Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: My Seductive Innocent

Today is release day for author Julie Johnstone's newest book: My Seductive Innocent, A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 2.  I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy before today in exchange for an honest review.  

Book description:
Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion. But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage. Behind her husband’s sudden icy facade, Sophia believes dwells the caring, passionate man she loves. To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives.

My review:
Wow! This book was amazing!  The excitement begins at the beginning of Chapter two, and it makes it really hard to put the book down.  

The Duke of Scarsdale, Nathanial Ellison, has no plans to marry for love.  His past haunts him and he wants nothing more to live his life alone.  However, a chance meeting with Sophia causes him to rethink his life plan. She and her younger half-brother, Harry, are in a very bad situation, and he cannot help but want to save her.  She's unlike the women he usually meets in his social circle, and chooses to marry her to save her reputation. 

But what happens after they get married? Of course, it's not a happily-ever-after right away.  The excitement doesn't die down with their marriage.  The book keeps you on your toes until the very end!  

You can feel the passion between Nathan and Sophia early on, which isn't always the case with books like this.  These two characters have a great banter and you can feel their sparks flying off the pages at you! I highly recommend this book.  Although it's book two in her Once Upon A Rogue Series, don't let that stop you from picking this one up if you haven't read the first one. It can be read as a stand alone. (And then go back and check out the first book as well!)

You can purchase the book at these websites:


Also, give the author a like on Facebook!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Disney 2015 - Day Two

So life got away from me before I could finish blogging about our amazing family trip to Disney. Here is day 2!

Beautiful view outside our hotel
We started off early, heading to Hollywood Studios. There was a 30 minute wait in line, where Colin lost his magicband (because nothing says family vacation like losing your ticket into your first park!) He had left it over by the gift shop. Thankfully I had already written my cell phone number on the inside, however, the gift shop attendant had not looked!

Our first stop was the Muppets in 3D. Connor and Keith sneaked off to do the Star Wars Tours (twice!). The rest of us put on our 3D glasses for some Muppet magic!

I do have to say, one of the best parts of the Magicbands is the ability to book your fast passes well in advance. We knew what three things we "had" to do and what time to be there, and the rest of the day was just wandering and doing other fun things.  We had fast passes for the Frozen Sing-a-long, and it was nice not to have to wait in line very long. 

We wandered around The Streets of America, as well as Pixar Place and Animation Courtyard, meeting characters and then headed back to Pizza Planet for lunch!

We also hitched a ride on the Toy Story Midway Mania - one of favorite rides!


After lunch, we had time until our next fast pass, so we headed over to "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" play lot so the kids could burn off some energy. Then as we headed over to "Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Adventure", we met some more friends along the way! (You will notice that Keira is missing from most character pictures. She preferred to just wave from the distance.)

We ended the day at Downtown Disney - checking out the T-Rex Restaurant. It was amazing! As a family who avoids food dye, I was worried about mac and cheese (Colin's favorite!) but the chef came out to talk to us when I asked some questions. And then he personally made Colin his own dish of (food dye free) delicious mac and cheese, and served it to him!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sarah Needs a Spare Part - An Introduction

Eight days ago, my life changed forever.

But to go forward, I must give some background:

In 2011, I had some funky blood work and was referred to a nephrologist because my kidney levels were off.  He couldn't figure out what was going on, since I didn't have high blood pressure or diabetes, so he recommended a kidney biopsy.  The results showed that I had Thin Basement Membrane Disease, a hereditary disease that in his words, "was the best disease to have" since it rarely progressed.  It turns out that my grandma had kidney disease but hers was attributed to high blood pressure and age.  It was not until my biopsy that we learned she had something more.

My plan was to live a normal life, with blood work being done every 6 months just to track any changes.  Last May, my levels had changed.  My serum creatinine had doubled, and it appeared that my kidneys were leaking protein.  My nephrologist had me do another biopsy to see what was happening.  The biopsy showed the disease had progressed more so than he had anticipated.  There was significant and permanent scarring of the kidneys.  I was put on a higher dose of blood pressure medicine (tough for me since I don't have high blood pressure) and another pill for secondary hyperparathyroidism due to the kidney disease.  Bloodwork was now every three months.  In November, my levels were the same as May and August.

But in February of this year, that was not the case.  New tests showed drastic changes, and not in a good way.  One of the most important numbers that doctors use to measure kidney function is glomerular filtration rate (GFR).  Normal is 60 -100.  In November, I was 23.  Now I am 12.8.  That means I am in end stage renal disease.  There is nothing to be done, no medicine to fix the scarring that has intensified over the last three months.  Nothing, but a kidney transplant.

So here I am, embarking on such a life changing event, that it is so hard to comprehend most days that I am actually living through this.

Based on the criteria for a deceased donor, the wait list is years and I am not sick enough to be on dialysis yet therefore I am cannot be put on a list anyway.  So we are trying for a living donor.  Unfortunately you have to be my blood type (type B), and in good health (no high blood pressure or other serious health issues) so most of my family is out of the running.  My sister has offered to be a donor, but she is AB negative, therefore at this time we are going to attempt the kidney exchange program.  If she is considered a suitable donor, we can be paired up with another couple in a similar situation.  However, that relies on finding another person in need of a kidney with type AB blood.  So there are a lot of unknowns.  A lot of what-ifs.  A lot of hoping and praying that we will be approved in a timely manner before my kidneys fail completely and I must go on dialysis.  The goal is to not need dialysis, as that can cause more complications with the transplant.

I plan to share my journey on my blog.  The next step is calling the hospital tomorrow to set up the initial evaluation for a transplant.  The insurance company will not get involved until another batch of blood shows the same (or worsening) results at the end of the month, so I hope that the hospital will let us begin before approval because I don't want to waste any time.  A specialist at Rush, as well as my doctor, are both big believers in being proactive and want me to run right into this.  Any time that is spent waiting leads to dialysis, as well as other health concerns.

I'll be in touch!