Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Long Way Home (and GIVEAWAY!!)

I love me a good romance any day of the week, even more so when it isn't over the top. Triple that if it's written by Mariah Stewart.

The Long Way Home - Mariah Stewart


As the only child of a wealthy investment manager, Ellie Chapman has never known anything besides a life of perfect privilege. But her years of good fortune come to an abrupt end when her father is exposed for swindling billions of dollars from innocent investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. And just like that, Ellie loses everything: money, job, home—even her fiancé, who’s jailed as her father’s partner in crime. With no job prospects on the horizon, no cash, and her family name in tatters, Ellie has only one place to go.
.
Sleepy St. Dennis, Maryland, is hardly where Ellie intends to stay, however.  Keeping her identity a secret, she plans to sell the house her late mother left her in the small town and use the proceeds to move on with her life.  Unfortunately, her ticket to a new beginning is in dire need of a laundry list of pricey improvements, many of which she’ll have to do herself.  And until the house on Bay View Road is fit to be sold, the sole place Ellie will be traveling is the hardware store.  But as the many charms of St. Dennis–not to mention Cameron O’Connor, the handsome local contractor who has secrets of his own–begin to work their magic, what begins as a lesson in do-it-yourself renovations might just end up as Ellie’s very own rejuvenation.

I've read two other Chesapeake Diaries books, this being my third. The great thing about this series is that they all stand on their own, you don't need to read the previous ones to read this one. And for this being my third, I'm going to just call myself a life long Mariah Stewart fan because I really like her writing, I like how she tells a story, and I like how she writes a romance that feels normal and not absurdly over the top. I also want to say I really like the fact that her lead characters aren't crazy. You know how you read a romance novel and something happens, and the lead female completely over reacts and if this were real life and she were your real friend, you'd probably want to smack her up the head? 

That's not how these characters are written, praise baby jeebus. 

This story focuses on Ellis, who after her dad and fiance go to prison for being thieving assholes, moves to St. Dennis to go through the process of inheriting the house her mother left her. She hopes to eventually sell it and start totally fresh somewhere else. But she moves here, assumes the name Ellie and thinks nobody will recognize her as the daughter of a beloved community member who had passed away years before. 

But as it turns out, she was wrong, and that's OK. 

Then she meets Cameron, the town's handyman/contractor and you can assume what happens there. But Cameron has a story of his own and together they figure out they are really good together. And just went it all feels like it's getting worked out, you throw in Gabrielle- the half sister Ellie had no idea she had. 

Overall it was a good book and I made it my lazy ass Saturday read. Totally finished it in one afternoon while eating truffles and drinking Pepsi. So I clearly fell off the diet bandwagon that day, but that's OK. I'll get 'em next weekend, right? 

If you're in need of a new, good book- you are in luck! I'm able to giveaway one copy to a reader (US/Canada only). Just leave me a comment on here with your email address so I can contact you if you're a winner. I'll draw a winner on Monday, March 4. Good luck! 

In the meantime, take a peek at Mariah's website or Facebook to check out her other reads!


Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm a big kid now.

So you remember when I was all bragging that I got brand new bedroom furniture and it was awesome and amazing, and I was SO FLAPPING EXCITED about it?

And someone asked if Robert would still be in the corner of my room scaring people.
 Of course he is. You'll notice he matches the decor nicely. It may or may not have been planned.
 I'm most excited that Matt's dresser? Does not have a mountain of shit on it. He has two things, and I said as soon as he starts piling stuff up there? It may suddenly disappear.
But here is my bed! And my new furniture! And my new blanket that I hope the cats won't destroy because I got a ridiculous deal on it at Kohl's!

Here's some issues though. For one, we had to get a king size blanket and sheet set because the bed is really thick. Like, a queen size set didn't work even though it's a queen sized bed. And while you can't really tell, my bed is almost the same height as my dresser. I'm 5'3 and I literally have to climb into bed. That's even with the low profile base the mattress sits on. I need to get pet stairs so Batman to get on because he struggles right now and they need to be sturdy enough for me to use because it's an unnatural height to get into. Seriously. Try climbing on your dresser every night.

Then when I have to pee in the middle of the night? There is an audible thump when my feet hit the ground. There's that much distance to the ground. But I will say that overall?

Best bed ever. I don't wake up every hour anymore in the night, my back is not killing me, and no matter what position I sleep in? Totally comfortable. The only thing I'm getting used to is the memory foam i-Comfort pillows. They are really firm, and then get really flat. So it's weird and I'm not used to it yet. If they just didn't get as flat it'd be fine.

Oh, and my super awesome painting that was above my bed? It's back up and I just forgot to take a picture. Maybe I'll do that later on because it looks really awesome all together. As it turns out, I'm super kick ass when it comes to coordinating things and I didn't think I would be.

Just more proof that I really am a super hero.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mommy is on the outskirts of crazyville.

Do you ever notice that as soon as mommy gets super pissed off that everything starts getting done? It's a miracle really, which is why maybe a  mommy should be President. You need someone who can scare the shit out of Congress to make anything happen.

It's been a stressful two weeks. Once again I've not only not taken anything off my plate, but I've instead added youth indoor soccer and swim lessons for the kids. I'll talk about the soccer (with pictures!) another day, and we don't start swimming until Monday so I'll probably have stories to tell you. So that means my time that I block off for reading for reviews and catching up on emails, paperwork, PTO stuff for Olivia's school, is dwindling to almost nothing. I'm stressed out, I'm getting tired much earlier than I ever used to, and I'm starting to lose my mouth filter. I'm not kidding- one of these days I'm just going to start shouting obscenities at people for no reason.

But I do a lot around the house, I'd even say as much as 80% of the housework, plus I cook dinner, I make sure the kid's have their homework done, I help them get organized for the next day, I take them to school, I run them to their activities, I keep on top of what's happening at said activities, and more. A lot more. More than I can even remember because I'm that overwhelmed. And I don't even ask for a lot of other people. I really don't. If I'm asking for help, it's because I have a twitchy eye and I'm stabby.

We don't need a stabby person with a twitchy eye.

So when we got our new bedroom furniture (pictures and report on that coming soon) LAST Friday, we had to do a huge furniture shuffle. Olivia got our old bed and my dresser, Jackson got Matt's dresser, their dressers came downstairs, side tables moved, etc. Then of course I have to go through and clean everyone's room and purge stuff because I'm crazy. And my dining room ends up looking like this:



I believe I've mentioned I'm crazy and I have a problem with clutter and mess. My dining room has been hoarder's paradise for oh... a FULL FUCKING WEEK. I can't even go in there. Matt promised to take it out last Saturday. 

And didn't. 

Every day since then, he's promised to take it out to the garage. 

And hasn't. 

Tonight, I lost it. Admittedly, throwing a pot of cheesy rice and broccoli was probably a poor choice of communication skills. But I think with me holding an empty pot with cheese sauce dripping down my arm and probably a twitchy eye, Matt all of a sudden decided right now is a super time to take it all out. 

And that's what pisses me off. 

Why do I have to get incredibly crazy ass angry for it to get someone to do something? Even the kids, who bitched every 15 minutes about being hungry so I'm furiously cooking supper while sorting through thousands of milk caps, box tops, and soup labels (fundraiser for Olivia's school), then refuse to eat when I get it done. 

STAB. 

Seriously. These are the times nobody tells you about motherhood and wedded bliss. There will be times where you hate your spouse and want to run away. 

This is one of those times. 

Purgatory Reign

Raise your hand if you are in need of a story that absolutely sucks you in from page one?

Good, now put it down because I have one for you and you look silly raising your hand in your cubicle when you absolutely should be working.

Purgatory Reign - L.M. Preston

Peter Saint’s life stinks. But things are about to get much worst. First, his parents are murdered in front of him. Then another victim dies in his arms. Visions plague Peter with warnings that something wants him for a sinister cause. It desires the one thing that Peter refuses to give—his blood. Peter carries within him the one gift or curse that could unlock a secret to destroy the human race. On the run with Angel, a scruffy kid, Peter starts to unravel the mystery. It’s the one treasure the heavens sought to hide from the world. Unfortunately, when Peter finds the answer that he hopes will save the girl he loves, he opens the door to a great evil that happens to be salivating to meet him.

I am not joking when I say this book starts on page one and does not quit. It starts with Peter, hating his life and seemingly alone in the world. His parents have died, he lives in a boys home and is somewhat of a trouble maker, down on life, and he doesn't understand why he isn't able to venture out into the world. 

Until one day, he accidentally gets a girl killed and he's literally forced out in the middle of the night with little to no information or resources and that's that. It starts an adventure where he meets Angel, and then the girl he falls in love with. He has dreams about something really awful, but doesn't really know why  he's essentially being targeted. As the reader, you're able to figure out that everyone who has died around him has died knowing why he's being targeted. 

The book flip flops from Peter, trying to figure it all out, and Gavin (along with his brother Lucien) who are the bad guys. They are desperate to find Peter because his blood holds the answers they need for their sinister plans. *insert cackle here* I will say that Gavin and Lucien are written really well because every page with them it feels evil, nothing non-evil about them is shown and you worry for Peter because he literally has no idea what he's basically racing towards or why. 

It's got to be a series because while the book finishes... it really doesn't. It feels like there is more story to be told and I'll be interested to finish the series out. The story does have some slow spots and while I understand that Peter's upbringing would make you an unhappy/grouchy person, he's kind of got too much attitude. But that's just me. Overall I think you'll like this book. I did. I started it and finished it in one evening because it keeps you involved, something is always happening to poor Peter. 



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

S.E.C.R.E.T (and giveaway!!)

So, how many of you can say you are sexually free? That you've gone through a sexual emancipation that makes you a better lover or partner to someone, or even a better friend to yourself?

Not many.

This is a book review, but it's really more than that when you really think about the concept that this book revolves around.

S.E.C.R.E.T by L. Marie Adeline
Secret

In S.E.C.R.E.T there are…
No Judgments. No limits. No shame.
Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S.E.C.R.E.T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S.E.C.R.E.T is a world where erotic fantasy becomes reality.
This book has been marketed to those who really loved the Fifty Shades phenomenon, and really that's' what it's become. The difference in this book is that Cassie is not with one partner, there aren't even shades of kink in this book and the only real similarity between this book and Fifty Shades of Grey is that it has sex scenes in it. If you are coming to this book to get your tie-me-up-and-spank-me fix, you'll be disappointed. If you are looking for a book that has the sexual scenes you enjoy but with a feminism meets personal liberation theme, you'll love this. 
From the very beginning I loved this book because Cassie is like so many women. She was married, her husband passed away and she finds herself in a rut, just like a divorced woman would be. When she is approached by someone who subtly highlights her lack of anything feminine, she begins on a journey that literally changes her life. What starts off with her writing down nine fantasies that over the course of a year are acted out in order for her to face certain things about herself, she transforms. Let me tell you something, this is something I would have eagerly signed up for as a 20 year old and honestly, if someone knocked on my door to give me this opportunity, I would do it. I really think there are things about yourself that you can really only learn through intimate acts that I would never have understood with my first boyfriend/fiance. Which not to say anything negative about him, but when you are only with one person you have nothing else to compare it to. Then when I was with Matt it was like a complete awakening. FINALLY, I understood why people loved sex and what the hell an orgasm was. Finally I felt like I had a partner who would show me things about trust, generosity, and love that I never would have seen if I had stayed with my first boyfriend. 
Some of the scenes Cassie goes through in order to get her charms (she gets a charm for her bracelet with each completed task) are kind of amazing, a little terrifying, and honestly I don't know if I could have done. Get fingered by a guy in a bar? Um, no thanks. Would it be exhilarating and sexy as hell? Yes. Terrifying? You bet your ass. One part of the book was really great because when she's asked what her fantasies are, Cassie says she doesn't have any, which would be my response. But when you get down to it, that's not really true because I found that a lot of the things Cassie experienced are things that I found would be a huge turn on for me. Which in the end, is why I read a lot of romance novels with similar plot lines, because hello- sexy as hell. 
So what if I want to be banged against a wall by a muscled up secret agent? Don't act like that isn't hot as hell. 
So overall I really liked this story a lot and had a hard time putting it down. While Cassie is discovering herself you feel like you are on the journey with her. One thing about the book that I don't know if I love or not is the ending. Like, I get why it ends like it does. I get it. I understand why she makes the choice she does, but I'm also torn on whether I wanted the happy ending instead. Because I see Cassie happily married to one guy who loves the hell out of her and gives her hot sex on the regular, so is that not how the author sees her? And why? It'd actually be interesting to see if there is a sequel because there easily could be with the seemingly unfinished ending with Will (her boss who loves her, maybe, and who she loves, maybe), and then what happens with Cassie's choice at the end. What happens to her beyond? Also I'd like to know why the women behind the club haven't chosen life partners? Is this a salute to feminism's "I don't need a man" or something more? 
You can purchase the book HERE, otherwise, leave me a comment on this post and one reader will win a copy (US/Canada only). I'll draw a winner on Monday, so good luck!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indiscretion

Oh lambies. It's really rare that I tell you that a book is not only good, but it was emotionally amazing. Sure, there are lots of good books out there and some decent writers but what's missing are literary greats. To be a literary great I think you need to have a real grip of the emotional value of a story, you have to know what a reader needs rather than wants, and you have to be poetic about. Really craft a story from every angle so it literally consumes you.

Which is exactly what happens here.

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow


“Every story has a narrator. Someone who writes it down after it’s all over. Why am I the narrator of this story? I am because it is the story of my life—and of the people I love most. . . .”
Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author on the cusp of greatness. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace whose elemental goodness and serenity belie a privileged upbringing. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome thanks to Harry’s writing grant, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.
One weekend at the start of the summer season, Harry and Maddy, who are in their early forties, meet Claire and cannot help but be enchanted by her winsome youth, quiet intelligence, and disarming naivete. Drawn by the Winslows’ inscrutable magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire. By Labor Day, it is no longer enough to remain one of their hangers-on.
A story of love, lust, deception, and betrayal as seen through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, a narrator akin to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Indiscretion is a juicy, richly textured novel filled with fascinating, true-to-life characters—an irresistibly sensual page-turner that explores having it all and the consequences of wanting more.
I don't know what is more astounding, the fact that this book started out so slowly that I almost gave up, the fact that in the end, I was so emotionally invested I actually cried at the end, or the fact that this is a literary debut for Charles. He writes with such authority, emotion, intelligence, and a real craft that it's normally something you see in the last works of what turns out to be a literary icon- someone we read for years beyond their time. 
The book is narrated by Walter, a dear friend of Maddy but also a friend to Harry. Maddy is the love of Walter's life though it's not reciprocated because she really has found her magnetic match in Harry. Nobody can compete with the relationship Maddy and Harry have because it's perfect. They are basically the best matches for each other in every way and everyone around them recognizes it- they are a pillar to their friends, a goal you'd like to reach in your own relationship. 
You know it's coming but when the affair between Harry and Claire begins you are stunned. It's like you know these people personally. It's a train wreck you can't turn from because it's horrible yet salacious and you can't stop yourself. I almost felt sorry for Claire in the beginning- she's taken in to a world she only wishes she could be a permanent fixture of yet she'll never be. She'll also be the occasional friend of the Winslows and she struggles with it. 
But then I grow to hate Claire. She's naive, she's young, she's selfish, and in the end it almost feels psychotic. I can't tell you what happens in the very end, and though we don't get any real answers- the way she questions Walter about what happens (I'm not even giving you hints, it would ruin it), it feels like it was a confession of sorts. It feels very much like, "I know I can't win but I refuse to lose"/"If I can't have him, nobody will" type thing? Maybe it's not. Maybe I watch too many crime dramas. 
The story takes you on the emotional ups and downs that an affair causes a relationship and it's heartbreaking. I will tell you that as I finished this book I was feeling so hopeful. My heart was so happy for Harry and Maddy and then... it's a crushing blow. I had to re-read the final sentence in one chapter because it rocked me to my core. There are two endings, one is real, one is not, and when you find out which is which? It's like a hot knife to the gut. I cried. I'm not even going to pretend I didn't, I cried. I cried for Harry and Johnny (their son) but I also cried for Maddy. It was so heartbreaking. I didn't want that ending, but it's what was needed. Because as Charles writes in the book, sometimes we need to go left, but we end up going right and changes the course of our lives forever. Here is a passage of the book that really resonated with me and Charles nails it, 
"There is an innate greediness that is part of the human condition. It drove Eve to eat the apple; it impelled Bonaparte to invade Russia and caused Scott to die in the frozen wastes of the Antarctic. We have different names for it. What is curiosity other than greed for experience, for recognition, for glory? For activity to distract ourselves from ourselves? We hate the idea that we have come as far as we are going to go. And we are not content with what we have or how far we have come. We want more, whether it is food, knowledge, respect, power, or love. And that lack of contentment pushes us to try new things, to brave the unknown, to alter our lives and risk losing everything we already had."
Charles is on Twitter and I invite you to follow him there. If you are looking for a book that is incredibly well written and pulls you in, this is it. Read him now so when he becomes this huge author you can say you've followed him from the beginning. I know I will. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grown up stuff. Like furniture and a winner.

Well this weekend was seriously eventful. We got a LOT into it, so here's a quick recap.

But NOT before we announce the winner of the book Fallen. I know, you probably all think I'm some flake and I'm not on top of things. But I am, and the winner is...

#3 Shana!

YAY! So I'll email you and get your info and you can tell everyone you a winner if only for today.

Anyways, back to me.

So on Friday I sent Matt a mayday text message saying he needs to come home ASAP because we are buying a new mattress. That's it. I'm sick of rolling into the rut and having headaches and a kink in my neck and now my back and no- this bitch is done. DONE, I tell you.

When he came home, we loaded up the kids and went to HOM Furniture where we've scoped out beds and furniture for weeks now. And you know that we decided on what we wanted three weeks ago, so I not only took a picture of the items that were decided on, but we had the sales person write it down on the back of their card as a double check.

And wouldn't you know Matt stands there and questions me.

Silly show pony.

So I had to school him, in front of a very amused sales lady, that not only is he wrong, but I have written and photographic evidence as such, not to mention my killer memory.

*sigh*

I don't know why he just doesn't listen to me. So then once he agreed that I was right, he starts thinking maybe we should keep looking and he just doesn't know and yeah. It's annoying. I'm a pretty indecisive person when it comes to food but everything else, once a decision is made, it's done. Shit or get off the pot, I say. So I had to just tell the sales lady write it up because while he wanders around thinking we should do something better, she's writing it up. We all know he's going to come down and agree with me and at this point, I was starving, so I just wanted to go home.

So we have it all worked out and it's being delivered on Friday. YAY. Only four more nights of shit sleep. But here's what we got:
Spencer Queen Bedroom Suite

But we don't have that armoir thing. We have the bed (with storage... oh it's so delightful), two nightstands, the dresser and mirror shown, and then a tall dresser for Matt's shit. I'm so excited. I can't even tell you how excited I am to have dressers that work and I don't have to wrestle the drawers open.
iComfort® by Serta® Savant King Set with Regular Height Foundation
And then we got the iComfort Savant Queen set. I was all, "I don't want to sleep on fucking foam. Foam is for losers." Until laid on the damn thing and almost had to be forcibly removed. It's hands down the most comfortable thing ever. It's like a cloud. I'll be sleeping on a cloud, JUST like a Care Bear. Except we got the low profile one to fit into our bed but it'll be the same height as our current bed. Which, yay. I like a high bed so I feel like I'm really climbing into bed. I'll never have to flip or rotate this, and I'm sure the cats are thrilled. Every time I do that I almost kill at least one of them and take out all of the furniture and wall hangings in the process. If it sinks like a half inch EVER, replaced with no problems.

I may or may not have offered to take their display model, I was THAT excited. But they mentioned something about warranty and cleanliness or whatever so I have to wait until Friday.

But then after all of that excitement, we went out to eat at Grandma's Restaurant. Which, is one of my favorites in Duluth because I like their American Classic burger. To the point where I will literally crave it. God dammit I love that place. Anyways.

So a few weeks ago I was toying with the crazy ass option of eating kale per Finny who was telling me that it's OK to eat and good for you. But then she said it was also used for garnish and I was like, oh hell no. Done, not doing it. That and she said it has a peculiar flavor and very different from my regular vegetable intake of iceberg lettuce.

Well I failed to see this kale shit on my burger and I ate it on accident. I was that excited for my burger.

Long story short, I had to slam my entire glass of Coke so it would go down without my vomiting all over the table which is what I do when I eat things that are bad. It's embarrassing and honestly, if I could control that I totally would. Lesson of this is that A) I don't like kale and B) don't ever ask me to try new things- I might puke.

Matt gave me the look because he knew things were going to go south, which is why I ended up with a mean case of burping and hiccups from slamming that much of a carbonated beverage in a short span.

Clearly better than vomiting all over the place.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fallen

It's a book review, but it's also my personal love letter to Laury Falter. Because I love me some Laury Falter. I have to admit, I get a little nerdy when an author sends me a note with their book. But it turned out to be a good thing because there is another book with the same title that is kind of similar to this one, but Laury was 9 months faster. So there.

Fallen - Laury Falter


Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.
As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.
Dammit, I loved this book. It's the first in a trilogy called the Guardian Trilogy and I'm telling you right now Laury Falter, I want to review books two and three. Matt says I'm not allowed to take money out of our daughter's snack milk account for school in order to purchase these books so I may have to mug an old woman at Walgreens for it. But I'm telling you right now, come hell, high water, or prison.... I'm going to review them. 
I loved Maggie. I feel like I kind of wish I was Maggie. Even though she's got weird powers and is a messenger (she brings "messages" from people who are alive to people who have passed on, and then brings a message back. Coolest job ever.) and has a lot of crap to deal with for being her age, it's kind of bad ass. It also helps that she has a hot soul mate/body guard, Eran to help her out. Just try to wrap your mind around the concept of being able to send a last message to someone who's passed on and know that they got it... and get one in return? The peace that alone would bring so many people is kind of astounding, and it's an interesting concept I haven't read of yet in a book. 
The entire story moves fast, keeps you in and you'll be trying to figure out who is who and what the hell is going on. And ultimately it comes down to a clearly meant to be couple who have, for all of time, made a bad choice somewhere along the way and it sends them right back to the beginning, so they have to figure out how to learn from past mistakes and work together. I absolutely loved it. 
Oh, and I loved her crazy ass "family" at her house. I feel like Ezra, Felix and Rufus are going to have significant roles in book two and three and I'm hopeful because I really liked them. Especially Ezra- I think she knows far more than she's letting on in this book. You know what else I love? How Maggie isn't a bitch. You know how in most YA books the heroine is kind of a bratty, bitchy teenager? One that if she were real you'd be like, "Shut your sass and you're grounded forever"? Yeah, Maggie isn't that. She's got her moments but they aren't unrealistic considering what her entire life has been like to date. She's kind of an adult already going through the motions of a childhood because she has to. Plus the dynamics of high school are perfect in here and so many authors get it wrong. SO MANY. And Maggie's friend Gershom, who is on the wrong team, is kind of a good egg. I mean, he really did right by her and I appreciate that. At least there was one bright spot among the weirdo kids at school staring at her like creepers. 
Just do me a favor and like her on Facebook, check out her Goodreads page, then her website, and then just buy the book. Which oh hello, I see she has another series. Laury- you're going to make me broke, my dear. (But don't you ever stop writing because I'm going to be your crazy stalker fan soon. If you see the bushes in front of your house moving don't panic.)
OR, if you're as broke as I am, GOOD NEWS! Laury is awesome, badass, and wonderful enough to give away an autographed copy of her book to one of my little lambwhores! Just leave me a comment on this post with your email address and we'll draw a winner. 



Monday, February 4, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

Confession: I have had this book on my bookshelf, along with the second in the series, since they both came out... a few years ago.

Confession: I only decided to read it now because I saw the movie trailer, almost lost my shit because I realized that this comes out in a few days and I haven't read the book yet. That's practically criminal.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, # 1)
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


Hands down, one of the most confusing, frustrating, and beautifully crafted book I have read in a very long time. It's a long book and most people reading Young Adult would balk at the size, coming in at 563 pages. I'll be honest and say that there are a few slow parts and while you want to get frustrated at it, you realize you can't because it makes you understand how the characters are feeling as Lena's birthday creeps closer. 

Basically, Lena is a caster (another name for witch) and she doesn't know the extent of her power. Clearly it's huge because everybody is very vague when explaining to her what could happen on her birthday when she is to know if she'll be light (good) or dark (bad) in the caster world. She knows she wants to be light but she really feels she's going to be dark and everyone tells her she can't choose. 

Until. 

But I can't tell you about that because it ruins it. Even if she is able to choose, there are huge consequences to whatever decision she makes, and it's a heavy burden to have when you're just a high school teenager. 

But her boyfriend Ethan is also kind of an unknown freak because he can do things that nobody can explain and future books go into this more but for this book, his mystery is OK. Lena is everything you expect a teenager to be: moody, dramatic, unreasonable, emotional, unpredictable, lack of impulse control, etc. And I feel awful for Ethan because he clearly loves her and wants to help her in every way, she's really kind of mean to him.

Teenage girls of the world- that is no way to treat a really nice boy. 

But my favorite part of this book? Lena's family. Oh are they crazy loons or what. It's kind of Addams Family meets Full House. They are all different and weird, quirky and lovable. I really liked them all for different reasons, which is why I was devastated at the end. 

I can't even speak of the end because it was heart breaking. What a horrible choice Lena makes without realizing the huge, life altering consequence/payment she makes. It's sad but it's also terrifying because the person she loses was maybe one of the only ones who really understood what she is up against in future books. How's that for vague? 

If you are looking for an interesting and promising series to get into, I suggest this one. Yes, it's long, yes it took me days to get through it, but stop being a baby. If you want to get emotionally invested into a story and the characters? Here you go. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Release Me

Oh you know I love me some sexy books, especially during my period and things are slow.

Release Me by J. Kenner

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
 
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
 
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever. 

Who isn't loving the books with hot, rich guys who like rough sex? I know I am, but I'd also like to know where they all are. The story of Damien and Nikki is pretty standard when you compare to every other book out there right now in the category of Fifty Shades and even the Sylvia Day books, so there isn't anything new or different to this book that makes it stand out.

What it does have is a really intriguing story that keeps you reading and really great sex scenes. The characters, while completely unrealistic, seem more realistic compared to the other litany of books just like this one out there. Nikki has some serious emotional scars from a childhood where she was a child pageant star at the hands of her mother. The control her mother wielded over her is released in a really scary outlet that makes it hard for Nikki to be close to anyone in a meaningful relationship.

Not knowing any of this, Damien does some really horrible things that to an emotionally messed up person such as Nikki, bring her right back to that awful place. But he doesn't know that because she doesn't open up to him until it's almost too late.

Overall I really did like this book and I'm interested in the rest of the series. You know they will further look into Damien's history because he clearly has issues, and them together bring a whole other set of issues. The other thing about this book that I liked better than Fifty Shades is though there are some BDSM elements in it, it doesn't feel as sadistic. It doesn't feel like it's coming from a place of pain and hate like it did with Christian in Fifty Shades. Damien's words are more erotic and alluring and that really pulls you in for the whole story.

Definitely a good read if you are loving the romance books that are flooding the book stores right now- it's fast paced, definitely hot, and carries the story line well.

Beautiful Bastard

Oh I've wanted to read this one for awhile and I finally got my dainty little hands on a review copy. And then promptly shut Matt down for sex because I could not stop reading.

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1)
An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Discover the story that garnered more than two million reads online.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.


Kind of like Fifty Shades of Gray? Yes. Kind of totally different? Yes. Is this very confusing? No, don't be stupid. While the set up of the relationship is the same (intern/boss) as is the case with a lot of books coming out now because it's a taboo relationship, the entire premise of it is different. There is no real BDSM unless you consider dirty talk and biting too dark for your tastes, to which I say you are a loser and/or a virgin, but there are plenty of sexual exploits in the book to rival the sexiness of Fifty Shades

I didn't totally love Chloe. Maybe in following books we'll learn more about her but she drove me nuts. She's kind of a bitch, she's kind of indecisive, and she's kind of oblivious to everything around her because she is so focused on her goals that it's clouding her judgement. Is it smart to have ravenous sex with your boss against the conference window? Probably not. Is it prudent to have filthy sex in the bathroom of his parent's house? Again, probably not. But the way she totally withdraws afterwards is a little disturbing. But so does Bennett, but in a very different way. He knows he's over stepping the boundaries and is worried about that, but it seems like he knows all along that what him and Chloe have is more than just really hot, no strings attached sex. 

And hello- San Diego. 

Honestly, Chloe's reaction as they are leaving San Diego made me want to punch her. I felt like any woman who is going to be that irrational over clear guy talk is a moron. For someone who is presumably savvy in business, she doesn't understand that the good ol' boys club is still alive and well and sometimes you have to cater to it. 

Anyways. 

I really liked this book and found it hard to put down even when it was clear that I was in the process of burning dinner.