Author Archives: Zeenat

Baby Jaanu’s Birthday!

Here is my baby’s birth story! Sorry, it’s so long…

I was high risk from the start because of hypertension before pregnancy. Mid pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was on meds for both, but the numbers remained controlled till the end. Still, they made the doctors nervous and they wanted to induce at 39 weeks. I refused to be induced till my due date. This was an ongoing battle with my care providers.

Also, I took an at home study course for Hypnobabies. I planned on an “as natural as possible” childbirth. I knew I had some issues that could require interventions, and that’s where the “as possible” entered. I practiced Hynobabies often. However, I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been. I believed in its efficacy, but I never expected a pain free birth. I hoped for the promised, “easy and comfortable childbirth.” Apparently, a quick entry was also in my baby’s plans…

The night before:
I couldn’t sleep. My lower back and hips hurt slightly, but what REALLY hurt was my BUTT! I kept going to the bathroom hoping that pooping would relieve pain. Nope. I didn’t sleep at all. In hindsight, I was in early labor.

The morning:
Sunday, July 13th. 38w4d. I wasn’t due for another week and a half and the husband and I had plans. We were going to finish setting up the baby’s nursery, meet with our landlord, and go up to Alamogordo to meet with our doulas. It was going to be a busy but uneventful Sunday.


I woke up to my bloody show. I thought, I have at least a couple of days. Wednesday maybe? The husband says as long as he can go to work on Monday, he’d be happy. I felt crampy and started to track the cramps. I realized that while some of the pressure waves (the term for contractions in Hypnobabies) were 12 minutes apart, some came as short as 6 minutes apart. I was in early labor!

I notified my doula and told my Husband, we were still thinking Monday, hopefully later in the day. Our landlord stopped by, and while we were talking, I took note that my pressure waves were coming stronger and possibly closer together. Whatever. I still had a long way to go. After all, none of it hurt. And it’s only been like a few hours!


As my landlord was leaving, around 10:30, a pressure wave hit and I went to to the kitchen to finger drop it off (a hypnosis technique to ride through a pressure wave). As soon as I leaned against the counter, I felt a pop and a gush of water. I felt gross, like I peed myself before it hit me… Did my water break? I calmly call out to the husband, “uh, I think my water broke.” He came in and I told him maybe not, because it wasn’t clear like I thought it was supposed to be. but it wasn’t yellow like pee, and it didn’t have a smell. Called my doula, and she said to take a shower, where I realized that my “water” was green. Not only did my water definitively break, but my baby pooped meconium in the amniotic sac. :::Sigh:::

I was in active labor! I was having a baby at least late that night or by next morning!

We started timing my pressure waves, and this time the husband did it so I could continue doing the finger drop technique. During this time, I felt the pressure waves, but there was no pain. Just intense pressure, ebbing and flowing. I felt like they were maybe 5 minutes apart. Not more than a minute long. Well, husband confirms that they are about 50 seconds long, but they were coming at every 3 minutes or less! I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We notified the hospital and my doula, and headed over to the hospital. We got there around 12:30.

After we had been processed through triage and put into my room, it was chaotic. The staff was setting everything up, and people were coming in and out. The midwife and nurses asked me a lot of questions. I have no idea when my doula came in. I was distracted by the pressure waves and the flurry of questions. MY BP was really high. I think as high as 150s/100s, which made the medical staff freak out. They kept reminding me that I was high risk. That raised my blood pressure even more. It was like they were preparing me for the worst. The midwife was nice enough, but, as the husband put it,  she was “mission oriented”, and perpetuated a negative attitude. By the end of their “stuff”, they checked me and I was 5 cm dilated, about 80% (or more) effaced. Finally, they left around 1:30, periodically checking on me.

Thankfully I had my team. My doulas and my husband made an exceptional support crew. They helped me labor through all my pressure waves. I got massages, encouraging words, and lots of love. I felt like a celebrity!

My pressure waves kept coming, eventually stronger and stronger. The Hypnobabies CDs were playing in the background, and they helped center me. As labor progressed, I realized I didn’t like being still. I kept moving from the bed to sitting on the ball to sitting on the toilet. Sometimes I laid on my right side, sometimes my left. I was getting more and more uncomfortable. Thankfully, I also had a wonderful nurse. She was totally supportive of my desire to birth naturally, and as long as everything was going okay, she was letting us be. She asked me if I wanted the internal monitor for the baby, but I declined.

At some point, the pressure waves became… not exactly painful, but pain is the closest terminology I can find. I got to the point where I could barely “keep it together.” I remember vaguely saying, “I don’t know if I can do this.” I couldn’t keep still. My Doula kept reminding me not to tense up, but when those peaks hit, I didn’t know how NOT to tense up. I did remember the hypnosis mantra, “deeper and deeper”, and kept using that, and I think it helped.

(Fair warning… my memory from here on out is fuzzy… I was focused on birthing my beautiful baby.)

The medical staff really needed to keep the baby on the monitor, but it was having a hard time picking up baby’s heartbeat externally, and I was moving way too much. So they again recommended the internal monitor and this time I agreed. They had to check me again, and I was 7 cm dilated. This was sometime after 4:30 PM. I was officially in transformation (transition in Hypnobabies language). The husband went to grab dinner quickly.

I thought at this point I had a few more hours, then an hour or 2 of pushing. So maybe another 4 or 5 hours? Nope, by the time the husband came back (which he claims was exactly 37 minutes), I had gone from 7 to 8 to being fully dilated. That was around 5:10 PM. Then the baby’s heart rate started dropping.

The action around me got crazy again, with me ready to push and baby’s heart rate dropping. So I tried a couple of pushes. They weren’t nearly strong enough. My midwife said that if I didn’t push this baby out right now, the OB was going to come in and want to do a c-section. That scared me. My doula counted to 10 and I gave one big push. The midwife was surprised, the baby had come all the way down. It didn’t hurt at all, and I was ready to push again. And another countdown with one more push. I felt pressure and heard a pop and felt slime slither out of me. Then a baby whimpering. She was out, head and body all in one push! I had my baby girl!

Baby Jaanu was born July 13th, 2014 at 5:21 PM. She was 5 lbs. 9.8 oz., 17 3/4 inches long. Total labor time, maybe 13/14 hours? Active labor… less than 7. Pushing… 10 minutes.

Just in case you are curious and made it this far…Stage 3 and first meet:
I am not sure of the exact reason, probably because of the multiple complications, they didn’t immediately give my baby to me for skin to skin, and she was whisked off to the warmer. It was the only wish that didn’t go according to my “plan”.

I was in a haze, exhausted, and felt like I was having an outer body experience. I bled quite a bit, and my placenta hadn’t delivered. So the painful stomach compressions came, and eventually I got Pictocin to help stop the bleeding and the placenta deliver. Eventually, it came out with a soft plop, and the bleeding slowed. I had 2nd degree tears that the midwife had to sew up. I could barely do that, my legs were stiff and refused to relax. I kept trying to see my daughter, and I could hear her whimpering and my husband talking to her.

According to the husband, she was fine. They dried her off and did her checks (I still don’t know what her Apgar scores were). Her sugar levels were good, but her temp was low and they kept her under the warmer. They gave her all the shots and eye ointment. She took them like a champ. Finally, she was ready, as was I. They gave her to me. She was this tiny person, finding her cozy spot. It took both my doulas and me to get my breast to maneuver into her little cupid bow mouth, but she latched and we were united. ❤

She is now two weeks old. Happy 2nd week birthday Baby Jaanu!



A few minutes after she was born



This morning at 2 weeks

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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Stream of Consicousness

I haven’t posted in… well, at this point I can’t even remember how long. I meant to write this post awhile back, but I lost track. I haven’t posted since my review of The Undead Pool. I don’t think I have ever taken such a long break from blogging, book review, and Goodreads. I even took a break from reading. (I read only a handful books, didn’t review them, reread the Dresden file series, and the new book Skin Game… okay I get that for most people that’s still a lot, but not for me!)

First a lot of things have been going on. I got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes this pregnancy and it made my life HARD. More emotional than physical difficulty. I lost 30 lbs just by eating what I want and now I can’t do that? But in the past few months I have gotten used to it. It also has kept my weight gain down, to a total gain of only 10 lbs (and I’m at 36 weeks!).

Of course, now being in the last month of pregnancy, I am anxious about the prospect of having a baby and becoming a mother. I am anxious about how it will change my relationship with the husband. Plus all the preparations of having a baby! We have to put her furniture together, put the nursery together, wash her clothes, etc.

Physically, I am tired a lot more. I take usually one nap a day, sometimes two. It’s one thing to just zone out and read. But writing reviews take a lot more energy than I have now.

Mostly, my anxiety about how our future is going to look is holding me back from writing. I have to get a job to pay my student loan bills. Baby will take up most of my time. So, how will I have time to write? I don’t know. I am feeling unmotivated and stuck. I am questioning myself. Is all this writing stuff just temporary thought? Am I fickle? So many questions, not enough answers.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will try to write (brief) reviews for the NetGalley and Edelweiss books that I read and are on backlog. (As long as baby doesn’t come too early!). A lot of fantasy books, some in other categories. I am taking a lot less responsibility as far as “book reviews” go (maybe 4 a month), and will try to go back to just writing for pleasure. Taking away the obligation might make it easier to just write for fun.

Sorry for this stream of consciousness post. I wanted to catch you guys up, but not sure how to frame what I wanted to say. So here it is–straight out of my head to the blog.

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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Review: The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

How could something be so wrong and so right all at the same time? No, not wrong, just difficult.

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Summary: Rachel Morgan is almost done her 3 month stint working security for Trent Kalamack. 3 months of “working together” did not diminish her attraction to him, just made it worse. But they cannot be together without causing havoc. Yet now, magic has started to go haywire, and the undead vampires refuse to wake up. Rachel has to save the world, again. Will she able to save the world while also finding a way to be at peace with being without love?

Review: I was done with this book 8 AM the day it came out. I even read it a second time. But I was hesitant to write this review. Only because I can’t do the book justice.

When an urban fantasy series gets to book 12, one wonders how one can advance the “magic world”. Well Harrison didn’t disappoint us, giving us a good look into elven wild magic. The entity known as the “Goddess” got worked over big time, and I felt for Rachel when she had all the mystics in her head. It was fascinating to see how wild magic tied in with not just demons, but with all the other creatures in the world Rachel lives in.

Rachel has grown quite a bit in the past 11 books, but she still had a little bit of growing left to do. In this book, Rachel learned to let go of her fears and trust with her heart. Likewise, Trent had to learn how to balance his responsibilities and his love for another. These two learned to love each other not just behind the scenes, but in front of a world who disproves of their union. My husband and I had to fight some very similar battles in our quest for happiness and love, so this book spoke volumes to me. I suppose I would be Trent in this scenario, learning that duty does not supersede personal happiness.

As usual, bang up job supporting cast! Ivy is now an incredibly strong individual, learning to love in a healthy manner. Jenks is feeling his age, but is learning to cope with all the changes around him. We even see growth in characters like David, Edden and Newt. My favorite character is one I love to hate, Ellasabeth. Before this book, I thought she was just evil. I’ve learned now that she isn’t a supernatural type evil like Ku’Sox was, but an everyday person who is too self-absorbed to do the right thing. Ellasabeth loves the children and possibly cares for Trent, but she can’t see outside of her petulant box. I felt a bit sorry for her, even though I am GLAD to see her go.

Sure, who doesn’t love a good romance? Harrison did not fail; she showed us that true love is worth fighting for. But more importantly, she showed us that love survives when you have a real family. A family not necessarily of blood, but made of love.

Violence: Typical of Urban Fantasy, a bit low key at times
Sex: One steamy sex scene, some kissing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Next Book: The final installment, book 13, will be out in 2015!

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized



Review: Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

“We prefer blender beaters for our kitchen utensil kink,” I said with a straight face.
Bones hid his smile behind his hand, but Ian looked intrigued.
“I haven’t tried that . .  . oh, you’re lying, aren’t you?”

Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Summary: Cat thinks her life is about to get peaceful, before the ghost of her dead uncle informs her her friends are in danger. With her husband, Bones, Cat sets off to rescue her friends, murder an evil man, and save the ghouls and vampires from warring. But what surprise awaits her when she reaches her destination?

Review: Frost’s books are such a hit or miss with me. On the one hand, She writes excellent urban fantasy adventures. On the other hand, her romance gets out of hand. I was dreading reading this book, but I had nothing to fear, Frost ended the series on a very high note. High enough to say this is my favorite Cat and Bones adventure.

Some people commented that they didn’t like the low romance quotient; I, however, loved it. Cat is such a strong and kick butt heroine, she showed her “red reaper” to the fullest in this novel. She has grown leaps and bounds, emotionally, but her true fighting nature has not been vanquished. It was quite a juxtaposition seeing her fighting nature warring with her emotions and rational side, especially at the end. In the previous books, the sappy nature drags down the action, but that doesn’t happen in this novel. I especially liked how the end of the book didn’t end with an “I love you” dialogue between Cat and Bones. I think my favorite scenes were the action sequences in the institution where Tate and company were being held. Frost’s talent expressed itself through the colorful dialogue and the precise description of Cat’s fighting moves.

I think we saw (at least glimpses) of all of our favorite characters. Of course, Ian was in top form with his various sexual references. But in this book my favorite was probably Tyler. He cracks me up when he meets Marie Laveau. Denise, Spade, Mencheres, Vlad, etc. all make appearances.

Bones annoyed me in most of the books, and he didn’t fail in this one either. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I admire Cat so much, but Bones just seems like an antithesis to her. When Ian pointed out to Bones that this is who she is, I thought, “yes, maybe he will finally get it.” But no, true to form he doesn’t get it, they fight, and instead of anything being resolved, they have sex and they make up. AS USUAL. I don’t think they ever resolve their issues.

The series ended in predictable and cliche ways. I saw it coming ever since we met “her” in the facility. The rest of the book was plotted out in my head. It’s the only reason why the book got 4 instead of 5 stars. I can’t say anymore without giving out spoilers, but if you have guesses, then it’s probably true.

If you are a night-huntress fan, I hope you love this book as much as I did. If we are fans for different reasons, then maybe not, but I think you will still enjoy it. Thank you Frost for an adventurous end to the series.

Sex: Of course
Violence: Again, of course.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
World Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized



A Collection ARC Reviews

As you know, I am behind in my reading. Which means I am REALLY behind in my reviews. Here are 4 reviews that have been waiting to be written.  These 4 books have something in common: They are all making a stance on some social or political issue relating to Americans. Fair warning: the reviews are short:

The Circle of Thirteen by William Petrocelli

ARC provided by Edelweiss

Review: Set in the future, this book is give us a thrilling look into what the future could be for women’s rights. Overall, I enjoyed the plot. I liked that even while women’s rights had evolved, there were still people who were trying to hold women back. Those very same people were strong enough to create havoc on our world. There were many heartwarming moments, especially Julia’s relationship with her “grandmother”. The book did move slower than I had hoped, but I blame all the jumping around in time for that. It is very distracting. I also got the feeling that most of the women didn’t have very good relationship with men, only with other women. I wish that was more balanced. But overall, it was a delightful book, and gives us a perspective of how damaging misogynistic thinking can be.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

They Kingdom Fall by Austin Dragon

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There are very few books I cannot finish, and this was one of them. I tried to finish–but unfortunately the book felt like Tea Party Propaganda. On top of all the time jumping and editorial mistakes, I just couldn’t get through more than 40% of the book. I do think people who enjoy right wing philosophy would love this book, and the author has a lot of Promise in regards to his writing skills. Unfortunately, this book was just not for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Little White Lies by Cole Riley

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: There parts of this book that deserved 5 stars, and others that deserved 2. The premise of the book was equally interesting and portraying a reality felt by many young black men. His dad was a perfect antithesis to his mother. Unfortunately, the book’s pacing was sub par. At points it moved fast, and others moved slow. I especially thought the ending was rushed. I think the author has potential, but his potential was not fully realized in this book. Overall, a good book, but forgettable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Journey into the Flame by T.R. Williams

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review: Williams brought us a fun adventure. From the beginning the action in this novel was non-stop. There was always something happening. If there were no movement, then we were brought into some spiritual understanding. Overall, really enjoyed this book. At times the book moved into the realm of politics (BAD GMOs!! Down with corporations!) and that got annoying. I am also not so much a fan of time jumps anymore. Past, Present, Future, Present, Future, back to Past, and it all got confusing. Still an enjoyable read nonetheless. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Black Arts & Fury of the Demon

I’m going to publish my next few reviews in chunks. First will be 2 books that came out earlier this month: Black Arts and Fury of the Demon. Both were excellent and I was happy to review them. Just took awhile cause of some bad luck with the computer. ::Sigh::

Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Amazon Review:
Goodreads Review:
“Are you insane?” he shouted back.
“Probably, but insanity’s not the point.”
Next book: Broken Soul, I believe it will be out November 2014.

Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Amazon Review:
Goodreads Review:
For the next ten minutes I waged a grim war to convince her that Fuzzykins could not come with us. I made a little headway with the fact that Fuzzykins would be miserable cooped up for hours in the carrier on the back of the motorcycle. I lost ground on the alternative of the back of the SUV, then reclaimed some advantage with the assurance that Zack would take good care of Fuzzykins here, and of course Eilahn could call her as often as she wanted. Yet it wasn’t until Fuzzykins stalked off the porch, wound around Eilahn’s ankles and apparently told her, “No, I do not choose to go this day as I am certain the motion will upset my digestion,” that Eilahn finally put away the duct tape and bungees.
Ludicrous as it was, in that one shining moment, I loved that stupid cat.
Next book:  Vengeance of the Demon, probably out January 2015.

** My next set of reviews will be books that came out awhile ago (4 books) and then next weekend will write reviews for 3 books that will be coming out this week. **

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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized



ARC Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

“Thank the Flea!”

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

**ARC Provided by NetGalley**

Summary: Avery can’t find Kerrick and everyone is telling her he is dead. She refuses to believe it, but the world needs her anyways and she has to pick herself up anyways. She is fed up of betrayals and is done with following the rules. Will she be able to save the world and find Kerrick, hopefully alive?

Review: I planned on reviewing this sooner because I had an ARC, but I have been busy with things. Sorry for the delay.

I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as the last one, mostly because it was repetitive and predictable. Still, with the book’s funny moments and lively adventure, Taste of Darkness didn’t disappoint.

I was mostly disappointed with the back and forth “is he dead” and the “is she alive”. It takes a lot of guts for an author to kill beloved characters, and the ending of this series would have been perfect if either Avery and/or Kerrick had passed away. They would have left behind a bittersweet legacy. The predictable happy ending left me bored. And how many times can a character supposedly “die” before we actually believe it?

I also found the villain’s downfall a bit boring. Again, it was predictable. I was expecting it to be a lot more dramatic, for him to pull something ridiculous and Avery having to outsmart him yet again. Didn’t happen. It was regular old action.

What I did love was a lot of the other action sequences. Rescuing the girls from Chinksa Mare was excellent. The drama and despair created in their situation and the women rising up was uplifting. We saw Avery at her best. Snyder did a wonderful job creating the torture scene between Avery and the Skeleton King. She was able to create a despairing situation without making it about rape and obvious forms of torture. It was original and creative.

All in all, the world built in the Healer series is intriguing. I thought bringing it all together through the lilies showed real inspiration on Snyder’s part. I am glad they were able to create more healers because their world needed them, even if they are only children now.

Overall, the end of the trilogy satisfied the reader in me. It’s not a series I would read over and over again, but I am glad I read it. I recommend this book for all fantasy and romance readers out there.

Sex: References to sex and kissing
Violence: torture scenes, fighting, death

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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