Review: Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox

When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find
someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?


Lexie put an add out for a riding companion but every time she mentioned she was a woman they backed out. She finally managed to fool someone into believing she was a man by going by another nickname, Alex, and meets up with Tom.

Tom is rough and surly and Lexie thinks he’s just an inexperienced rider who thinks he can do the TransAmercia Trail. Lexie doubts this as he doesn’t seem to have the right bike, the right equipment and the right riding gear. She’s super organized and he’s…not. He doesn’t want a companion though his sister set this up behind his back and he certainly doesn’t want to ride with Lexie because he doesn’t want to be responsible for her – he wants to be alone. Tom finally agrees to ride with her on the condition that the minute he finds someone else to ride with her he will leave her. Despite Tom’s better judgment, however, he finds himself liking Lexie and is wildly attracted to her. Unfortunately she said she’s married (which she’s not) so he is not about to infringe on some other man’s territory.

Lexie finds there are many different sides and personalities to Tom. Despite that she finds herself incredibly attracted to her and she actually likes him. They have their differences but the pair finally come to an agreement. They will be riding companions and lovers until they get to their destination and then they’ll part ways with a wave and a smile. The problem is, as the time goes on, that each finds that they may not want to part when it’s all over.

This was a great little book. It wasn’t very long but it certainly packed a punch. I loved the characters so much and thought they were just perfect for each other despite the two being very different. They meshed well together and certainly incinerated the sheets (or the wall, or the shower, or the hay stack, take your pick) when they slept together. They both had a great sense of humor when they weren’t arguing and they made me laugh on more than one occasion.

Another aspect of the book that I loved was the riding. I’m not a rider myself so reading about it and the descriptions of the scenery and how the biking itself made the characters feel was pretty enthralling.

I’ve loved what I’ve read of Ruthie Knox’s work so far and look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5 
 
Ruthie Knox

What I Read Last Week

Hello!

I’m a little behind this week – so sorry. For those of you who know I work at a church all I have to say is that it’s Holy Week. The week before Easter is a incredibly busy week for me and frankly I was so exhausted when I got home last night I couldn’t have written a coherent sentence if I wanted to! Luckily it’s a short week for me since I have Friday off so I’ll have 3 days to recover. :P)

It was a pretty exciting week at the Tracy house last week. My youngest, after 4.5 years, got her black belt in Taekwondo this past Saturday. She did a really great job and I’m just so damned proud of her I could hardly stand it. The test was 4 hours long so after she was done she was almost too exhausted to enjoy it, poor thing. A few months ago she had decided that she wasn’t going to continue after she got her black belt but now that she has it she’s reconsidering so we’ll see what comes next. I put together a video that is made up of various parts of the test so but it’s fun. She actually had to learn Korean terminology and the Korean national anthem for the test, which is on the vid (sorry it's a bit shakey).


 
 
 
With her main instructors

Happy Chica!

With the Grand Master

Other than that it was a pretty quiet week so I’ll get on to what I read last week.  It may seem like I read a lot but really 6 of these were either shorts or novella's so that counts as like 1 book, right. :)

I started off the week with Six Years by Harlan Coben. This is a mystery about a man and a woman who fall in love and spend 3 glorious months together. Jake knows that this is the real deal – like forever – and he knows Natalie feels the same. Unfortunately after 3 months she breaks up with him and then almost immediately invites him to her wedding to another man. After the ceremony she asks him to respect their marriage and never try to contact her. He promises but after six years he sees an obituary for the guy she married, Todd, and goes to the funeral. Surprise, surprise, the wife that Todd has had for many years, and has teen kids with, isn’t Natalie and Jake is more than confused. He’s never stopped loving Natalie and he won’t give up until he finds out what happened to her. This was a really good book that I just couldn’t put down. I read it in one sitting and I couldn’t figure out what was going on – which I loved. I hate when I figure it all out before the big reveal. Anyway, really good and definitely worth the read if mystery’s are your thing. You can read my full review here at Book Binge. 4 out of 5 

Next up was Timeslip by Clare London. This is the story about Kevin who has the hots for his more than uptight new boss, Marcus. Kevin is really confused when Marcus starts showing up in his room. Marcus feels real but he can puff out at a moment’s notice. The reasoning behind it all was really quite clever. While the story was pretty short I really loved the whole premise and of course the way Clare wrote it I was completely involved. 4 out of 5 

Next up was Light the Fire by JL Merrow. Kurt is sad and alone 2 years after his partner was killed. He gets frustrated by Matt in the gym as he just seems too…out there and perky. Kurt decides to give Matt a chance and things work out. I love Merrow’s stories and this one was no different. I could feel the pain and loneliness that Kurt was feeling, especially when he went to visit Raoul’s grave but I loved seeing him giving life a chance again and it was just a good story. 4 out of 5 

Icicle by Natalie Vale was about Sean who has been in a serious relationship with Zack decides that he needs to go and do. He’s not sure what he needs but he’s got the bug and ends it with Zack, and not in a good way. Now it’s 10 months later and he gets caught in a snow storm and is close to death when he gets saved by Ezra. Ezra is a wanderer of sorts himself and he helps Sean see that sometimes home is the place you need to be. Good story with a paranormal aspect to it. 3.75 out of 5

Next was Second Son of a Duke by Gwen Hayes. This is the story of two men who force their siblings to marry. They’re more or less ambushed but they make the most of it. After a horrid wedding night they start to see each other in a different light and end up falling in love. It was a cute story but not real deep. 3 out of 5 

Most Likely to Succeed by Kate Davies is the story about Kelsey who was voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school. Now it’s time for her high school reunion and she’s ashamed and embarrassed because she feels she’s done nothing with her life. Her old friend Nathan is there and while they become lovers he also shows her that taking care of your family is definitely something to be proud of. You can read my review here. 3.75 out of 5

Let it Be Me by Kate Noble is about Bridget who is an accomplished pianist who would like nothing more than to study with composer Vincenzo Carpenini. After he fails to show in England as she was told she talks her family into a vacation in Venice and goes looking for him. She ends up as his student but only because he’s in a competition to save his own skin. His companion, Oliver Merrick, thinks more of Bridget than he does the music and they end up falling in love. This was a great book. I loved the descriptions of the music and what it portrayed and how it made a person feel. Just a great story. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

My next read was Only Lycans Need Apply by Michele Bardsley. This is the story of Moira who is an archaeologist and has almost discovered the resting place of ancient vampires. She’s interrupted in her dig by Lycans and vampires both good and bad who want what’s in the tomb. Moira finds out she’s a different being than she thought and only she can open the tomb, with help from Lycan, Drake. I found this story to be entertaining and I liked the whole good vs. bad vampire and the adventure of opening the tomb but I thought the romance itself wasn’t much. It was kind of meeting, attraction, sex then love. It happened way to fast, imho and the characters really knew nothing about the other at all. A bit frustrating but the rest was pretty good. 3.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Casual Sex Friday by Evie Kiels was next. Ben and Calvin went out a while back and Ben was bored out of his freaking mind. Now Calvin asks Ben out every Friday and Ben has to repeatedly say an adamant no. Ben thinks he’s got Calvin figured out but when Calvin finds Ben in the park watching a live feed of people having sex on a website. Calvin takes over Ben’s fun from there and Ben sees that there’s a whole other side to Calvin he’d never known existed. This was another cute story with lots of sex and not too much depth…definitely entertaining. 3 out of 5

Semper Fi by Laura B. Cooper and Christopher Cooper was my next read. Hot cover, not so hot book. (I’m gonna just copy and paste what I put on Goodreads): Mattie gets drunk dialed by her boyfriend of 7 1/2 years, Travis, and since they're in different states he asks if he can screw someone else cuz he's horny. She says, "hell no" and he says, "we're done." She heads to the airport so she can fly to where he is and see him face to face. We get the impression that she's going to just talk to him to see what's up but later in the book we find out that she was going to break up with him. She's stuck at the airport all night because of a storm and meets Logan who is a Marine who is on his way back to his unit after attending his father's funeral. The two hit it off and talk for hours. Next think you know they're kissing AND having sex behind the ticket counter at the gate (and getting caught)! Seriously! This scene was so ridiculous I just laughed. She had "heaving breasts" and "raging nipples" and when he looked at her "steam rose from his eyes." OMG what a crack up! I was a bit perplexed by Mattie's insistence that Travis not sleep with anyone else and then she's goes and does it in public with a guy she just met. Double standard or what? Logan falls hard and fast for Mattie but Mattie doesn't have a clue what's going on in her life and can't decide what she wants to do about the two men. The story goes on to deal with Mattie and Travis, Mattie and Logan, Mattie and her family, Logan and the memories and demons he's dealing with, and it kind of goes off into a weird area with Logan's dad and his kinky sex habits. It's a story that had a great idea but it was just written oddly, imho. What started out as a fun romp tried to become too deep and it just didn't work. 2 out of 5

The Duke’s Tattoo by Miranda Davis is the story of Prudence who was banished by her brother after an incident with the Duke of Ainsworth. Nine years later and she has the man kidnapped, drugged and tattooed but then discovers it’s not the right Duke of Ainsworth. Jem, the current duke wants to get back at the person who did this but when he figures out who it is and then meets her he wants something completely different – her, permanently. But Prudence is an independent woman and isn’t falling into Jem’s arms. The story was cute and I loved the humor and witty banter that Jem and Prudence had going but imho things were dragged out way too much and I found myself wanting things to move along. Prudence on one had was wonderful and the other so incredibly dense I wanted to shake the woman at times. In the end it was a good story and I’m glad I read it. 3 out of 5 

Last for the week was Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright. Latent shifter Taryn Warner is the healer of her pack but treated like crap – even by her father – because of her latency. She is approached (in an unorthodox way) by Trey Coleman who wants her to act like his True Mate for 3 months so that he can build an alliance with her father’s pack in order to fight his uncle’s pack. The couple have their issues but they can’t stay away from each other in the bedroom. This doesn’t make things easy as they can be mates but each of their real True Mates died previously. The story is mostly a love story with a great number of incredibly hot sex scenes involved. We got a tortured hero in Trey and a snarky, sarcastic, smart-ass heroine in Taryn and I loved them both. Taryn was awesome. I know a lot of people don’t like the snarky bitch heroine but if done right they are wonderful. Taryn kind of reminded me of Sara Morrighan in Shelly Laurenston’s Pack Challenge (another book I love to pieces) in that she was an alpha female who was underrated and pushed aside for what is thought her handicap, but doesn’t take shit from anyone. Her snappy comebacks to Trey’s grandma (who was a bitch) were wonderful and I laughed each time. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
No Turning Back by HelenKay Dimon
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
Still Life with Shape-Shifter by Sharon Shinn
Six Years by Harlan Coben
Down to You by M. Leighton


Happy Reading!

Review: And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle

Daphne Dale never could have imagined that when she answered an advertisement in the newspaper that she would find true love. Now she has the opportunity to meet her unknown suitor, but it means traveling to Tabitha’s wedding, and into the heart of her family’s sworn enemies. Everyone knows the Seldons are terrible rakes and bounders, but Daphne will risk anything to gain the happiness she is certain is right around the corner.

Lord Henry Seldon is aghast at the latest addition to the house party guest list—one would think after the unforgettable scandal Daphne Dale caused at the duke’s engagement ball, she wouldn’t dare show her face at the duke’s wedding. But here she is, poking her nose where she shouldn’t and driving Henry mad . . . with an unforgettable passion that will turn enemies into lovers.


Lord Henry Seldon is rather mad at his nephew Preston who put an ad in the paper saying that Henry was looking for a wife. Of course he didn’t put Henry’s actual name in it and he didn’t have it sent to his address directly but Henry’s now inundated with letters from lonely hearts all over London. Henry has no intention of writing to any of the women but one letter falls out of the basket and he opens it. The woman is impertinent but funny and Henry finds himself writing back to this Ms. Spooner under the pen name Mr. Dishforth. The correspondence goes on for over a month when they find out that they’ll both be at Preston’s engagement ball. (Preston and Tabitha were the main characters from the previous book in this series, Along Came a Duke.)

Ms. Spooner is actually Daphne Dale, a good friend of Tabitha’s, otherwise she wouldn’t be anywhere near the ball being held in a Seldon home. The Dale family and the Seldon family have been enemies for centuries and they’re not about to make up now. Daphne is so excited to finally meet Mr. Dishforth but she has no idea how to identify him. He told her to wear red, which she did, but little did he know that red was a popular color that season and there were quite a few women in red. When Daphne and Henry spot each other from across the room they are captivated. Not realizing who the other is they dance and have a wonderful conversation. They don’t actually tell each other that they are Spooner or Dishforth but each is sure that the other is THE ONE…until both families intervene and their true identities are revealed. That puts an end to any intimate feelings they might have for each other and go their separate ways.

Much to Henry’s dismay Daphne ends up at Preston and Tabitha’s house party that is being held as part of their wedding. Daphne really doesn’t want to be there but was told by Mr. Dishforth that he would be there as well so she heads to the country. Henry can’t believe a Dale is in his house but he’s excited to hear that Miss Spooner is in attendance and tries to ferret out who she is among the unmarried attendees. While each is trying to figure out who their pen pal is, Henry and Daphne somehow become closer and actually fall in love, must to their dismay. They won’t admit their love because they are each waiting for their correspondent to show up and save them from loving the wrong person.

This is what could have been a complicated premise that was made quite readable by Boyle’s writing. She made the madcap adventures of Henry and Daphne fun and enjoyable and the feuding families interesting enough to want to know more.

Daphne, even at the end of the book, was a bit of a mystery to me. I didn’t know anything about her immediate family, siblings, growing up, nothing. I learned some facts when Henry and Daphne were together and they seemed to have something in common but other than that I felt that Daphne was a complete mystery to me. While I wanted her and Henry to get together I wasn’t sure that they were right for each other.

Henry I got to know a bit more but the story was really based on their time together and not anything from the past. While this was fun it left a certain depth out of the story that would have made it that much more enjoyable for me.

The feud between the families seemed to be an ongoing thing. It was mentioned several times by various members of both families in the way of…remember so and so Seldon with so and so Dale and see who that turned out. We were never given any information and to what actually happened with those people so it was hard for me to see where the feud started.

In the end the book was good. I do think that the secrecy about their identities was taken a bit to far for my liking but it all worked in the end. The end was sweet and it all worked out and that made me very happy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Elizabeth Boyle

Review: Most Likely to Succeed by Kate Davies

Ten years after being voted Most Likely to Succeed, Kelsey Moore is still living in her hometown, still working in her family's flower shop, and too embarrassed to attend her high school reunion. Only the chance to reconnect with her study buddy—and secret crush—Nathan Barrow tempts her to go.

Nathan isn't sure why he came back for the reunion after spending the past decade working abroad. But when he runs into his former lab partner, Kelsey, he's sure glad he did. The chemistry between them is as potent as ever, and when she offers him a weekend of wild, no-strings-attached sex, Nathan knows he'd be a fool to say no.

Nathan can't be tied to one place for long. But the more time they spend together—in and out of bed—the more Kelsey wonders if their reunion could become something more permanent. That is, if Nathan is still interested when he finds out she's been less than honest with him about her life since graduation…


I think we all are a little leery to go to our high school reunions (for those who have already had one, that is) for a whole host of different reasons: we’ve gained weight, we don’t think we look good, we’ve aged, we don’t have the job to beat all jobs – you name it, there are reasons not to go. This was the case with Kelsey. She was a great student in high school and even got a full ride scholarship to Stanford. Right after graduation, however, her father left her mother and that put her mother into a tailspin. Kelsey decided to stay and help her mother with her florist business and now 10 years later she’s still there, never having gone to college. She’s ashamed that she, according to her own standards, never did anything with her life. Kelsey’s friend Tess talks her into attending the first event (it’s a whole weekend reunion) at a pub and she runs into her old friend and crush, Nathan.

Nathan was, and still is, a science geek. He spent most of his time in the science lab and really didn’t attend many school functions. He’s not sure why he came to the reunion but he hopes to run into his old friend Kelsey. The first night at a local pub he runs into Kelsey and not only do they meet up but sparks fly. They end up in bed together and spend the weekend together. Kelsey doesn’t tell Nathan the truth about her job and in the end this creates problems – some of her own making, some made by Nathan.

I thought this was a very cute story. I loved Nathan and Kelsey together and the fire they built in each other. They were just so comfortable with each other from almost the first moment and it was like 10 years hadn’t passed since they saw each other last. I think that’s a sign of true friendship – you haven’t seen the person, or even talked to them for forever but when you see each other again it’s like no time at all has passed.

Now Kelsey, I have to admit, was at times annoying. I say strictly about her thoughts about her won job. I think what she did was admirable (staying to take care of her mother and the business), as did Nathan, and I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around her shame. I understand hesitance but she seemed to take it to the next level. I also kept thinking, why didn’t she take online classes or something! lol

The friends Tess and Bree that Kelsey had had since high school were great. We are obviously going to be reading about their stories in future books, as the author set it up that way, and I can’t wait to see what happens with them, especially Bree who has a juicy story. :)

Overall a good story that I just a couple of issues with. It was a light quick read and I would definitely recommend this for those who want a fun afternoon read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Kate Davies

What I Read Last Week

What Beautiful Monday! 

They said it was supposed to be overcast today but so far it’s a gorgeous day here in Southern California. I did have a bit of a shock this morning on my way to work. After dropping the kids off in beautiful weather I drive down the street a couple of miles and found a wall of fog. Weird. (Not sure if you can see it)




Yesterday the girls and I went to the mall to buy a gift for one of their friends and my youngest found these glasses. I couldn’t believe the amount of “stache” stuff they had on hand! Funny. 


Since I’m sharing pictures I thought I’d add this one in of my oldest and my kitteh, Echo. So cute together. If anyone else in the family tried to do that to the cat she’d run like hell. lol (It's a little grainy, sorry)



So I started off the week with Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. I just LOVE the Mercy Thompson series so much (thanks again, Renee) and this one was no different. In this story Mercy is almost on her own as she searches for the entire pack after they’re kidnapped. She gets help from unlikely sources and of course kicks some ass. As a bonus in this story we got 2 whole chapters from Adam’s POV! Woohoo! Good stuff! 4.5 out of 5 

Next up was The Baby Bargain by Jennifer Apodaca. This story is about Adam who’s pretty messed up from his childhood and his horrible parents as well as another incident that is undisclosed. He is back in his hometown after being gone for years to sell his parents home with no plans to remain after the sale. That’s before he sees his old love, Megan, and the old feelings start to stir. Pile those feelings on top of the fact that he finds out he has a son and someone is framing Megan and Adam is suddenly feeling things he never thought he would, nor does he want to. This was a good category length story with a definite alpha hero. 3.75 out of 5 

Still Life with Shape-Shifter by Sharon Shinn was not the shapeshifting paranormal story I expected. It was 2 stories in one that eventually intersect for a very short time. I can’t possibly even give you a little without telling you a lot of the story. It’s somber and dark and has to do with loving and losing those you love and how you deal with those people in life and in death. My review will post on Thursday over at Book Binge if you’d like to read more about the story. 4 out of 5

No Turning Back by HelenKay Dimon was a contemporary read about three brothers who claim a house that their grandmother had left them. Their father was a con man and he once stole from the town. Now there are more than a few that want the brothers gone, including Mark Baron. Mark’s daughter, Leah, was raised to hate the Hanovers and it’s her job to get them out of town. She’s nicer than her father though and while she’s trying to move them out she’s falling in love with brother number 2, Declan. This was an angrier book than I expected. The brothers have their issues with the town, the townspeople are divided on their feelings toward the brothers, Mark Baron is a complete ass and treats his daughter like dirt. Yes, there was an HEA for the most part but lots of things were left open when the book ended. It just wasn’t a happy tale to me, at all. 3 out of 5  

Bite Me, Your Grace by Brooklyn Ann is the story of a woman who is caught in a compromising position (kind of) and ends up having to marry the Duke that lives nearby. He’s a vampire though and there are lots of things going on with her not wanting to marry him at first and with him trying to decide what to do with the little wifey in the future when she starts aging and he doesn’t. It was a decent read that was entertaining. 3.5 out of 5  

Last for the week was Steamroller by Mary Calmes. How do I describe this story? Carson is a star player on the college football team – famous really – and he wants Vince. Vince has no idea that Carson knows he exists but when Carson makes his move there’s nothing Vince can say to deter Carson from his chosen path. The love story in this book happened SO very quickly but it was so well done that I was totally rooting for the guys to stay together. Carson was the steamroller and I loved his confidence in himself as well as the confidence he had in Vince. Really good. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Mating Instinct by Katie Reus
The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm
From Here to Eternity by Paige Cuccaro


Happy Reading!

Book Giveaway: Fame by Tilly Bagshawe

I have 2 print copies of Fame by Tilly Bagshawe to give away. Here's a little info about the book:


When legendary film director Dorian Rasmirez gambles his fortune on an opulent remake of Wuthering Heights, he knows it’s his last chance to salvage his career. Thanks to a bitter public feud with rival producer Harry Greene, Dorian desperately needs a hit—a big one—and he’ll do anything to get it. Anything, including casting disgraced Hollywood bad girl Sabrina Leon in the lead role.

Sabrina catapulted to fame at an early age in rags-to-riches and made-for-tabloid drama fashion. Now, the young starlet is as famous for her battles with drugs and alcohol as she is for her intoxicating beauty. But Dorian knows that with the right leading man, Sabrina could deliver the performance of a lifetime. Enter Viorel Hudson, the arrogantly sexy British import whose Heathcliff promises to be the most explosive Hollywood has ever seen.

But as hot as the two actors’ on-screen performance is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the drama unfolding behind the scenes. 


Leave a comment on this post, along with your email address, no later than 7:00pm (Pacific time) on March 29th to enter to win. (US/Canada only - sorry but no PO Boxes)

Amazon link to Fame

Saturday Song

For your Saturday listening pleasure I give you Hinder with What Ya Gonna Do.  Enjoy!

Review: Highlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks

Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.

Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever. 

In book 1 we read about Ian McHugh. He was, in three words or less, a “big ole bastard”. Seriously, that man was demented. Now that he's gone the Armstrong and Montgomery families have now banded together and 4 of their sons have descended upon the McHugh Keep and have found it in desperate straights. Patrick McHugh, Ian's father and the true laird, has deserted his clan in fear and has taken most of their stores with them. The remaining McHugh's are fearful but also belligerent to the new laird, who is Bowen Montgomery. 

When they first arrive they meet Genevieve McInnes. They just know her as Genevieve and that she was Ian's whore. She was however, kidnapped and kept as Ian's prisoner. He raped her repeatedly and even cut her face so that no one else would want her. To say that Genevieve has emotional issues is to put it mildly. Bowen, however, sees a woman who is strong for having put up with not only the horrors of Ian but also the extreme disdain and hatred from the rest of the clan. When the keep is attacked and Genevieve becomes fierce in battle she's thought of even less. Again Bowen comes to her defense. 

On top of those issues then there's the part she played in the kidnapping of Eveline in book one that Bowen may come to terms with, but Eveline's husband, Graeme, isn't too about. The decision for Bowen, after he falls in love with Genevieve, is to keep her and make himself happy or send her home and make her happy. Not an easy decision. 

This was a very emotional read. Reading about Genevieve's experiences was quite hard and pretty heartbreaking. There was yet another incident in the story that Genevieve had to deal with and that was pretty scary as well. I really liked Genevieve and the strength she showed throughout the story. 

Bowen was a man with a huge heart. He saw the good in Genevieve almost from minute one and I loved that about him. He didn't judge, he just opened himself up to listening and for a medieval man to do that was awesome. He even ended up thinking of Genevieve's feelings before his own and that made me love him even more. 

Overall it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it. I didn't like it quite as much as book one but that would have been pretty hard to top. :) I can't wait to for the next book to see who's paired up next. I'm really enjoying this series! 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

For My Southern Friends (and now a lot of my family!)

One of my sisters, who now lives in Alabama, sent this to me.  Since half my family lives in the south now, with my mom and dad in Tennessee, I think I need to read this carefully and learn the lingo (although I knew a lot of it already).  Enjoy! 

True Southerner

Only a true Southerner knows the difference between a "hissie fit" and a "conniption," and that you don't "have" them, so much as you "pitch' them.

Nobody but a true Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc. make up a mess.

A true Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

A true Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is, as in "Going to town, be back directly."

Even true Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

All true Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

True Southerners know instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. (If the trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin'.)

True Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far' piece." They know that "just down the road" can be one mile or twenty.

True Southerners both know and understand the differences between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

True Southerners know that "fixin" can be used both as a noun, verb, and adverb.

A true Southerner knows how to understand Southern: a booger can be a resident of the nose, a descriptive ("That ol'booger!") or something that jumps out at you in the dark and scares you spitless.

True Southerners make friends standing in lines. We don't do "queues," we do "lines." And when we're in line, we talk to everybody.

Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're related, if only by marriage.

True Southerners never refer to one person as "y'all."

True Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every true Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that redeye gravy is also a breakfast food; that fried green tomatoes are not breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I called myself lookin'," you know you're in the presence of a genuine Southerner.

Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it - we do not like our tea unsweetened; "sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 on the freeway. You say, "Bless her heart" and go your way.

Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Warning this review contains spoilers 

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister, the lovely---and almost-on-the-shelf---Daphney Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth--it's all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.


But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her...but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke...for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love...

Simon Basset was a baby that was SO wanted by his father. His father longed desperately for an heir so when he finally got one after 15 years of marriage he was thrilled. When Simon was 2 his father returned to his country home where Simon lived in order to start his training only Simon didn't yet speak. When Simon was 4 he still didn't talk and his father told him that he was a half-with and a moron. Simon finally spoke but when he did he stuttered and stammered. His father wanted nothing to do with him and went as far as letting people think he was dead. 

Simon was angry at his father's attitude and decided when he was quite young that he would prove the man wrong. He learned to speak without stuttering and went on to Eton and then Oxford and made a name for himself in academics. He also decided that he would thwart his father and never get married therefore never continuing the Basset line and let the title die. 

Now Simon is in his late twenties and he's back in London after inheriting the title. He doesn't want to be on the marriage mart and plans to attend just one ball. He soon discovers that this is not something that he will have control of. When he meets Daphne Bridgerton and they hit it off so well they decide to help each other. They will act like Simon is courting Daphne which will keep marriage-minded mamas off of his back and will get more suitors for Daphne. 

Daphne Bridgerton is in her second season and while she's a lovely girl the men look at her as more of a friend than someone to marry and desire. Simon tells her that if he showers her with attention the men will start looking at her as more than a friend and lo and behold he's right! After their very first ball as a “couple” Daphne gets 6 gentleman callers! 

The courting goes a bit far and they are caught in a compromising position. Though Simon swore he would never get married he ends up marrying Daphne rather than die in a duel. He does state up front to Daphne though that he can't have children. He knows she desperately wants a family and lots of children but he wants to make sure she understands that if they get married she will never have children. Daphne agrees and they get married. They are pretty blissfully happy until Daphne realizes that it's not that Simon can't have children it's that he won't. Daphne takes matters into her own hands but Simon is more than pissed and Daphne's not sure they can ever work things out. 

Now I told you a lot about the story but that really doesn't tell you the minutiae of the story. The way the book is written adds so much to this story and I really loved re-reading it. 

The first time I read this story my heart ached for Simon so very much. While it did this time too his anger and stubbornness really got to me and that tempered some of the emotional aspect of the story. I still really liked him as I could see he was a good person with a lot to give Daphne he was just...misdirected. 

Daphne pissed me off a bit this time around, I must say. Her deliberate seduction of her husband while he was drunk off his ass really had me thinking about how selfish she was. Now she was really angry at him but still, I'm just not sure I agreed with her actions. 

Overall the love story was really pretty great if you discount the angst near the end of the book. I'm so glad I re-read the book and I'm thinking I may need to re-read the rest of the Bridgerton's. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

Julia Quinn 
The Duke and I is the Book Binge Book Club book for March. You can read the different posts/discussions here.

What I Read Last Week

Happy Freaking Monday!

How’s tricks? Do anything fun this past week?

My week was pretty bland…as usual. :)

I completely forgot to share a picture from the week before last. My youngest was in her 5th grade performance of “Internal Organ Hall of Fame” and she played the heart which got a Lifetime Achievement Award. Too funny. She got the only solo in the whole thing and she did really well if I do say so myself. Here’s her solo (sorry about the poor quality) and of course her hamming it up afterward.


 

So on to what I read this past week:


Is started off the week with Son of the Morning by Linda Howard. This was a wonderful book that I just loved. You can read my review on the story here. 5 out of 5  

 Next up was Mating Instinct by Katie Reus. The story is about Jayce who is the Enforcer for the Werewolf Council. He and Kat had been dating but then broke up 9 months ago when Kat left Jayce. Now he’s in her new town and she’s a newly turned werewolf. He is there on other business but he decides that he’s not going to let Kat get away this time. This was another great story in the Moon Shifters series. Reus does shifter stories well and this one was no different. 3.75 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle is the next book in the Rhymes with Love series that comes out on the 26th. The story is about Daphne and Henry. They have been corresponding under pen names and have fallen in love. They don’t know, however, that they are from rivaling families who can’t even stand to hear the others name. They fall in love again as Daphne and Henry without knowing that they are each others pen pal. It was a good story that could have been tighter. I thought the fact that their identities didn’t get revealed sooner was a bit much but it was good. 3.5 out of 5 

Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox is the second book in the Camelot series. This story is about Ellen who is fiercely independent after having been under first her mothers then her husband’s thumbs. She meets Caleb when he is hired for security by her famous brother and sparks fly. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5  

Pestilence by TA Chase was a free book on ARe not long ago. The story is about a man who is a doctor who’s wife and son die during the black plague. He is devastated and guilt ridden and kills himself. He is brought back though by Death and charged with spending his life as the First Horseman, Pesitilence. Centuries later he meets a dying man in the Amazon and they fall in love. The story decent, if a little stilted. Bart who was the dying man seemed a bit dim as he couldn’t figure out that there was something “other” about men named Pestilence and Death. Entertaining. 3 out of 5 

The Heart of a Hero by Janet Chapman in book 4 in the Spellbound Falls series. This was Nicholas story and has him courting Julia who is a housekeeper at the resort that was started by Nicholas’s friend Mac Oceanus. The story is about Julia’s struggle with her attraction to Nicholas as she was burned in her first marriage but a cheating and nasty husband. Nicholas was a great hero and I liked the book. You can read my review here at The Book Binge 4 out of 5 

Last for the week was The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. This was a re-read for me but it’s the Book Binge’s Book Club book of the month so I dug it off the shelves and devoured it. I’ll post my review this week.

 







My Book Binge reviews that posted since last Monday: 
Going Under by Lauren Dane 
The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch 
The Heart of a Hero by Janet Chapman

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song....Kind of

This week I have 2 videos and one actually has a song in it yay! lol Have any of you seen Neil's Puppet Dreams?  They are absolutely hilarious!  This is one of my favorites: This is too funny as well and it's the one that has a song in it.

  There are more on YouTube that are all funny. Enjoy!

Review: Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?


Ellen Callahan is a divorced single mother who is enjoying being free of her philandering alcoholic husband. She loves her independence and is taking care of her 2 year old just fine all on her own. Her brother Jamie is a famous singer who had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Carly, who lives next door to Ellen. Jamie still cares for Carly, in fact he loves her, so when pictures of her end up on the internet he asks his security people to watch her and his sister and keep them paparazzi free.

Caleb runs Camelot Security and is anxious to do a good job for Jamie’s security company that has contracted him to take care of Carly and Ellen. Carly is ok with the situation and is pretty acquiescent for the most part but Ellen wants nothing to do with any of the security measures that Caleb puts forth. She would like to have him in her bed, however. From the minute that Ellen sees Caleb she’s drawn to him but fights herself…for a day. Caleb at first thinks that it’s ethically wrong to get involved with Ellen while on a job but what better way to watch over her than to be in her bed? Right? Maybe.

Caleb falls hard and fast for Ellen but Ellen just wants casual sex. Caleb has to work at every little inch he gains with Ellen and he’s completely frustrated. Ellen knows she shouldn’t treat Caleb the way she does – like a sex toy with no feelings - but after being controlled by first her mother and then her husband she doesn’t want to get involved in another relationship where someone will ignore her thoughts and feelings. She soon realizes that Caleb’s not like that but it may be too late to get him back after she opens her mouth and says the wrong thing.

This was Caleb and Ellen’s story, for the most part, but it also had a secondary love story going on with Carly and Jamie that I just loved.

Caleb and Ellen got into bed quickly and they both loved it. As I said, Caleb knew almost immediately that he wanted a relationship with Ellen but she’s incredibly prickly about even discussing it. He has to fight her on everything having to do with security measures as well as any questions he may want to ask her about herself in order to get to know her. They finally negotiate (Ellen is a lawyer) and decide that Ellen can ask Caleb anything she wants any time she wants (which she assures him she will never do) but he’s only allowed to ask her one question per orgasm and then he only has an hour afterward to ask it. Even though it pissed me off that Ellen was being so hardheaded I found this pretty amusing. In fact there were quite a few things throughout the book that Ellen did that made me want to knock some sense into her but the way Knox wrote the story I could never stay mad at her for long. Mainly because Caleb would be there to diffuse the situation.

Caleb was such a great hero. I loved his love of his family and his loyalty to them. Yes, he initially wanted to keep Ellen safe because it was his job but he soon did it because that’s the kind of man he was and he wanted to keep her safe because he loved her. He was kind and patient and an all around good guy. For me he was definitely the highlight of this story.

Carly and Jamie had fallen together and in bed quite quickly but then spent four months together that rocked their worlds. When Jamie got pissed over something that Carly wrote on a blog (not even including his name) Jamie yells at Carly and she kicks him out for good. It takes Jamie a while but he realizes that all the fame and fortune isn’t worth anything without Carly. He heads to her house and tries everything he knows to get her to let him in. I loved Jamie’s creativeness in getting Carly to talk to him. They were so cute together – even though they spent most of the book separated.

Overall this was fun and sexy as well as (sometimes) emotional read. I love the way Knox writes down to earth characters that I can relate with, for me that makes her books eminently readable.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ruthie Knox

Review: Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the legend of the Knights of the Templar—long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power—Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him—and to save herself—she must go back in time...to fourteenth-century Scotland...and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire...

Grace is having problems with her modem (it’s 1996 so think dial up. :) ) so she heads over to a friends house to have it looked at. When she’s returning to her house she sees someone in the window that is neither her husband nor brother and when she gets closer she hears her boss, Parrish Sawyer, talking to her family. It seems he’s looking for her and the papers she’s been translating but instead of asking for them he’s threatening her husband and brother. What Grace witnesses next is earth shattering. Her husband and brother are murdered before her eyes and they make it look like she killed them in a jealous rage. Grace is then on the run to try and save herself as she knows that if Parrish finds her and the papers she’ll be dead too.

Grace is basically a paper pusher so being a fugitive is something she never thought would happen to her. She’s pretty clever though and between her intelligence and probably sheer dumb luck she manages to avoid being captured by Parrish’s goons. She takes the time to research the papers as well as take care of herself and learn to fight if need be. What she concentrates on most is Niall of Scotland. He was a Knight of the Templar and even though most were slain he remained and was Guardian of the Treasure. He’s mentioned in the paper many times and Grace feels a pull to him that she can’t explain. She dreams about him and when she does it’s like she’s with him in person and that it’s real – but it can’t be as he’s 675 years in the past. When she dreams of Niall, most of the time, it’s a sexual situation and she feels horrible when she wakes up because she feels as if she’s betrayed her husband.

As the months go on Grace realizes that the Foundation that she worked for, that is run by Parrish, is evil. They want the Treasure and will stop at nothing to get it. When Grace comes across a formula in the papers that states how to travel through time she realizes that she needs to go back to speak with Niall so that he can stop Parrish.

I have to admit that while I’ve loved the Linda Howard books that I’ve read so far I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one. Linda Howard does time travel? Medieval Knights? Really? I have to say I had my doubts but I was, however, proven So. Very. Wrong. Seriously wrong. This book is all that and a bag of chips.

In this story Howard manages to combine a contemporary murder mystery and time travel romance all in one and does it in a way that entrances the reader. I was 100% into the book the entire time I was reading. I even texted Holly (she's the one I borrowed the book from) and told her I hated her because I wanted to skip work so that I could go home and read! lol (FYI - I didn't leave work) This is just one of those books that you don’t want to put down.

Grace was not one of those average women who is secretly a kick-ass heroine. She was a pretty average woman who was intelligent enough to learn how to protect herself out of desperation. She obviously didn’t want Parrish and his men to catch her and she certainly didn’t want the cops getting a hold of her so she learned what she needed to in order to survive. Howard does an incredible job of showing us Grace's emotions and her despair over losing her husband and brother. My heart ached for Grace and all she had lost.

The romance in this story is very unusual as both Grace and Niall are experiencing each other in a way that they think is all fantasy. Neither of them realize that it’s happening to the other…until Grace decides to time travel. Niall is exactly what she dreamed but he thinks she’s a spy for a enemy clan and though he’s drawn to her he won’t get any closer. Niall’s a huge, mean ass warrior who is rarely bested but with Grace, even when he was pissed at her, he’s gentle and loving. I loved seeing the two of them together even with the secrets between them.

I could go on and on about the story but I have to stop myself from telling you everything! Let me just say that if you haven’t read this book you should. It’s a wonderful story that is well written (do we expect anything else from Howard?) and incredibly compelling. Just an excellent read.  I will go out to buy my own copy as soon as I can because this is a book that I will definitely be rereading.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Linda Howard

What I Read Last Week

Well it’s another day in the neighborhood! I don’t know about you but I do not look forward to Monday mornings. lol They are a pain in my ass in many ways and of course it’s always hard to get back to work after having a couple of days off. 

My week was pretty boring until Saturday when my oldest daughter and I drove out and spent the day with Holly and Princess Bowie. We had a great time talking books and of course my daughter loved playing with Bowie (who is just incredibly stinking adorable!!). The day went too fast and it just never seems like enough whenever I visit, but it was a ton of fun.

Anyway, on to what I read:


I started off the week with Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride. The story is about a werewolf and vampire who fall in love but can’t be together. Both men know that they can’t stay together but they long for each other. It was really good and I very much liked the story. You can read my review here. 4.25 out of 5

Next up was the second story in the Arcada series, Silver/Steel by Belinda McBride. This one was completely different but just as good as book 1. In this story there’s Travis who is a were and he has his self-esteem issues and then there’s a Fae, Dylan, who at first uses Travis but then falls in love. You can read my full review here. 4.25 out of 5   

My next book was The Geek Girl and The Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm. This story is about Jamie who is from 2012 but gets sucked into a time portal and ends up in 1816. She is in an Earl’s house and was deliberately brought there by a witch who saw that she was the Earl’s soul mate. The story is about Jamie trying to adjust to 1816, deciding if she wants to head to her time and the Earl dealing with not only his feelings for Jamie but also his duty and a vindictive ex-mistress. The book was pretty darned funny I enjoyed reading it. I did think the Earl went a little nutty near the end but it all turned out well. 3.75 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey was a complete surprise for me. The story is about a pre-med student who is in town on Spring Break because she couldn’t afford to go with her friends to the Caribbean. She decides she’ll make her own fun, which is completely not something she would normally do, and ends up picking up a guy in a bar and taking him home. Josh knows Ellen because he’s pre-med as well but Ellen doesn’t recognize him. She thinks that he’s from out of town visiting during break and he doesn’t correct her. Ellen and Josh both do some growing during their week-long relationship and their lives change when they both go for what they want. It was really good and definitely worth the read. 4 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

 Down To You by M. Leighton is a story of a girl, Olivia, who finds herself falling for two men who happen to be twins – Nash and Cash. She loves Cash’s bad boy persona and attitude but she loves the gentler and more stable man Nash is. Nash is dating Olivia’s cousin though so that puts a damper on things, but not completely. The story was told in alternating 1st person pov’s and that was a bit much at first but once I got into the story it was good. It had a twist at the end that, while I had figured it out several chapters prior, was still a bit of a surprise. Not completely believable but it worked for this story and I enjoyed it a lot. 4 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

Last for the week was The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch. This is the story of Nell who is one of two survivors of a plane crash that killed over 150 people. When she wakes she doesn’t remember a thing and has to rely on her family and friends to tell her who she is and what he life is like. Unfortunately her family is completely dysfunctional and Nell ends up finding out that things she’s been told just aren’t true. The book is about Nell’s journey but the journey wasn’t exactly a riveting one. The book dragged for most of the middle of the story and in the end wasn’t all that great in the end. A great premise that just wasn’t completely realized, imho, and ended up as a just ok read. 2 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week: 

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

Happy Reading!

Mini-Review: Wicked Lies by Karina Cooper

Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader's imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out--it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long. 

Danny is everything Jonas isn't: confident, optimistic, honest--a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn't mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He's kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through...until now. Danny isn't the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs...

Jonas is the guy behind the monitor. He helps behind the scenes to get Danny Granger out of his cell and to a safe house but while they're on a com together they each feel a connection. Jonas is determined to get Danny out but he feels protective and emotional with this man he's never met before. Danny loves the smooth as silk voice in his ear and wants more of the man behind the voice.

Once Danny is safe and the two men meet it's everything they can do to stay away from each other. They each have their own reasons but that doesn't last for long. Unfortunately Jonas's fears get the better of him and he leaves. Can the two work it out?

This is a very sweet story. At first hard to read because we see one of the heroes getting beaten, but it certainly gets better after that. 

The story is a in between romance as this is story 4.5 in the Dark Missions series. I have to say that I was a bit confused as I hadn't read any of the other books but that didn't make me any less emotional about the relationship between the men. It was intense and a bit heartbreaking even though as (pretty much) an outsider I didn't have the scoop on the stories behind the men. 

The story was a good one and makes me want to get to know more about this world that Ms. Cooper has created.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Saturday Song

Here's Otherwise with I Don't Apologize for your Saturday listening pleasure.  Enjoy!!