Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment .

At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. Claire attends the Maharishi school, where her meditations were graded and she and her class learned Maharishi's principals for living.

But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. Eventually, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. A decade later, after making a name for herself in journalism and starting a family, she begins to feel exhausted by cynicism and anxiety. She finds herself longing for the sparkle filled, belief fueled Utopian days in Iowa, meditating around the clock.  

So she returns to her hometown in pursuit of TM’s highest form of meditation — levitation. This journey will transform ideas about her childhood, family, and spirituality.

Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

This is a fascinating look at Transcendental Meditation and enlightenment. I don’t know much about meditation other than the most basic knowledge, so I was interested in reading about how a child grew up in the culture and returned as an adult, learning how to cope and how to grow and change, both as a mother and as a women and a wife.

Since the book is a memoir, there is obviously some information about her family history, but the book is mostly about the TM movement and its founder, but it’s also to a certain extent a coming of age story. There’s a lot of suffering here, but mostly it’s about Claire’s loneliness, something I think we can all relate to.

While this is a great memoir and is very well written, I did have a few issues with it. I felt Claire really skirted the truth about a lot of issues – she brought up some subjects / controversies, but really didn’t dive into them – again, this book is a memoir and not a tell all, but in books like this I always say the same thing – why bring up the subject at all if you aren’t going to delve into it?

I also didn’t care for the ending, where Claire really glosses over the last few years of her life, only very briefly mentioning her time with her father / late teen/early adult years. Considering this book was supposed to be a contrast between her youth and her adult years, this was disappointing.

All in all, an interesting read about a subject I knew little about.

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Photo credit Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Photo credit Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

About Claire Hoffman

Claire Hoffman writes for national magazines and holds a Master’s degree in Religion from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University. She was a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and has reported for the New York Times. She serves on the board of her family foundation, the Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as ProPublica and the Columbia Journalism School. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Find out more about Claire at her website and follow her on Twitter.

Vigilance book tour and giveaway

Vigilance book tour and giveaway

I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Vigilance book tour and giveawayRegina Shen: Vigilance (Regina Shen book 2) by Lance Erlick
Published by Finlee Augare Books on May 15th 2015
Pages: 250
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Abrupt climate change melted ice caps and flooded coasts. Outcast Regina Shen has unique DNA that the World Federation believes can prevent human extinction. Not trusting them, Regina jumps the barrier wall into the Federation to hunt for her sister, kidnapped two years earlier.

She reaches the well-guarded university near where they’re holding her sister. Two rival inspectors close in on her. With time running out, can she escape campus and rescue her sister from an obvious trap?

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About Lance Erlick

Lance Erlick

He was raised by a roaming aerospace engineer, growing up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven.

Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

In an ideal world, Lance would find time loops where he could step out for a week at a time to read and write. Then he would return to the moment he left, without life getting in the way. Of course, since everyone would have the same ability, he suspects life would still sneak in.

Lance is also the author of short stories and novelettes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I received this book for free from Own book in exchange for my honest opinions/ review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Series: Harry Potter #7
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on July 21st 2007
Genres: fantasy, YA
Pages: 759
Format: hardcover
Source: Own book
Buy on Amazon

Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing - if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?

So, what can one say about the last book in an epic fantasy series?

Surprisingly, I didn’t cry my way through the book this time. Was it because I knew what to expect? Too stressed over the real world to find myself really feeling what was going? Hmm…

I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this one. I still don’t see/can’t see Snape as a hero. A million years ago, he supposedly falls in love with a girl, but hates her son. I can see hating him on principal in year one or year two, but after years of getting to know Harry Potter, Snape’s feelings should’ve upgraded, changed to mild dislike, something… Yeah he was a super spy, but he did it all for a girl – how does that make him a hero? It makes him human. Yes, he was brave to be a spy, and he certainly was the only one who did it, so I dunno.

I still feel this book drags horribly in the middle. It’s just so much whining and bickering between Ron, Harry and Hermoine, and complaining about how Dumbledore didn’t tell Harry anything. Move on, people. (Though I find it interesting that I always really liked Dumbledore, but this time re-reading the series, I find myself liking him very little. He’s really horrible to Harry. Yes, he had his reasons, and they were for the right reasons, but he didn’t have to be so horrible!)

So I guess I had more to say on the subject then I thought. 🙂


Weekly book bargains and releases

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
Beck Valley BooksA Library of Reviews | Cinnamon Hollow Reviews
Miki’s Hope | Nicki’s Nook
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry | The Ultimate Fan Blog
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle I Creat Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeMy Bizzy World |
Deal Sharing Aunt | Rambling Reviews 

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date
For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week x

Nil (Nil #1) book review

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Nil (Nil #1) book reviewNil by Lynne Matson
Series: Nil #1
Published by Henry Holt on March 4th 2014
Genres: dystopia
Pages: 384
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

I first heard about this book from another book blogger, and as usual, I don’t remember who to give credit where credit is due… One of these days, I’ll remember to write it down!

I actually read and finished this one at least a month ago, but I really sat on writing the review because I didn’t know how I felt. I don’t read a lot of romance, and though there isn’t a lot of it in this one there was more than I was expecting. I was really enjoying the book, the world, the characters, and then bang! Love interest shows up and feelings develop… yuck… lol.

After sitting on writing the review, though, I realized that the romance bits do really work, and it had to happen so that we could have the ending that does happen, and since I liked the ending, I guess that means I have to like the romance… lol.

All this to say, Nil is pretty much your typical dystopian book. You meet the characters, you are introduced to a new world, you meet new characters, typical love interest happens, main character grows and learns a lot and is just the smartest ever and is the only one who can ever figure anything out… It’s different from some other dystopians in that there are still some mysteries remaining for future books, and other differences that I can’t share without ruining too much of the plot. It’s just different enough that the book works.

I’ll probably even read the next ones in the series, eventually, but I won’t rush, either.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges: