Review – A Friendly Flirtation by Christine Warner (@christineswords, @entangledpub)

A Friendly Flirtation (Friends First, #3)A Friendly Flirtation by Christine Warner

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

My goodness, I certainly seem to be running into the ugly duckling trope lately. Either it’s just a fluke or there was a whole slew of them published at around the same time. However, I still enjoyed most of this book.

Allison – Totally and completely a geek with very limited knowledge of how to any of the traditional “make me girly looking” procedures. I totally heart her for that. If my mother hadn’t been a Mary Kay consultant who left me with some lingering memories of how to do things properly, I’d probably be in a similar place as Allison. I liked how she turned to her brother’s friend and asked for his help and even after he turned her down, ultimately accepted his help when he saw how badly she needed it. The only thing I really had a problem with was just how absolutely over the top Nick was when he found out about the growing relationship between the two of them. Still, Allison worked through the issue in an innovative fashion.

Jared – he’s more or less a good guy. He’s understandably concerned about the fallout (rightfully so) given his best friend is also his business partner and Allison’s over-protective older brother. Still, he can’t, won’t, and doesn’t when Allison’s first attempt at a makeover bombs so spectacularly. I really give the man props for stepping in the way he did to help her overcome her makeup challenges.

These two had to figure things out for themselves and I think they both grew nicely as individuals, along with growing into a couple, over the course of the book.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly, which isn’t unusual at all for an Entangled book. They’ve come to be my go-to publisher for both contemporary and paranormal. Hope you enjoy.

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Review – The Millionaire Makeover by Naima Simone (@naima_simone, @entangledpub)

The Millionaire Makeover (Bachelor Auction, #2)The Millionaire Makeover by Naima Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

I’m a fan of Ms. Simone’s work and this was a nice entry to her collection. The story takes the popular “ugly duckling” and “best friend’s little sister” tropes and does lovely things with them.

Khloe – I don’t get the impression she was truly ever an “ugly duckling”. I think her head was just buried under a lot of old feelings, including being all but throw out by the first man she ever had sex with. So, understandably she’s not overly thrilled when her very rich best friend buys the very same man for her at a bachelor’s auction, just as she’s hoping to find a way to make her (believed) intended husband notice her finally.

For years, Niall has believed he did the wrong thing by accepting Khloe’s offer in the aftermath of her brother’s death and sleeping with her. When fate (and Khloe’s best friend) meddles, he is finally forced to deal with both his lingering attraction and his guilt over the fate of his friend.

I liked the way these two and their internal hang-ups meshed together over the course of the story. The secondary characters definitely filled out the story and I’d love to see a story with Miss Richy-Rich best friend getting a chance to get her man.

For me, my favorite moment actually came in the form of Khloe’s brother and how he plays a part in the two of them getting together. He might be dead for the entire book, but his presence is felt both in the guilty/loss feelings of those he left behind, but in the love he held for both of them before his passing.

If you haven’t checked out Ms. Simone’s work before, this would be a great place to start.

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Review – The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire by Sara Humphreys (@authorsara, @sourcebookscasa)

The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire (Dead in the City, #4)The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire by Sara Humphreys

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

I know I’ve read other books in this series, but I don’t remember enjoying them as much as I did this one.

One of my favorite aspects of this was definitely Trixie – she’s not an ancient, able to do anything and everything, vampire. She’s only been one for 20 or so years, but she’s still tough and ready to rumble with the big boys.

And let’s not leave out hunkalicious Dakota. OMG – the man with his good ol’ boy drawl just about left me needing a fan every time the man opened his mouth.

These two had an interesting problem they needed to solve with respect to a slight overlap with Trixie’s human life. I enjoyed seeing the wider vampire (and other supernatural) world in this book, with the assorted royalty of the different species. And of course, there’s no surprise that I’d absolutely LOVE the species that was introduced in this book – GARGOYLES! I definitely hope the gargoyles get brought in more in subsequent books.

So – definitely check this out.. It’s a worthwhile entry in this series.

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Happy Friday!

Hi there. Continuing to tweak the new site. I like the color scheme, I really do. Not surprising, given my favorite color is green. Nicely enough, my new car, a 2016 Honda Pilot, is green!

pilot
No, the above isn’t literally my car, but that’s the color and the model. Purty, aint it?

Still working on my fantasy story, currently called Deyou’s Heart – you can see my word count on the right now. I’m struggling to keep going though. I’ve figured out why the dragons are controlled by the elves, but trying to get the characters moving is a trick in and of itself. Yes, I have a tendency to talk. I think especially in first drafts, the whole thing comes from the fact that I’m thinking it out as I go along. Okay, and sue me. I like when people talk to each other. Still, definitely need to get them off Deyou’s Isle and hunting.

It’s turbulent times at work. For the most part, I’m fairly certain I’m safe (which comment makes me think of Survivor and how the contestant who’s certain they’re safe is actually the one who goes home…..not a good thought and probably inaccurate in my work case), but there’s always the lingering pessimism that I’m one mistake away from being fired.  Still, I’ve been there for coming up on five years (wow…almost as long as the twins have been alive), so I’m comfortable most of the time.

We’re getting a puppy this weekend. Sigh. Hubby and the kids were devastated when we lost Rue last September (she was only about a year old). I was too, particularly since I was THERE at the vet with her, but I found another dog who helped me heal, along with our old reliable other husky. Hubby and Pixie though still have never fully recovered, so this weeked we will be adding Baby Reggie.

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He’ll be coming home tomorrow, assuming the vet gives him his certificate of good health. I’ve got a better picture on my phone that the breeder sent and I’ll probably put lots of pics once we have him.

Hope you have a great weekend. Share your plans with me. 🙂

 

Review – Stone Cold Lover by Christine Warren (#bookreview, #review)

Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyles, #2)Stone Cold Lover by Christine Warren

My rating: 5 of 5 gargoyles

I absolutely couldn’t WAIT to read this book (yet, as usual, I dilly-dallied on writing the review). This is the second book in Christine Warren’s gargoyle series and it was even better than the first.

Fil’s fascination with the gargoyle statue she found at her old friend Ella’s request (in the first book) seems bizarre, even for her as an art restorer…and that’s before the statue comes to life, introducing her to a whole new world of really wierd things. Add onto that, moments after the statue wakes up, someone bombs the local and she and Mr. Gargoyle barely escape with their lives.

Spar doesn’t quite know what to make of the independent little human woman who wakes him up. All he knows is she isn’t one of the Wardens.

The story moves quickly on without letting up. There are new characters introduced (heroine for book 3, I assume, in the form of the witch Fel calls in to help) and old (Ella and her gargoyle from book 1). The threat posed by The Darkness and the major demons is growing at a rapid pace.

I found some of this story to be sad and poignant when Fel loses a friend, and gripping as Spar races to rescue Fel from the big bad. I loved the world building and how Ms. Warren carefully layers in the growing threat without overwhelming you. It’s a careful balancing act and one Ms. Warren excels at.

Finally, given this is a romance it has to be mentioned, there is the romance between Spar and Fel. Yum. I want a gargoyle of my very own, thanks to Spar. I loved how Spar kept trying to protect/control Fel because that’s what he’s more or less known to do his entire existence, and how Fel didn’t let him wrap her in cotton and keep her from all danger. And let’s not forget the sex. Wowser.

Fantabulous book. It’s part of series, but you don’t really have to have read the first to get the gist of this one (though it’s awesome in its own right – see my review HERE).

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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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!

Just a Quick Post

No worries, people. I haven’t died or fallen off the earth. Just fallen into a slump. Heck, I’m reading up a storm but I can barely get myself to stir enough to bother to mark books down on Goodreads and given my determination to beat my self-set goal of reading 200 books by at least 50 books (i’m somewhere around 18-20 books ahead of the necessary pace to read 200 this year), that’s saying something.

I do have house updates and all that good stuff, but I won’t bother you with it now. Reviews, movie discussions, and the like will resume, hopefully this week. I just need to remotivate myself.

Oh, and some of you may have been following me on my old WordPress blog and thought I’d vanished from the ether. I found out how to get JetPack to transfer you to my new blog through my self-hosted site, so now you’re back in the loop. Hope you’ll check things out and get caught up on what I’ve been doing!

Sorry if you were worried about me!

Tory

PS: My house has cabinets now! (No counters as of Saturday though, so we’re not in the final count-down to closing yet, dang it).

#Review: The Billion Dollar Bachelor

The Billion Dollar Bachelor (Billionaire’s Club)

Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin
Date of Publication: February 11, 2014
Description:

BillionThe Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep.

Jax Morrow is a dangerously handsome, spectacularly wealthy entrepreneur whose world is turned upside down when Pandora Garret walks into a dark, smoky bar one night—a stunning combination of sex and innocence. He knows she’s trouble at first sight, but Jax can’t let her leave…unless she’s leaving with him.

Pandora has had enough. Kept under lock and key by her powerful, controlling father, she aches for freedom. When she briefly escapes and meets Jax she knows he is just what she has been looking for: forbidden, unforgettable passion. After one night in Jax’s arms, Pandora knows she can never go back to living under one man’s domination. Determined to control her own life she tries to resist Jax, but a dangerous desire rises between them—one that threatens to destroy them. But both Pandora and Jax discover that they just can’t be pulled away…

My Thoughts:

I’ve never read a book by Jackie Ashenden and it’s books like hers that make me so glad I do the whole NetGalley thing. I’ve been introduced to so many books/authors that I never would have read otherwise. So yay!

Pandora – an interesting character, to say the least. She’s been kept cloistered away by her mobster/gangster father her entire life (supposedly “for her own protection”) and has realized she is about to be married off to a vile man, Sergie, who serves as one of her father’s flunkies. Desperate to avoid that fate, she takes advantage of a momentary distraction in her guards’ attention and runs…straight into the bar where Jax is having a drink, trying to forget the impending doom hanging over his and his company’s head.

Jax’s family business, Morrow, has a reputation for being honest, upstanding, and a generally good company. Unfortunately, a few decades back, the family wasn’t quite so honest and upstanding, having been paired with (as it turns out) Pandora’s family. Unfortunately, that past is about to come to light and Jax is trying to avert disaster. Then this bombshell woman walks into a bar and he wants her. Bad.

Unfortunately, Pandora’s father finds them after they’ve had their night of passion and they find themselves pushed into a fake engagement (well, it’s supposedly real, but Jax promises Pandora it’s just fake while he tries to get the goods on Pandora’s father to get him to stop blackmailing Jax). There’s a lot of interesting push and pull between Pandora and Jax.

Jax fights his attraction to Pandora every inch of the way because he’s afraid of the fact that she makes him want to lose control. Control to him is everything, because he’s convinced if he loses it, people get hurt (he’s got a very scarred past at least when it comes to the control thing, thanks to the lens of a child’s perspective on events). Pandora on the other hand, is completely honest and makes no bones that she wants Jax and tries to tempt him into losing control with her again.

I like how the author chose to end it, using little details about Pandora’s character that had been sprinkled in so it didn’t just come out of left field. These two deserved their HEA ending and I can’t wait to read Donovan’s story (which better be coming soon!).

Four stars all the way and thank you, Ms. Ashenden!

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Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#Review – High Heeled Wonder

 

High Heeled Wonder

Author: Avery Flynn
Publisher: Entangled/Ignite
Date of Publication: January 27, 2014
Description:

HHW

Sylvie Bissette may be one of Harbor City’s youngest glitterati, but only her best friends know her most closely guarded secret. She’s the woman behind The High-Heeled Wonder, a must-read blog for fashionistas everywhere. Gossip, fashion advice, exposés. Too bad some people can’t take a little criticism. When an internet troll discovers her secret identity and escalates from stalking her to threatening her life, Sylvie turns to security expert Tony Falcon for help. The investigator from the other side of the tracks is the olive oil to her Evian water and aggravates her to no end, but it’s not just her temper he’s inciting…

 

Tony Falcon wouldn’t know a kitten heel from a tabby cat, but since most of the bad guys he tracks down aren’t wearing stilettos, it’s never been a problem…until he meets Sylvie. When a murder investigation leads him to the same place Sylvie works, he realizes the feisty fashionista may be his best chance at catching the criminals who killed his best friend. It all leads back to the cut-throat fashion world. But solving that case means going after the people Sylvie cares about, and soon his attraction for her–and the danger she’s in–has him wondering if solving the case is worth hurting the woman he can’t stop fantasizing about …When Sylvie’s almost run over in broad daylight, Tony goes undercover as her boyfriend to infiltrate the close-knit fashion community. And when they discover Sylvie’s stalker may be linked to Tony’s own investigation, what started as a simple plan to find his friend’s killers turns into a hot bed of secrets and revelations. In a world full of overblown egos and dog-eat-dog ambition, Tony and Sylvie must work together to find her revenge-obsessed stalker before Sylvie ends up with a literal knife in the back.

My Thoughts:

This was a quick, easy read, yet another successful book out from Entangled. I’m so glad to be as involved with them as I am.

Sylvie is a great woman with an interesting job – she blogs about the fashion industry. That seems to be a growing profession in books, making a living writing a blog about something. This is at least the third book in the past year I’ve read with that as a profession. She’s got her sad history, and lordy it’s very sad. But she definitely grows over the course of this novel and it was a pleasure to see her realize where her boundaries had been set and then charge through them in pursuit of the man she’s falling in love with.

Tony. Well, Tony. I don’t approve of the initial way he started slithering into her life (the real reason is revealed a good portion of the way through the book), but he didn’t let it stop him from actually stepping up and being the body guard it turned out that she needed. It’s hard not to love and respect a man who literally will throw himself in front of a moving vehicle to protect a girl, and Tony does just that.

There was a lot of push and pull, but these two really needed each other to heal from past wounds. The thing that kept me from giving this five stars is the fact that I just didn’t feel the danger Sylvie was in. Oh sure, she dodged some bullets, has a break-in, and all that, but for some reason the suspense part just didn’t fly with me. On a nice note, I definitely didn’t guess who done it, and I always like that. I just wish I’d had more “heart in my throat” moments, gross as that sounds.

Thankfully they get their happy ending and I’m curious to see what’s next in the series from Ms. Flynn!

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