What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

Whatcha up to?  Anything fun happening in your life?  My life last week was pretty fun.  We had back to school night for my oldest so we got to meet all of her teachers and walk around the campus.  They all seem pretty nice so that's a bonus.

Then Friday night my youngest had another belt test.  She technically hadn't qualified since she took the entire month of July off (and you need a certain amount of class time to qualify) but for some reason they made an exception for her.  So instead of having 3 or 4 months to learn all she needed to know she had already learned it in 6 weeks!  Yikes.  That girl is determined to be a black belt.  Go baby! :)  This time she had to break a board with a punch instead of a kick. She passed and is now a blue belt. Here she is breaking the board:

Then on Sunday I drove out and met some of the So Cal Bloggers for lunch.  Ames was visiting from Canada and it was so good to meet her!  She's just adorable and so, so nice.  We all had a great time eating at The Cheesecake Factory and shopping at Borders.

Lori, Ames, Wendy, Rosie, Rowena, me, Holly  Nikki

On to what I read this past week:

My first read for the week was book 4 in the Psycop series, Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price.  This was an excellent read!  The story continued Vic and Jacob's relationship which had some wonderful as well as stressful moments.  Jacob and his Psycop partner, Carolyn, are working on a sex crime in a retirement home and it's taking it's toll on Jacob.  Vic tries to help figure out who the culprit is.  This one vies for first with book 5 as my favorite.  I loved everything about this book.  Such a good series.  5 out of 5

Next up was a read for The Book Binge, Seduced by a Highlander by Paula Quinn.  This is book 2 in the Children of the Mist series and is Tristan's story. Tristan meets Isobel at the king's coronation but doesn't know she is part of his clan's mortal enemy.  He starts not to care and is determined to have her.  I really liked Tristan in this story and though the heroine was a bit hard headed it really worked for me. 4.25 out of 5

Next was The Sweetest Deal by Mary Campisi.  This releases from Carina Press on the 6th of September.  The hero is trying to make a real estate development deal with a financial backer.  Only the backer wants something in return - he wants the hero to impregnate his daughter.  Talk about getting too involved in your children's lives! lol  The hero agrees because he's desperate to make the deal, but once he meets the daughter (though he doesn't know it's her at the time) he falls hard and fast.  The heroine has been severely burned in a relationship and is reluctant to put her heart on the line again.  This was a cute book but I have to say I didn't like the heroine very much.  She wanted to be A-#1 in her dad's eyes but was positive that she couldn't get there because she was a woman instead of a man.  She was a barracuda in her work place but she was also pretty whiney and immature and it grated on my nerves a bit. The hero definitely saved this book for me. 3 out of 5

Cross Your Heart by Michele Bardsley was another book that I read for The Book Binge.  This is book 7 in the Broken Heart Vampire series.  It was about a staid vampire woman living in Broken Heart who's having issues with what appears to be a ghost.  She's saved by a were-cat who wants her all to himself.  It was a great little romance and mystery all rolled into one.  Bardsley's books are always fun, entertaining reads.  4 out of 5

Next up was Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price.  This is book 5 and the last book in the series - so far.   It was another excellent read.  More Vic and Jacob as well as Vic looking into his time and "training" at Camp Hell.  You can read my review here5 out of 5

For The Love of Mollie by KT Grant was my next read.  This is a cute romance about a woman, Mollie, who is determined to lose weight so that the man she's had a crush on forever will finally notice her.  She heads to the gym and ends up meeting the owner, Connor.  Connor is all over her and wants more.  They start a sexual relationship but Mollie is just positive that Connor is too good to be true.  Why would a man like him be interested in a woman like her, she asks herself.  As I said, very cute.  Mollie was a bit of a hypocrite at times but I really liked Connor and his determination with Mollie.  3.75 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR Challenge read for the week was Snowbound by Larissa Ione.  Olympic silver medalist, now working as a ski patroller and EMT, Sean, wants to break his sexual dry spell but for some reason the blonde bimbos aren't doing it for him.  When he sees Robyn who is back in her hometown for her high school reunion he falls for her.  Robyn wants nothing to do with anyone who is anywhere near celebrity status.  She can't seem to stay away from Sean though.  This was a very good book about learning what you want out of life and the importance of trust in a relationship.  I really enjoyed it. 4 out of 5

I read A Matter of Duty by Elizabeth Jewell for The Book Binge.  This was a bizarre little book about a shapeshifter and his wife.  He's not a typical shapeshifter (I always think werewolves and were-cats, etc) - more like he can morph and make himself look like any human he wants.  Being the head of the shapeshifters only he can impregnate women who are married to humans as humans and shapeshifters can't procreate.  But his wife wants a baby too.  So the other woman's human husband steps in - in a bizarre 4 way.  Wow.  2 out of 5

While I was on my way to the blogger get together I actually listened to my very first audio book.  It was a 2.5 hour drive each way - it really made the time go by quicker - ok, it only seemed to, but still. :)  I listened to Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught.  The story is about a Broadway star who is married only her husband is missing, then found dead.  Did she do it or did her stalker?  Or maybe it's the known criminal who keeps showing up.  It was a good story - the narrator was a bit breathy and I can't say I loved all of the voices she did for the characters, but the book was good.  It was romance "light" and the romance seemed a bit rushed, imho, but still good. 4 out of 5

And last on the list was The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie.  I have to thank Orannia for recommending this one to me. (It was when we were talking about how petite and little the characters were and how beautiful.  This book has the heroine as a plain woman but the hero thinks her beautiful and doesn't even notice her 4 sisters who are gorgeous.)  5 orphaned sisters being beaten by their grandfather escape to their great-uncle under false pretenses.  The oldest, Prudence, creates a betrothal to a Duke she's never met in order for her sisters to be presented into society.  The book is so good.  Hilarious and touching. It got a bit sappy at the end for my liking but still wonderful.  4.5 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I was sitting in the Taekwondo studio the other day and reading, of course. But they always have the satellite radio playing and this song, Take on Me by a-ha came on. Talk about a wash of memories coming over me. I haven't heard it in years but I used to listen to it all the time.  Enjoy a little 80's pop.

DIK Reading Challenge and M/M Challenge Review: Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who've been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone's gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?

This is book 5 in the Psycop series. In books 1-4 we heard various references to Heliotrope Station aka Camp Hell - the facility that Vic and other psychs “trained” at - and every time Vic recollected anything in his life from that period of time he broke out in a sweat. It was not a time to be thought of fondly.

In this book we find that Vic has decided to face his fears and look into Camp Hell and the people he was there with via the internet, only he can’t find anything. There’s nothing to be found at all: nothing about the fellow psychs he was there with, nothing about the place itself - and rating 10 on the uber-weird scale…nothing on himself. It doesn’t matter where he looks on the internet there is absolutely no information about him. Needless to say this freaks our already somewhat paranoid main character right the hell out. He wants to find out who is hiding him in plain sight and find out why they’re doing it.

After using his psych friend Lisa to gain information about who can help him acquire information he heads to his old partner, and the man who tried to kidnap him for his own gain, Roger Burke. Burke attempts to coerce Vic into recanting his statement so that he can get out of prison and if Vic agrees he’ll give him any info he has on Camp Hell. Why does Burke have this information? He used to work for the FPMP – the Federal Pararnomal Monitoring Program. The same people who seem to be following Vic around wherever he goes. When Vic realizes that he’s being followed and checked in on on a regular basis, he’s suddenly afraid to talk to Jacob in their own home or use his cell phone.

But as much as he wants to stay away and hide from the FPMP they’re right there, invading every nook and cranny of Vic's life. Vic has some incredibly hard decisions to make about how exactly he wants to live his life and how the FPMP will fit into it…or not. Along with this craziness he finds his old lover from Camp Hell who is a hypnotist. Stefan helps Vic in some regression therapy and Vic starts remembering some things about events at Camp Hell.

I can tell you that I’ve been on an absolute binge of the Psycop books in the past couple of weeks. I was really mad at the end of this book! Was it because it sucked? Absolutely not. It was because it was the last one I could dive into! lol

Camp Hell, as well as all of the other books in this series, are just incredibly good reads. Ms. Price has such a wonderful way of pulling you into the story and not letting go. The world she built is much like the one we currently live in but it’s got the added knowledge that psychics of all sorts do exist. The books are incredibly humorous and I found myself laughing through many different parts of the book. The books aren't comedies though - they are considered horror but I never thought that anything was so gruesome that I couldn’t read it. Yes, dead people/ghosts are described but it was all ok for me.

Along with the humor and the horror we have the relationship between Vic and his boyfriend Jacob that has been growing, moving and changing since book 1. I gotta tell you I love those two together. They just work. Are either one of them perfect? No way, but even when they have trying times in their relationship they work it out and it just makes my crazy romantic heart do the happy dance. Such a great romance I can’t even put it into words. Oh, and the sex. Beyond a doubt some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read. These boys pull no punches and I fuckin loved it.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I loved Camp Hell…as well as all the other books. I could babble and gush til I’m blue but I’m just gonna say: read the books. Seriously. If you haven’t already read them go get them now and devour them. It will be so worth your time.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Tuesday Teaser - Secrets

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's Teaser comes from Secrets (book 4 in the Psycop series) by Jordan Castillo Price page 68:

I shielded my face with my hands.  I wasn't sure which way the blood spray from a crushed head would go, but I didn't want it to hit me in the eye.

What I Read Last Week

Greetings and Salutations!

How the heck are ya? Doing well I hope, as usual. We had a pretty darned quiet week in Tracyland – which I really like saying. :)

The kids are enjoying school so far. My oldest can’t stop complaining about the amount of folders and “stuff” she has to carry daily because she has no locker. She seriously has the most stuffed backpack I’ve ever seen! lol She’ll get used to it eventually, I’m sure. I hope.

Yesterday I watched a really great movie called Were The World Mine. It’s the story of a gay teen who attending an all boys school. His school mates are not understanding fellows, to say the least. He gets cast as Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream and his drama teacher helps him discovers a “recipe” that turns people gay temporarily. It’s a musical and pretty campy and a bit ridiculous at times but it was really good!

The week before last I didn’t read any m/m books and I think I was going through a bit of withdrawal so last week I made up for it. Now it may seem that I read a lot of books this week but some of them were very short and many 200 pages so it really wasn’t that much. :)

I started the week getting back into the Farm series by Andrew Grey. I had read Love Means…No Shame and really liked it so I picked up the prequel, Love Means…Courage. Another great book! This was Len and Cliff’s story (Geoff’s dads). Len goes to work on the farm after Cliff’s wife dies (the wife was Len’s best friend) and Len tries to get the land back in shape and drags Cliff out of his depression. I very much enjoyed watching the two men come together as Len had had a crush on Cliff since high school. 4.25 out of 5

I immediately started the next book in the Farm series, Love Means…No Boundaries by Andrew Grey. This was the story of Joey who had worked on the farm since he was 16 years old. Now graduated college, he had recently gotten into a motorcycle accident and had scars on his face that those who didn’t know him found offensive or disturbing. He meets Robbie who is a musician, and blind. Robbie is staying at the farm for 2 weeks while his orchestra is in town. In those two weeks Robbie and Joey find love. At first I was bothered by the fact that Robbie was blind and felt it was a bit of a cop out with Joey being scarred – why couldn’t it be a seeing person who accepted him, scars and all? But as the story progressed I saw that the fact that Robbie was blind helped Joey see life and himself in a different way. I think Robbie’s blindness also brought a level of intimacy that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. A very good book. 4 out of 5

I would have started the 4th book in the Farm series next but it wasn’t on my ereader and I was too lazy to get up and put it on so I started another series. I know, it’s horrible! lol

So I started a series that I’ve had for a while and had been meaning to read. I’m so glad I finally started it and ended up making a big dent in it. I started the Psycop series by reading Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price. What a great story! The Psycop team is made up of 1 person with no psychic abilities whatsoever that they call a Stiff and 1 person who has psychic ability. In the first book we meet Victor who is the psychic (a medium who communicates with the dead) part of a team only his partner has retired. He’s at a party and gets cornered by a hunk of a cop, and a Stiff, Jacob Marks. Vic is pretty shocked that Jacob even knows who he is but goes with the flow...and likes it. The story revolves around Vic’s burgeoning relationship with Jacob, Vic meeting his new partner and Vic and his fellow cops finding a killer. I just loved Vic, despite his neurosis and other issues. 4.5 out of 5 (90 pages)

I continued with the series by reading a short (4 pages) called Thaw by JCP. The in-between shorts in this series are just little slices of life and not continuations of the story. This one was a cute story about Jacob and Vic ice skating. 4 out of 5

My next read was the second book in the Psycop series by JCP is called Criss Cross. This story had the continuing relationship between Vic and Jacob who have now moved in together while Jacob looks for a new place to live. Vic is adjusting to yet another new partner while his psychic powers are going bonkers. He’s seeing even more dead people and it’s starting to freak him out. He seeks help from a healer who turns out to be Jacob’s ex-boyfriend and also from a doctor at a clinic who helps pychics. But everyone in this story isn’t a good guy and the bad ones are out to get Vic. This was another great story that I so enjoyed reading. 4.5 out of 5 (about 91 pages)

Next was another slice of life short (6 pages) called Mind Reader. This story had Vic and Jacob’s ex, Crash, visiting an Egyptian exhibit so that Crash could see if Vic could communicate with a dead mummy. 3.75 out of 5

Book 3 in the Psycop series was Body and Soul. This story had Vic meeting, you guessed it, yet another new partner and making adjustments to someone who’s an old school cop and not used to dealing with a psychic. Jacob and Vic have moved their relationship to the next level and are looking for a new place to live...together, Vic is meeting Jacob’s family at Thanksgiving and Vic is then searching for 3 missing persons. This is another totally engaging story. I love seeing how Vic deals with life, non-believers in his medium powers and also Jacob dealing with his family. Good stuff. 4.25 out of 5 (169 pages)

The last JCP book in this series that I read last week was another short (6.5 pages) slice of life called Stroke of Midnight. This had Vic working on New Year’s Eve and Jacob heading to a party as well as thinking about his life with Vic. I really liked getting into Jacob’s head a little and seeing things from his point of view. 4 out of 5

Yes, I so would have continued in the Psycop series but I found that I had gotten them all except #4! ARG! lol I’ve remedied that problem and will be reading the rest of the series this week.

Jude in Chains by KZ Snow was my next read. This story was about Misha who is a reporter and heads to a seminar/camp/retreat that has reparative therapy for men who don’t want to be gay any longer. It heals them and makes them “normal”. Ug. Misha runs into a man, Jude, who he’d been attracted to for years but hadn’t acted on it. He’s distressed and disturbed by Jude’s desire to not be gay any longer. This was a very good story about Misha trying to get Jude to see that there was no repairing him because there was nothing wrong with him to begin with. 4 out of 5

Next was The Art of Dying (Partners in Crime #4) by Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo Price. Lanyon’s story was about a man, Finn, who is in a car accident and goes back to his hometown to recover after being gone for 3 years. During this time he’s told that his twin hasn’t been heard from in the past 3 years and he begins to suspect foul play. Along with the investigation he works out issues he had with an ex love. This was a great story. I had my suspicions about whodunit but I was WRONG! I know, it sucks that I was wrong but it was wonderful story. lol
JCP’s story was about a man, Ray, who had it all, money, cars, etc., and lost it all when his then boyfriend gambled it all away. Now he’s taken a job for a man who has Alzheimer’s and his wife. Only a dead body is found buried on the property and they don’t know who killed him. Anton is a next door neighbor who is an eccentric artist/sculptor and a bit off – but Ray and Anton find a connection in the midst of the chaos. Another wonderful story that I very much enjoyed reading. I thought that Anton’s character was great and Ray’s acceptance of his “quirks” was so good to see. 5 out of 5 for the two stories.

Talk about quirks and having your S.O accept them: Work of Art by Rob Knight was just such a short story (25 pages). Wade is an artist who is a bit of an odd bird. He does things like move all of his belongings into the kitchen because he wants to start fresh. He’s fascinated by the sleeping bag in the shower getting wet. He only eats cornflakes unless someone brings him food or takes him out. He’s obviously got some sort of disorder by functions well as long as he’s not around too much noise or too many people. Sawyer loves Wade to pieces and helps him whenever he can. I loved seeing the two characters play off of each other. I would have loved to see what Sawyer thought of Wade when he first met him but it was great to see Sawyers acceptance of Wade. 4 out of 5

Next I read a couple of Harlequin presents books that were sent to me from Tell Harlequin – they send them, I read them and then took a survey.
The first was Public Affair, Privately Expecting by Heidi Rice – London shop girl meets movie star and has affair - get’s pregnant and doesn’t tell him. Not bad. A little far fetched but ok. 3 out of 5
The second was Wild Fling or a Wedding Ring (who comes up with these names??) by Mira Lynn Kelly  – this was the story of a hard working woman who meets the man of her dreams and they have a great time once he gets her into bed. They hit it off well but he wants no commitment and she’s moving in 3 months. I really liked the reality in this one as it could totally happen. Yes, they both acted like idiots at different points in the book but I liked it. :) 4.25 out of 5

Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands is book 13 in the Argeneau series. This is the continuation of the book that I was so frustrated with, The Renegade Hunter, back in January. TRH ended on a total cliffhanger which I abhorred. I found out from Ms. Sands that Born to Bite was originally supposed to be published only 1 month later than TRH so there wouldn’t have been such a delay in finding out what the hell happened but it didn’t work out that way. Anyway, this was Armand’s story along with Eshe who is his second life mate. They are trying to figure out who killed his first 3 wives, as well as his daughter-in-law, while trying to save their own lives. I read this one for The Book Binge. 4.5 out of 5

Last on the list was The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. Lori had told me how much she enjoyed this book so I finally got it from the library and I loved it. The story of a woman who takes a job as a secretary for an Earl and they fall in love, though he’s engaged to someone else. Loved the story and the writing! I think I've got a thing for scarred heroes lately. :) 4.5 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

Glee's version of Beautiful by Christina Aguilera is just an incredible thing.  The character Mercedes coming to terms with her physical appearance and feelings of worth is so poignant and well, beautiful.  This video certainly isn't the best version that I could have posted but the addition of Quinn and Mercedes having the conversation first adds so much to the musical portion of the video.  And yep, I cry every time I see it.  So, get the tissue and enjoy.

Review: Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie & Book Giveaway

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting…

What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them. 

If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…

So Andie heads to outer Mongolia, otherwise known as souther Ohio, to be the nanny to her ex-husband's wards. What she finds is a house that has been neglected and two children that have been too.  She immediately sets forth the plan to improve both.  The children are definitely none to happy to have yet another nanny, but they find themselves thwarted by Andie.  She's stubborn and she's got the compassion and fortitude to see this through.   What she thinks will be a 1 month nannyship for $10,000 turns into a turn in her life as a whole. 

The biggest surprise is not that she becomes emotionally attached to the kids but that the house is actually haunted.  Not someone with nefarious intentions making her think that the house is haunted to get her away from it, but there are real ghosts living in and around the house.  They've attached themselves to the house and now to the children to the point where the kids are willing to stay so that no one else they love dies.  

Andie's plans to get the kids out of the house is delayed when North's brother shows up with a new reporter, a parapsychologist and a cameraman.  Then a medium with an unhappy spirit guide are next - then more folks show up to try and "help" Andie.  I wish I could say that this part of the story was funny but i found most everyone quite annoying.  North then shows up and takes care of issues in his own "North" way.  He doesn't believe Andie when she says there are ghosts but he's willing to believe that she believes.  

I gotta tell ya that by far my favorite character in this book was North.  Yes, he had screwed up when he and Andie had been married before but he was willing to do whatever it took to make her happy this time - and I think he learned a little bit more about himself and the way he looked at life as well.  He was just a good soul and I loved how he was written.  The kids played a close second to North in that they were quite lovable despite their idiosyncrasies.

While Andie was also a good character she was too frazzled for most of the story for me to really love her. She got attached to the kids quite quickly but I felt it more as a protective role than motherly - even though it was, if that makes sense. She handled things well with the ghosts as well as the multitude of visitors to the house, I must say, considering all the crap that was happening, and I had to admire her for that. 

Ah, the long-awaited novel by Jennifer Crusie.  I've enjoyed the joint writings by her and Bob Mayer (at least the one I read) but I've been waiting impatiently for a solo project.  When it came down to it, though, I have to say I had mixed feelings for the book as whole.  While still a very good book I felt there was something missing from this one that had been in her other books. The problem, I. Don't. Know!  Ug.  And I honestly hate saying that without something substantial to back it up, but it's just a feeling that I was always left with after reading Crusie's previous book.  There was a sense of satisfaction and contentment that I was always left with after reading such wonderful titles such as Bet Me, Welcome to Temptation and Faking It. That satisfaction was missing when I read the last page of this book.  As I said, a very good book but, for me, not one of my favorites.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received this book by Authors on the Web for review.

The publisher, St. Martin's Press, has been kind enough to offer 1 copy of Maybe This Time for  me to giveaway!  If you live within the USA or Canada and want to be entered in the drawing, just let me know by leaving a comment, sometime before 11:59pm on Thursday, August 26. I will announce the winner on Friday, August 27.  Good Luck!

Tuesday Teaser - Love Means...No Boundaries

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's teaser comes from Andrew's Grey's Love Means...No Boundaries page 6:

“These aren’t you, and they don’t make you ugly. They just are.”

“What something looks like doesn’t matter to me.”

What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

It’s gonna be a good week, right? Right! Now, I’m just going to keep telling myself that! lol

My oldest daughter now has to be to school about 15 minutes earlier the elementary school where my youngest attends. That means we’re ALL getting up earlier than we used to – and let me tell you, that’s SUCKS! lol It’s bad enough that I have to give up my extra hour of sleep that I was getting during the summer months but now, an hour early? *sigh* I guess I’ll get used to it and stop complaining….eventually. J

Other than school starting not a lot happened this week so I’ll get right into what I read…

First up was Lovestruck by KT Grant. Yes, this is from our very own blogger Katiebabs! This is an f/f story about a high powered hotel owner meeting a woman who works at one of her hotels. Barbara is 10 years older than Jenny but can’t seem to stay away from her. Barbara is contemplating shutting down the hotel location that Jenny works at but doesn’t bother to let Jenny know. I gotta say that Barbara was a bit much for me. Besides the sex she really acted more motherly toward Jenny, calling her Kiddo and telling her when she’d had too much to drink. She grated on me just a tad. Jenny was immature at times but I had to admire her for working as well as trying to finish a college degree. 3.5 out of 5

Next up was Wicked Enchantment by Anya Bast that I read for The Book Binge. This is book 1 in her Dark Magic series and I really liked it. I had tried to read it a couple of times before but it seems so info heavy that I kept putting it down. Once I got past the first few chapters though I got totally into it. The story revolves around a woman in the Seelie court falling in love with a man from the Unseelie Court but she meets him in an unconventional way and under false circumstances. Now that she knows who he is she doesn’t know that she can trust him. That on top of running for their lives made for some good reading. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. 4 out of 5

After that it was Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie. I KNOW! It was very exciting to open that book, lemme tell ya. So what are my thoughts? Check back on Thursday for my review AND a giveaway!

Next up was Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong. This is book 11 in the Otherworld series and it was a good murder mystery. The story had Savannah, part witch/party sorcercer, taking on her first solo case. She goes to a small town to try and figure out who is killing these young girls and comes up against many roadblocks. A very good book! I read this for The Book Binge as well. 4.25 out of 5

I won a copy of Love’s Fortress by Samantha Kane over at the Kiss and Tell Girls blog – woohoo! J I love the Brothers in Arms series and this one was no different. We had Gideon who came home from the war with his face and arm burned and one of his legs amputated. Then his love/best friend Charles who helped him recover from it all. Then we have Sarah who becomes Gideon’s wife and brings the group together. Just a great story! 4.25 out of 5

My last read for the week was Scandalous by Candace Camp. This is a re-issue of her release from 1996. Priscilla answers the door one night to a naked man who asks for help and then promptly collapses. When he awakens he has no idea who he is. The story revolves around Priscilla and John (as she names him since she has to call him something) trying to find clues about who exactly kidnapped him and why. The story was really broken up into 3 sections – or at least it seemed to me. First was “John” and his quest for his memory, then there was him getting his memory back when seeing his father and all that entailed, then trying to solve a murder mystery from 30 years before. Not a bad book but it seemed quite a bit longer than it should have been, imho. I also would have liked it better if the 3 stories were intertwined a bit more. 3.25 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

Another band I like muchly is Shaman's Harvest with one of my fav songs being Dragonfly.  The vid is pretty intense but still very good.

Review: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

Since she was little Haven has been having visions of a past that she hasn’t lived – or so she thinks. Her grandmother has convinced her that there’s something wrong with her - a demon living in her body - so for the past 9 years she's learned how to control the visions and has tried to be “normal”. But suddenly she's not able to control them any longer. They're stronger than before and the desire to figure out what's going on…is she crazy or not and did she really have a past life or not, is taking over her life. Her grandmother, not thrilled that she is again having visions refuses to let her leave for college and is thinking of having her committed. She lives in a very small town where she's completely ostracized because of the “demon” living in her and her only friend is Beau, another teen who’s ostracized because he’s gay. Haven finally decides, after she's wrongly accused of setting her grandmother's house on fire, that enough is enough and she's going to New York to find out what's up with her visions.

Haven's dreams and visions have always been of the love of her life, Ethan. When she gets to New York she meets Iain Morrow, a celebrity, and he immediately knows her as Connie, his/Ethan's long lost love. But Iain is hiding things from her and lying. Haven’s not too thrilled when she finds out and she’s not sure if she can trust him. Then she meets up with people from the Ouroboros Society and they have info about Iain/Ethan that doesn’t make him come out smelling like a rose. Who's to be believed? Haven doesn't know who to trust and who's telling her the truth. She just wants to find out what happened all those years ago to Connie and what the heck is happening now.

I would really love to tell you more of the story but I just can't do it without giving away major spoilers. The story is one that I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own but I have to say it was pretty good. The first 145 pages or so, part 1 of the book, really had me hooked. This catalogs the time she’s in her small town, Snope City, Tennessee, and all the events she’s lived with in her short 17 years. Part 2 of the book is about Haven’s time in New York and there’s just never a dull moment. I started the book one night and had a darned hard time putting it down in order to go to sleep. Miller has a way of telling you just enough information to make you want to see what happens next.

Because I don't really read YA books on a regular basis I did find myself getting frustrated by Haven at times. I had to keep reminding myself that she was 17 and not a full grown adult woman as I’m used to reading. There were those occasions that I felt she was too young to be in a relationship with Iain, even though they had been together in a previous life. The relationship itself wasn’t very romantic - it was everything else that I found myself interested in – which is odd since I’m such a romantic at heart! lol

Now, this book says that it's for 12 years and up (7th grade and up – at least in my galley copy it says that) but I personally felt that it was more for 14 and up. Yes, there are some out there who have mature 12 year olds that could read this but you would really have to read the book and decide for yourself. There are no actual sex scenes in the book but they are inferred.

In the end I thought it was a very good YA book that I just had a few issues with.The book in hardcover and ebook.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received this book from the publisher for review.

The First Day of School 2010

So my oldest daughter was so excited to get to 7th grade she set her alarm and woke up at 5am!  She said she needed to wash her face and brush her teeth, get dressed and have a good breakfast. Of course then she wandered around the house for another hour and a half until it was time to go.  So ridiculous but so cute.  I'm just happy she's excited for school to start.  I remember being her age and having moved to a new town and the last thing I wanted to do was go to school! lol

My youngest started 3rd grade today!  I really can't believe she's old enough.  She was anxious about meeting her new teacher but excited to see all of her friends again.

Here are the pictures that I took this morning.  My oldest, who usually loves pictures, would only stand still for about a second and a half for me to shoot the picture. :)

I gotta tell ya I looked at that picture of my oldest and about freaked.  Let me show you why in a comparison of the first day of 6th and the first day of 7th:

Now can someone please tell me where my little girl went?  I'm thinking of locking her up until she's 18! lol

Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town—and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan—for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.

When Joe Kowalski meets Keri for dinner he’s pretty sure he knows exactly what she wants – an exclusive interview. Keri works for a barracuda-type woman who has been after an exclusive with Joe for forever. You see Joe is a highly paid best-selling author but he’s also very private and no one knows much about him. When Keri’s boss finds out that she is Joe’s ex-girlfriend from high school the boss is all over that like white on rice. She tells Keri to get the interview or she won’t have a job any longer and her job is her life.

So Joe proposes that Keri hang with the Kowalski family for their 2 week vacation (this includes his 3 siblings, spouses, his parents and his niece and his 4 rambunctious nephews) but he doesn’t think she’ll actually do it. Much to Joe's delight and consternation she agrees.  The plan is: for every day with the family that Keri makes it through she gets to ask one question. Joe also gets to ask Keri one question. There are rules that Keri has to follow, like she can't get out of any family activities which include four wheeling, life guard duty with the kids and s'mores making and she can't print anything about Joe's family.  She agrees because she knows she will do anything to get the interview and save her job. But during the two weeks with Joe’s family Keri starts to have her old feelings for Joe – or is it just the vacation that she’s liking? She’s not sure. And the info that she’s getting from Joe isn’t exactly scandal ridden, which is exactly what her boss wants. So what does she do? Write the private stuff about Joe and his family that she’s discovered or lose her job?

I really liked the way Keri and Joe’s relationship was told as well as the reminiscing about the good times they had had as high school sweethearts. On top of that we got to see the relationships that Joe’s siblings were having problems with and how those were dealt with. I think it showed a true family atmosphere while incorporating true life and love as well.

This is my first read by Shannon Stacey but I can tell you it won’t be my last. She had a way, in this book, of bringing fun, family, love, romance and a great tension – both personally and professionally – into the story and it was wonderful. Though the book wasn’t a fast paced story it was definitely a the kind of book that you just didn’t want to put down.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

I received this book from the publisher

What I Read Last Week

Hey there peeps! I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday. Mine started out strangely with some weird calls at work but it’s looking up now.

It was a quiet weekend – we just went backpack shopping for the girls to get ready for school. Yes, they start on Thursday! It just doesn’t seem like it’s been 2 months since they got out of school but apparently time flies when you’re having fun. lol! They’re both very excited – my youngest to see her friends and my oldest to start Jr. High. Oy, I still can’t imagine she’s old enough to start Jr. High but the facts are staring me in the face so I guess I gotta go with it. lol

It was a good reading week. I look at my list of weekly reads on Goodreads and sometimes I’m honestly shocked that I’ve read so much. It just doesn’t feel like I have, especially this week as I spent most of the weekend watching movies with my girls and playing the wii. J

So what did I read this week?

First up was Serengeti Heat by Vivi Andrews. I’ve had this novella for a while and finally decided to delve in. It was about a girl in a lion shapeshifter pride who is the smallest lioness in the bunch. Ava gets the worst of everything because the pride always fights for what they want and since she’s so small she doesn’t win. She decides she’s going to go out and get some human booty one night at a bar but is stopped by the new alpha, Landon, who puts the big kibosh on her anticipated night of sex. But he’s not immune to the little lioness and decides small or not she will be his new queen. He just has to convince her of that. I liked the story for the most part – Ava was just too insecure for me - only when she was in bed did she let loose. I guess that was good for Landon! lol 3.5 out of 5

Next was the second book in the Serengeti Shifters series called Serengeti Storm by Vivi Andrews. Another novella within the lion pride but this one was about Shana who had left the pride when Ava became queen. Now she’s back and she’s out to get Landon. But Caleb, Ava’s brother, has always been in love with the woman and he’s decides she’s finally going to be his. I liked Andrews’ writing in this story as well but Shana was a brash, harsh, bitchy woman and I just couldn’t like her too much. I thought it was great that Caleb loved her despite her faults, and there were many, but I just didn’t get the attraction. 3 out of 5

The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter was a darned good book. This is book 6 in the Lords of the Underworld series and was Gideon’s story. He’s the keeper of lies and he was introduced in the previous book to Scarlet who is the keeper of nightmares – oh, and she says that she’s his wife! He has no recollection of ever marrying her, but there are definite signs that he knows her – like his tattoos that match hers. It was just a darned good story – along with info on Amun, Strider, Paris and we got to see a bit of Torin in this book as well. 4.25 out of 5

My next read was for The Book Binge. Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn tells the story of Rob who gets attached to and decides to protects a nun named Davina. Only she’s not a nun yet, and she’s being protected by the king for reasons that she can’t tell Rob. They fall in love but there are major roadblocks to bypass before they can have their HEA. This is the first book in the Children of the Mist series but kind of a continuation of the MacGregor family. We read about Rob’s parents in Laird of the Mist. 4 out of 5

Next was The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller. This is a new YA book that will come out on August 31. It’s the story of Haven who has visions of her past life and finally decides to investigate. I’ll be posting my review of this book on reincarnation on Friday.

Next was Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson. This was a cowboy/bartender romance. You can read my review here. 3.5 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was The Key by Lynsay Sands. I just love her historical romances and this was no different. This one told the story of an English woman who married a Scottish Laird’s son. She starts making changes in the household and he’s just not happy with them. The one he’s most unhappy about is that she puts on a chastity belt and refuses to have wifely relations with him until he bathes. But he’s not going to change his routine for her, who does she think she is?! He bathes twice a year and the next time is at the end of July and it’s only June…so no! OMG, just a fun, funny historical. 4.25 out of 5

My next read was a novella that I think every person should read whether they read m/m romance or not. It was Fugly by KZ Snow and it was so wonderful I can’t tell you how much I loved it. The story involved characters Adin Swift and Jackson Spey but they were in it just a bit. It told the story of 4 gay friends – 3 of whom are always on the hunt for the most beautiful men to sleep with. They’re condescending to those they don’t feel are pretty enough or up to par and never ever look beneath the surface – in their prey or in themselves. Jackson decides to show them that there’s more to people than their looks and puts a spell on them so that they have facial lesions - only not everyone can see them. They themselves can and the people they are attracted to can see them and now the 3 men are the ones getting spurned for not being the perfect specimens of manhood. Watching the three men come to terms with who and what they really are inside and finally seeing other people for who they are and not what they look like was incredible. I laughed, I cried. Just. So. Good! A very definite 5 out of 5 from me.

Razor Burn by Scott & Scott was my August pick-it-for-me challenge book. Ben picks up Blayne in a coffee shop. Though Blayne is adamant that he isn’t gay he agrees to have lunch with Ben. Ben takes him back to his apartment and the two men have a bit of afternoon delight – after which Blayne tells Ben that he’s married. Ben’s friend Emily decides to have some fun and sends unemployed Ben’s resume to Blayne’s work – where Blayne’s father, the owner of the company, hires Ben to be the Creative Head on his ad campaign for the new razor they’re coming out with. The story revolves around Blayne and Ben’s relationship but also the relationship between Blayne and his father and a bit about Blayne and his wife. It involves amnesia, power struggles and so much more. There were some issues I had with the book but overall a pretty darned good read. 4 out of 5

And last on the list for the week was Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey. A story about a woman who works for a magazine that wants to the scoop and scandal from a reclusive best-selling author. When Keri’s editor finds out that Keri is Joe’s ex-girlfriend she sends her to get the interview. She’s to get the interview or lose her job. I’ll be reviewing this on Wednesday.

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!