Review – A SEAL’s Fantasy by Tawny Weber (#bookreview)

A SEAL's Fantasy (Uniformly Hot SEALs, #5)A SEAL’s Fantasy by Tawny Weber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book to be pretty cute, even if the heroine might have had one or two too stupid to live moments. Granted, once she understood the gravity of the situation, it eased up, but still….

Dominic – devoted to his SEAL brothers, I really liked the various layers that Ms. Weber built into Dominic, from his devotion to protecting one of his team, even if it was his not-so-likably officer, to keeping his eye on the asset (Lara). He definitely was a good, strong man without too many alphahole tendencies, even though there was no doubt about his alphaness.

Lara – now there’s a girl to respect. She knew what she wanted (to be a dancer) and when one avenue was taken away from her, she found another avenue for career (computer technology security).. I liked her brains, once she stopped being (understandably) suspicious of Dominic and how she kept her eye on her prize (finishing her degree) even as she was dodging bad guys.

The romance didn’t feel forced to me, which can be tricky in category-length romances, and the secondary cast didn’t overwhelm the main plot. I really enjoyed Lara and the slow beginning of a relationship with her long-estranged brother.

Glad I read it and happy to give it a four-gargoyle rating.

View all my reviews

Review – The Marriage Agenda by Sarah Ballance (#bookreview)

The Marriage AgendaThe Marriage Agenda by Sarah Ballance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I expected this to be tried and true along the lines of a Harlequin Presents and for a while I wasn’t particularly surprised at it. But the ending. Oh, the ending was absolutely incredible. I don’t think I’ve seen a gesture like Knox’s in a book before and I absolutely, totally, fell in love with him in the end.

Chloe – She’s who she is and makes no bones about the fact that she’s a reporter. Knox proposes to her KNOWING she’s a reporter and she never hides the fact that she’s out to find a good story, and if the marriage helps her so be it. Yes, she’s attracted to him, but she’s up front that she’ll report if she finds a story. Knox knows that, even providing her with files so she sees he’s being upfront with her too. And when she finds her story….wow. I love love LOVE what she does with it.

Knox – A bit standoffish and aggravating with his whole never intend to fall in love thing, but that’s part of this kind of novel. I liked that he was an honest man, even as a politician. He was wealthy, but also didn’t hesitate to wear jeans and a t-shirt to be comfortable.

There were lovely secondary characters who didn’t overshadow the story (campaign manager hopefully will one day get a story, and Knox’s mom was such a gracious woman for the most part).

The romance moves along at a very nice pace and some of Knox’s gestures were fantastic…I loved the garden plants he sends Chloe when her job changes after their marriage. Overall, this was just a very enjoyable read.

And then there’s the ending. Wow. I absolutely (yes, I said this earlier) LOVED the ending and what Knox and Chloe do for each other. Such love…

Check out this book. You won’t be sorry.

View all my reviews

Review – What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara (#historical, #bookreview)

What a Lady CravesWhat a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoy books by Ms. Macnamara and honestly, some of her covers are to DIE for. This wasn’t my favorite cover, nor my favorite Macnamara book, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Some of the things I like: Albemarle the gender-confused cat, Lady Epperly (and her convenient forgetting of Henrietta’s name), the little girls Alex comes back to India with, and Satya.

What I didn’t like: the obviousness of the issue with Helena (older daughter) and the (to me) seemingly forced interest of Alexander in Henrietta. I get that these two belonged together, but I just felt like the romance between them (at least initially) was rushed.

Henrietta – Life gave her lemons and she made lemon cider with them. She went from being in Society to a paid companion with seemingly little bitterness, which was quite refreshing for me. Yeah, she was mad at Alexander, but who could blame her under the circumstances? Still, she didn’t just moon around the rest of her life, she started doing something, unglorious though being a paid companion could be. She was strong in her own right, not afraid to speak her mind (or at least think incredibly rude things) when it was necessary, and not willing to sit back and allow injustice to continue in front of her (Helena situation referred to here).

Alexander – Oh dear lord…c’mon, man. I felt like he took honor to ridiculous extremes. From his perspective, every single thing he did made sense, BUT…that doesn’t excuse him for being a dim-wit when it came to handling women and their emotions because of HIS sense of honor. Still, he did what he thought was best at the time to protect those he cared about, so kudos to him.

There was a nice subplot that dealt with a beautiful jewel case Alexander brought back from India. I really enjoyed my time with Ms. Macnamara’s characters and am so glad I read this book.

One additional facet I really admired/enjoyed – while there were nobles running around, they weren’t up in your face like so many novels set in this time period. Alexander wasn’t a lord (or if he was, it certainly wasn’t emphasized), Henrietta wasn’t a lady, and there are no apologies for such.

View all my reviews

Committed by Sidney Bristol (#bdsm, #bookreview)

Committed: Drug of DesireCommitted: Drug of Desire by Sidney Bristol
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I tried to love this book, I really did. I honestly enjoy good BDSM books (and I never thought I’d admit THAT openly, though I don’t hide it much). There was some good D/s action going, but a few things just marred my enjoyment of that element of it. 1) I really didn’t like the fact that Damien left Poppy after the initial scene with no aftercare. Seriously. It was one of the few things she was very VERY clear about she needed if she were going to be in the sub role. Yes, I get WHY he did it, but I really felt he could have at least gone back in person. It was good for setting up the trust issues that played out over the course of the rest of the book, but this scene jarred for me. 2) Poppy’s supposed switchiness. I also understand that a switch may want to be submissive to a particular dom, but except for one instance, Poppy’s switchy side never came out and I really feel too big a deal was made of her being a switch if the side wasn’t going to emerge more than it did.

I enjoyed the suspense part of this, with the author not shying away from indulging in the villain’s truly evil nature. Emilio – he was quite a piece of work and I enjoyed the storyline that dealt with him.

I’m not sure I completely bought into the romance between Damien and Poppy. He could certainly be sweet and tried to make up for his initial error (biggie that it was), but something about it just left me flat.

Poppy’s family – now there are pieces of work for you. I can’t imagine living life in a commune-type world, but I liked the view of it that Ms. Bristol gives. Her mother…yeah, there are no words for my opinion of Poppy’s bigoted mother.

Damien’s family – awwww, I love me his mom, grandma, and aunt. They definitely were part of what turned Damien into such a good (usually) man, and I enjoyed seeing their lack of hesitation to accept and love Poppy despite the black/white differences.

So – it was a decent read, but I have my hesitations in recommending it, as I’ve made clear. Still, for some good BDSM, I think it’s worth checking out.

View all my reviews

Tory’s Friday Ramblings (8/15/14 #mommyhelp)

Well, I’d normally say ‘happy Friday’ but Tory not so happy today, soooo…yeah. It’s Friday!

Looking for Mommy Advice

As I believe I mentioned last week, Pixie has taken to moving from her bedroom out onto the couch in the middle of the night. This creates problems when I get up to go walk because she’s. Right. There. I come back and as soon as I try to get my coffee, she’s up and rarin’ to go. This morning was particularly bad because she’d flipped on the lights, which helped wake up her sister (I suspect) because as I’m staggering toward my bedroom (and the shower), Blondie comes out and just stares at me. So they’re both sitting there, waiting for me, when I come out.

This really shouldn’t be a problem (even at 5a), but they want stuff. Crackers (their current ‘get up’ snack). Juice. Gum (that was a new one, but Pixie saw the gum on the back of the counter and wanted it). Sure, I can say no, and I try, but then they scream, and when all I want is 20-30 minutes of peace and quiet, I cave. Yes, I know part of my problem is that I’m caving, but I’m desperate to get a few minutes of peace and quiet while I drink my coffee and generally try to relax and psyche myself up for the day.

What do I do to make this stop?

3.5 y/os should NOT be getting up and going at 5 in the morning. They need sleep! This early-rise thing is on top of the fact that they take an hour (or more) to actually go to sleep after I put them to bed. It doesn’t matter when I put them down, they still play and/or fight going to bed for 30-60 minutes (in Pixie’s case, it’s frequently longer than that). So they’re actually only sleeping from like 8:30 – 5. This isn’t enough according to everything I read. Yet…they do it. Day in, day out. I’m going bonkers.

Television

Watched Game of Thrones because hubby and I were tired of our co-workers telling us should be watching it. Starting it may have been a mistake. Because now I must see it more and more. Looooove me some Game of Thrones.

The Quest (ABC, Thursdays at 8) – a reality show set in a fictional fantasy land. Despite critics thinking it’s bad, hubby and I love this. Anyone else watching it?

Writing

Oy. Things are not going well. I’ll leave it at that.

Reviewing

You may have noticed a new page up on the menu bar. This week I dropped into the top 10,000 of Amazon Reviewers, which actually is kind of cool. While I haven’t been posting many reviews here, I post all my NetGalley reviews up on Amazon and this has actually boosted me up onto the “top reviewer” list (it actually is a list of the top 10,000 reviewers), and anyone can access that list. That in turn has led to people seeking me out to review stuff (mostly books at this point, but my first two requests were actually products, tech and clothing). So I finally bit the bullet and cobbled together an “official” review policy. If you’re an author and reading this, please check it out and feel free to request. No guarantees, but if you read this blog, I’m more inclined to look favorably on that request. 🙂

On Life

Frustrated to the nth degree with life. Oh, family (aforementioned demon twin issues aside) is fine, but money is getting to be a really big stumbling block and I’m completely stymied on how to fix that problem. Just mentioning it because I’m getting really depressed over the issue so I may be inordinately cranky from time to time.

In conclusion

Thanks for listening. Hope you have a great weekend and feel free to share your plans with all of us!

Tory’s Friday Rambling (8/8/14)

Well howdy there folks. Didja miss me last week? Don’t call out all at once! Heh, okay, anyway. It’s Friday and it’s August. Ugh. Hot month. Uber-hot month. Lots to say, well, grumble about this week.

On Writing

Welp, as you can see, I’m zooming along in my rewrite. It’s … like nothing I’ve ever done before, rewriting a story to shift focus from plot to character. Granted, I fully get the difference between plot-driven and character-driven now. I’m just struggling with how to tone down plot. Editor agreed to take a look at the first quarter or so to see if I’m on the right track. I got that sent off to her and we’ll see what she thinks. Got my fingers crossed.

On Agent

Yeah…I don’t have one any more. There were some differences in style and communication between agent and me, so I decided to terminate the relationship. It was a great experience and I’m very grateful to her for her help with Entangled. It just wasn’t … a good fit. Goes to show you may want something and then when you get it, you realize it wasn’t what you expected at all.

Live and learn, right?

On Children

Pixie has taken to sleeping on the couch. Oh, she’ll go to bed in her bed (after an hour+ fight every night) but by 5 in the morning (this morning when I left to walk at 4a, the living room was dark and empty, when I came back there was a Pixie asleep on the couch and the light was on) she’s camped out on the couch. Aggravating considering I depend on that hour between walk and 6 to keep my sanity.

Blondie…has developed a really big attitude. In her own way, she’s as stubborn as Pixie. She doesn’t necessarily SHOW the stubbornness, but it lurks there under her sunny, goofy nature.

Pixie also hasn’t entirely given up her night-time clothes changing ways. She went to bed wearing nightclothes (sometimes, if I’m lucky), and then she’ll either change clothes or take everything off. The other night I found her stark naked…except for one thing:

2014-08-02 23.32.26

Yes, she managed to put her sandals on and she slept with them on all night. I swear that girl’s going to be a shoes hog.

On House

I haven’t talked about the house in a while. I’m still loving our house. I can still catch a whiff of the “new house” smell when I come in the evening sometimes, which is awesome. There’s a lot of carpet in it to vacuum though. We’re trying to stay on top of the cleaning thing though. After the experience as we moved out of the rental, I now really get the need for heavier cleaning than just a simple vacuum a week.

Every so often, to get some peace and quiet, I’ll let Shrimp take the girls out in back and play with the hose. Such a simple form of entertainment, but they have tons of fun doing it. Yeah, it wastes some water, but (i) I get some peace and quiet while I’m cleaning up after dinner, and (ii) I get to hear them squeal with laughter and let them blow off energy.

Weight Loss

I’ve gotten back into walking. I’m trying to get to 6-7 days a week, walking almost 3 miles (just exercise, not counting all the regular walking). I usually manage 4 days. It’s actually helping to be in a FitBit group (www.fitbit.com if you want to see what a fitbit is) of fellow Entangled Authors because I’m competitive and I hate the fact that I’m not on top of the steps walked chart. I’m currently in about 5th place. Which bites, buuut I’ll take it considering I sucked last month for walking thanks to the June foot injury.

Unfortunately, as usual, I’m struggling with the eating thing. I’m doing a little better than the last time, buuut it’s a work in progress. I’ve got a long way to go.

I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in my energy levels since I started regularly walking again. Hubby noticed it about the same time I did, so it’s a real improvement.

Now if only the scale would acknowledge it. I know I should be losing because while I’m not eating perfectly, I know I should be at least maintaining, if not starting to see it go down. We’ll give it another week or so and I’ll keep working on my self-control and calorie counting. I’ll keep you in the loop ’cause I just know you’re fascinated by it. J/k…but I wanted to share my struggles.

Conclusion

So yeah, that’s it for me. Hope you’re all having a great August! See you next week.

Historical Quiz & #Giveaway (#rafflecopter)

This quiz comes to you courtesy of Shana Galen, Grace Burrowes, and Katie MacAlister! Click on the picture below to be taken to the Rafflecopter Giveaway! Only good through the 10th, so hurry and take it/click on the Rafflecopter link!

HistoricalQuiz

Quiz: Which Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy

#2 My favorite hobby is …

a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

#4 My ideal man must have …

a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol

***

 

If you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.

 

TheTruthAboutLeo

 

If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!

 

TheTraitor

 

If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.

LoveAndLetSpyAnd of course, as promised in the headline, there’s a contest! Wahoo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway