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Review – Make Me Up – Avery Flynn

make me up Make Me Up
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #3 in the Killer Style series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Former special ops-turned private-investigator Cam Hardy leaves a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes. He’s all charm and sex appeal, and who can blame him for putting it to good use? Besides, it works damn well on the stunning and tough-as-nails makeup artist Drea Sanford. Only this time, Cam may be in over his head…

Drea is trying to keep her naughty affair with Cam a secret. After all, he’s Harbor City’s version of a Casanova…if Casanova had a motorcycle. When Cam makes their hot little liaison known to the public, however, Drea vows never to have sex with him again. Then one of her clients turns up dead. Now Drea is suspect number one—and she needs Cam’s help. But sleeping with him is one thing…trusting him is quite another.

Review:
Ever since Avery introduced Drea in High-Heeled Wonder as one of Sylvie’s partners in crime (and knowing Avery and her 2 partners in crime, I have an idea of who Drea is modeled after, I think) – i’ve been waiting for her story. She has one of those quirky personalities, that I could see early on was going to make for a fun romance between her and whoever her partner ended up being. And don’t worry, Cam didn’t disappoint either. Although I will admit that while I remember Drea from previous books in the series, I don’t have as much of a recollection of Cam (although, I’m sure that he has made an appearance because he works for the same Private Investigations company that previous characters have been employed by).

In keeping with previous themes, each chapter of Make-Me Up started off with a quote about make-up and its influence on life. That being said, anyone who knows me, knows how much I am not a make-up girl. Diverging a bit from my review (but it kind of ties in), I needed to buy make-up for an event a few years back, so my friend took me to Sephora and asked the sales woman to help…let’s just say, deer in the headlights was probably a good description when she started asking me about my make-up routine and t-zones…but even with my lack of make-up wearing (i mean, seriously, make-up or 10 min more in bed in the am…bed is going to win); I could connect to Drea as a character.

I will admit that the mystery/suspense element for me was fairly obvious and I knew the reveal about halfway through the book, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Drea/Cam’s romance. I loved how Drea was a strong enough/confident enough woman in her own sexuality that she was ok with having a sex-based relationship with someone because that is what she wanted (does that make sense?). Overall, I gave Make-Me Up 4 stars and can’t wait to see what Ms Flynn comes up with next.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Armchair Audies – Overview – Erotica

Armchair Audies

The second category that I am listening to/reviewing for the Audies this year is Erotica (although personally, from the descriptions I’ve read, all of these books seem to fall more into an erotic romance category, than Erotica – but that is a discussion for another day, because there is a difference). I would say in the grand scheme of reading that erotic romance/erotica probably makes up about 40% of my reading, with straight romance another 30% and then miscellaneous other genres, the remaining 30%. But when it comes to audiobooks, erotic romance/erotica is not a genre I normally pick up (due in part to listening in the car during my work commute – there is nothing like having a red face going through the security gate at work because you just got done listening to a hot/steamy part of a book ;) ). But I was intrigued by the books chosen and look forward to listening.

The nominations (with descriptions and initial thoughts) for each book in the category are:

EROTICA
alphaAlpha – Jasinda Wilder – Narrated by Summer Roberts and Tyler Donne
The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom’s hospital bills. My baby brother’s tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just “VRI Inc.,” and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing…except a single word, on the notes line: “You.” Just those three letters.
If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it?
I did.
The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: “belong.”
A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. “To me.”
The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom’s hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you’re desperate? You don’t. I didn’t.
And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: “It’s time to pay your debt.”
Would you have gotten in?
I did.
It turns out $120,000 doesn’t come free.

Initial Thoughts:Of the 5 books nominated in this category, Jasinda Wilder is only 1 of 2 (the other being Shayla Black in the anthology) that I have previously read. I remember liking that book (Falling Into You) but this one seems to have a lot of iffy reviews on Goodreads (I don’t rely on them, but do reference them – in particular those of friends on the site). I will admit that personally, I struggle with the millionaire tropes in romance/erotic romances, they just don’t do anything for me – but I’m trying to not let that affect my listening. Both of the narrators are new to me and I am a fan of dual narrations.

beauty from loveBeauty from Love – Georgia Cates – Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
Jack McLachlan is fulfilled by more than he dared to dream possible. He finds everything he never knew he wanted—or needed—in Laurelyn Prescott, his last and final companion. Life is beautiful with his beloved by his side but their post-wedded bliss is cut short when his dark past springs into their present happiness. He wants to shelter Laurelyn but keeping her untainted by his previous life proves impossible when yesterday’s sins insist on returning to haunt him. Will it be possible for them to find happiness in their forever with a past like his?

Initial Thoughts: I’m honestly surprised I haven’t seen/heard this book talked about more in various online book groups that I belong to because it seems as thought it would be something right up my alley when it comes to erotic romance. It should be noted that this is the last book in the trilogy, but that the first one is also nominated (and I’m sure that I will read the middle one somewhere in between listening).

beauty from painBeauty from Pain – Georgia Cates – Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.
Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.
It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.

Initial Thoughts: This is the first book in the trilogy by Georgia Cates, from reading spoilers of the third one (mentioned above), I know how some things are going to play out (darn it) – but since romance/erotic romance is about the journey, seeing how they get from point A to point B could be fun. I will admit that I tend to be skeptical of Australia romances written by US authors (as this one is) because they never seem to be well-researched/not believable, but a girl can hope right.

carter reedCarter Reed – Tijan – Narrated by Lucy Rivers
Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by her boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.

Initial Thoughts: I’ve been on a huge mafia romance kick recently, since I discovered Roxie Rivera’s stuff a couple of months ago. I’d admit that based on descriptions this is the category nomination that I am most looking forward to listening to. It seems like it could be right up my alley – but I’m hoping that the story is as strong as the erotic elements. And once again another new narrator to me (yay!).

oen dom to loveOne Dom to Love – Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl – Narrated by Christian Fox
Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.

Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?

Initial Thoughts: Initially I was confused by this book – I thought it was going to be an anthology with the three authors contributing, but rather its one story written by the 3. I’ve read dual author books before (Ilona Andrews being one that I can think of off the top of my head), but none with 3, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Many of the reviews that I skimmed said lots of sex (not that that is bad). And another new narrator in Christian Fox for me, although a friend of mine who listens to lots of audiobooks was raving about him recently – so i’m looking forward to listening.

Pre-Listening Predictions:**
1. Carter Reed – Tijan; Narrated by Lucy Rivers
2. Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates; Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
3. One Dom to Love – Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl; Narrated by Christian Fox
4. Alpha – Jasinda Wilder; Narrated by Summer Roberts and Tyler Donne
5. Beauty from Love – Georgia Cates; Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black

**predictions are complete random based on book descriptions, and personal opinion of authors/narrators

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

2015 Challenge – French Bingo

french-bingo-2015-logo2Ok, so I totally admit it, I’m a sucker for reading challenges – because I find that they are normally a quick and easy way to make me broaden my reading horizons without going too too far out of my comfort zone (although sometimes I really do). And who knows – maybe I’ll find a new authors that I love. Anyways, while browsing/stalking some of the various blogs that I follow, I came across Words and Peace who is hosting a Reader’s version of Bingo with a French theme (she also hosted it last year – I think I signed up and then epically failed – as in didn’t read anything). So I thought what the heck.

The goal is simple – as with normal bingo – you need to make a straight of 5 books – either horizontally, vertically or on the diagonal. Each square on the card has a different twist on France and French books (writers from different time periods; different genres etc).

The card looks like this (if you click on the link, it should take you to the original challenge page):
french bingo

In order to complete a square – read a book that fits the requirements; post a review on your blog and then link back to the challenge – and voila!

I’m looking forward to checking this out – and hopefully getting a BINGO some time during the year.

Wish Me Luck…

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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2015 First Book of the Year

first book of the year

Picking the first book to start in the new year is always a fun venture. Do I re-read a favorite that I have indulged in many times? A new book by a favorite author? A new release? Do I tackle one of the books loitering on my to-read pile or buy something brand spanking new? Those were just a few thoughts going through my mind as I considered how to approach this momentous task – because honestly, that first book of the year sets you up for your year or reading – if you start with a mediocre book, is that how your year is going to be? or vice versa, if you have a mind-blowing awesome book, then you are on track for a great year!

When I started considering the book I was going to start on the 1st (because that is how I decided to approach the task), I really only knew one thing – that the book somehow needed to find into one of the reading challenges I was doing in 2015.

the winter guestAfter much thought and consider, tossing and turning, I decided that my first book of 2015 would be The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff. This will be my first stand-alone novel by this author, although, I did read and enjoy her contribution to an anthology in 2014.

The Winter Guest – Pam Jenoff
World War 2 Historical Fiction
Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn’t be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day.

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena’s concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.

I’m looking forward to reading and starting off 2015 in style.

What was/is your first book of 2015?

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Happy New Year

blog happy new years

Wishing you a happy and fulfilling 2015

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

monday reading
I can’t believe that it is officially the last Monday of the year. I don’t know about you guys, but it seems like 2014 just flew by – I had a little great reading, lots of good reading and some disappointing reading. I discovered many new authors that I look forward to reading again and moved prior favorites from the auto-buy pile to the get from the library pile because they just don’t live up my expectations any more. As we enter the last 3 days of 2014, I have my normal multiple books in progress:

Listening:
light between oceansThe Light Between the Ocean – M.L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

I picked this audiobook up after seeing it mentioned in a GR group and because it showed up on the popular book club books list and since I’m not in any real life groups, I was curious to see what groups (be they face to face or virtual) find interesting/choose often. I’m about halfway through right now and enjoying the story. The narrator is new to me, but I’m enjoying him so far – having grown up in Australia, typical “Australia” accents in audiobooks but me, but his works. I’m interested to see how the book finishes up.

Reading:
waistcoats weaponryWaistcoats & Weaponry – Gail Carriger
Sophronia continues second year finishing school in style — with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown. She, best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and charming Lord Felix Mersey stow away on train to return classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspects what or who would be aboard the suspiciously empty train.

I loved all of the books that I’ve read and listened to by this author – she is, IMHO, a good introduction to Steampunk (especially if you like a bit of a paranormal twist with Vampires/Werewolves). I listened to her Parasol Protectorate series and have been reading this series as its been released and can’t wait to see what Sophronia get’s up to in this newest book.

death cacheDeath Cache – Tiffinie Helmer
Loving her is murder…

She shouldn’t have played…

Gallery owner Tern Maiski has always had a way with men, but the one she gave her heart to disappeared without a word. Now he’s competing alongside her and four others in a high-tech treasure hunt, and her pride isn’t the only thing on the line. So is her life.

He doesn’t play by the rules…

Geophysicist Gage Fallon’s relationship with Tern has been cataclysmic from the beginning. He cared too much, too fast and their passion threatened to consume him. Now he’s back on firmer ground and competing in a game that will risk more than his heart.

Once their group is dropped off in a remote area near the Arctic Circle, it quickly becomes clear that instead of hunting for treasure, they’re the ones being hunted. And the killer is dead serious about caching them in.

Ms Helmer is an author that I see recommended quite often on Amazon for someone with a unique voice in contemporary romance today and based on the one book I’ve read by her, I have to agree. I love the Alaska setting and you can tell that the author does significant research into the topic she is writing about. I’m only a couple of chapters into this book right now, but already intrigued with the whole adventure Caching thing (I have some friends who are super into it and i’m intrigued to maybe try it in the New Year).

LTSSLiar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War – Karen Abbott
Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women—a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow—who were spies.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.

I probably never would have picked this book up if I hadn’t seen the negative review for it in the Washington Post and subsequent discussions on the authors portrayal of events that occurred during the Civil War. So when I saw it on the new release shelf at the library I had to grab it. I’m about half-way through right now, but like the authors writing style and while there is a lot of detail, it is also a quick read (likely due to the typeset used). I’m trying to take my time reading it to absorb all the details.

stftStrength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance – Patrick S. Hagerman
“Strength Training for Triathletes” offers a comprehensive strength training program for triathlon that will help triathletes build power, speed, and muscular endurance for faster racing over any race distance.

Certified USA Triathlon coach and NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year Patrick Hagerman, EdD, reveals a focused, triathlon-specific strength training program that will enable triathletes to push harder during training and on the race course when the effort is hardest. Triathletes who master this progressive strength training program will also become more resistant to injury, meaning fewer missed workouts.

“Strength Training for Triathletes” features 75 of the most effective strength training exercises for triathlon swimming, cycling, and running plus core strength and general conditioning. Full-color photographs illustrate each simple exercise, which are grouped so athletes can focus on their own individual performance limiters. Hagerman simplifies the science underlying strength training, offering easy-to-follow guidelines on resistance and reps that will make triathletes stronger through every phase of the season.

This is a review book from the publisher that I am currently reading. In 2014, I completed my first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 run) and looking forward to doing another one in 2015. But I know that I need to factor in some strength training into my training program. So far, this book has done a good job in breaking down how to develop a training plan based on goals and I am about to get to the actual information about various exercises. While I have the kindle version to read, my one complaint is that tables haven’t come across well (formatting has been removed), so I see myself buying the print version in the future.

YfRYoga for Runners – Christine Felstead
As a runner, you strike the ground 1,000 times per mile, with a force of two to three times your body weight. You can feel that impact in the muscles, ligaments, and bone structures throughout your body. Thankfully, “Yoga for Runners” addresses both the physical and mental demands of the sport. Whether you are new to yoga or have practiced for years, “Yoga for Runners” provides you with the most effective poses–88 poses in all. Each pose is described in detail to ensure correct execution, maximizing the physical benefit and decreasing the risk of injury.

You’ll learn how simple yoga techniques can be incorporated into your existing running workouts and routines to eliminate chronic aches and pains. Discover how each pose can be sequenced to address a specific need, such as strengthen and lengthen the hamstrings, strengthen and increase mobility of the hip joint, eliminate lower-back and upper-body discomfort, speed the recovery process after a practice run or a race, maintain a strong core, or just restore and rejuvenate to prepare for an upcoming event. These sequences target all troublesome muscle regions. Anatomical illustrations and descriptions explain why these poses and sequences decrease your risk of acute or chronic injury as well as why they are beneficial to your training regimen.

After just a few weeks of following “Yoga for Runners,” you will feel stronger, more balanced, more in tune with your breathing, and more aware of your posture and technique. Your entire running experience–endurance, strength, breathing, and mental sharpness–will be more productive, positive, and enjoyable.

As with strength training, I know that I also need to building some Yoga/flexibility training into my workout plan – while this book is focused specifically on how Yoga can help runner’s, a lot of the issues also apply to cycling and I can see how I would be able to adjust recommendations to encompass cycling issues/imbalances. I borrowed this book from the library, but I can see myself buying it for reference in the future.

How about you – what are you reading on this last Monday of 2014?

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Merry Christmas

book christmas tree

Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May 2015 find you filled with the joy of family and friends, and many books to read.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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