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Movie Monday (5) – Book Club

Pop some popcorn, sit back, put your feet up and tell us about the movie(s) you have seen this week!

Anyone who knows me knows that I just cringe when I see 50 shades of grey mentioned – both the books and the movies – because while I tried to read them, I found them horribly written, redundant and as someone who has been reading romances (and erotic romance, and erotic) for probably close to 2 decades, I couldn’t get past the “books that brought romance mainstream.” But that is a rant for another day…when I saw Book Club first previewed at the theatre and that 50 shades of grey was going to be featured during it, I’ll admit that I cringed, ranted on facebook and probably made some idiotic statement about not going to see it (yeah, I can be idiot like that). But I did go and see it and for the most part (aside from the parents that brought their 4ish year old see it and who wanted to watch videos on their phone during the movie)…
All I can say after seeing Book Club is that I would love to have a group of friends like the women in this movie – four friends who have seen each other through marriage, divorce, death, through times that were happy and sad. I have a few friends like that but unfortunately, the military has caused us to be spread across the country, which makes it hard for a real-life book club – but I guess a virtual one has potential.

Of the four women featured in this – Diane Keaton’s was my favorite – but then she has been a favorite of mine for many years – I think I’ve seen a majority of the movies she has starred in over the years. Her story in this was just sweet – a story of finding love for a second time (and besides the guy she falls in love with is just adorable – played by the awesome Andy Garcia). Behind Diane Keaton if I had to rank the individual stories in order of enjoyment – it would be Candice Bergen, then Mary Steenburgen with Jane Fonda bringing up the rear. Honestly, I could take or leave Jane Fonda in most of the movies that she does – Monster in Law is about the only semi-decent one of hers that I enjoyed – the rest…ehhh….Candice Bergen as a divorced judge who signs up for an online dating service – holy shit, I laughed so hard in places and Mary Steenburgen was just her normal solid self. but there were a few funny scenes with her and her husband (played by Craig T. Nelson) that just made me chuckle. I think really the only people in the movie who I didn’t like were the characters of Diane Keaton’s daughters – they drove me nuts with how they treated her (yeah, I know it was part of the movie) – but omg, I wanted to slap them silly a few times!

Book Club is definitely a movie that solidly belongs in the chick flick realm, or if a guy wants to turn in his man card – a date night movie (kidding kidding, I know men can like romantic comedies). While I wasn’t a fan of 50 shades of grey – I think enough of the movie was devoted to the storyline other than the books. I’m curious to know what book they picked to read after 50 shades…lol!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in Movie Monday

 

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First Line Fridays – 27 April

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

Spring is in the air and unfortunately, I’ve been stuck inside at a training class for work all week and unlike normal classes – this one has been full-on – we have been started at 8am everyday and not getting out earlier than 6pm (normally more in the 6:30-7:00 realm!). And I’ve disappointed because of the last two days, the weather has been gorgeous (after a crappy rainy day on Wednesday). I did take advantage of the weather and eat my lunch outside today and as we speak, I’m getting ready to head out to dinner with some class-mates and the restaurant is outside seating – i can’t wait (plus the food looks just awesome!)

I know that I’m probably breaking First Line Fridays tradition this week, but there are two first lines that I wanted to feature – with tomorrow kicking off the Semi-Annual Dewey’s Read-A-Thon, these 2 books are top on my pile to read.

“I walked into the bar, already feeling about ten years past my prime.” Into the Blue – Chanel Cleeton.

Initial thoughts – I’ve only read one previous book by Ms Cleeton – but I definitely had a few laugh out loud moments, as well as wanting to just sit in my car after parking, so that I could read “just another chapter.” I hope that this book in the trilogy is as good as the last.

“A cold mist hovered over Lake Washington, a vaporous green after a morning of rain, when John Vandel arrived in Seattle.”The Quantum Spy – David Ignatius

Initial thoughts – I wouldn’t say that this book is out of my comfort zone because I’ve read some military techno thrillers before – but its definitely not a genre that I gravitate to either. A co-worker of mine recommended it because he said it made him think about the current tensions between the United States and China and the what if…I’ll admit that the first line had me hooked – and its probably going to be first on my pile for Dewey’s Read-A-Thon.

What is the first line of the book you are currently reading?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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Review – Hello Stranger – Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: #4 in the Ravenels
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Publisher

Description:
A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Review:
I’ve been reading Lisa Kleypas since almost before I could remember reading romance – i’m pretty sure that she was one of the first ten romance authors that I read as a teenager (along with Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, LaVyrle Spencer and Jude Deveraux…yeah, i can actually remember the names of the authors that sparked my love of romance). And to this day, she is still one of my go-to authors when I need a solid read – I’ll admit that I’ve had my highs and lows with some of her more recent books, but since Garrett was introduced in Marrying Winterbourne – I knew her book was going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I’ve also had a total girl crush on Ethan from the get-go. I love that unlike many of her other books, both individuals in this pairing were lower-class (or rather for the most part they were). It was nice seeing how the other side lived during the late 1800’s – so often it is just glazed over in books and forgotten about it.

There were so many different facets to Garrett that the author developed – not only was she the first female physician and all that entailed, but she was willing to go above and beyond her calling to help people by volunteering to help others in need – which ironically is how she and Ethan first got to know each other several books ago. There were several scenes in Hello Stranger where Garrett was learning how to fence in an effort to be able to protect herself, which of course, Ethan was able to come to the rescue and fix because she had learnt very proper and not how a fight would go down in real life. The strong man to the rescue trope is pretty common in most historical romances and honestly, for this was it was a bit grating – i really wanted Garrett to not need to be rescued and to do the rescuing (which she also did)…I dunno – I think that was the one element that I struggled with the most.

Ethan’s portion of the storyline was kind of obvious and I had pretty much figure out what was going to happen – i’m not saying that this is bad, but it wasn’t as engaging as previous books – i love Garrett and Ethan but Hello Stranger just didn’t quite have all the entire magic that I was hoping for – but it was still a solid read that I gave 3.5 stars to. I’m intrigued to see where Ms Kleypas goes with the next book in the series – it must almost be time for West to get his HEA.


About Lisa:
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Connect with Lisa:
Facebook: @LisaKleypas
Twitter: @LisaKleypas
Instagram: @lisakleypas

BUY LINKS for HELLO STRANGER:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mGsuAd
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2mRfLvD
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2EQPLH5
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2BckeNI
iBooks: https://apple.co/2DJ339o
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2rjQ37l

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in Book Review, Review

 

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First Line Fridays – 23 February 18

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I can’t believe how quickly we are flying through February – I mean admittedly, it is a short month, but the fact that March is starting to appear on the horizon just blows my mind…I’m neck deck in listening to the various audiobooks for the Armchair Audies right now – so my First Line Friday comes from the book I started on my commute yesterday.

I lay on a psychiatrist’s couch, a couch I’d named Alexander Skarsgard the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondering if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays

 

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Audiobook Review – The Duchess Deal – Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: #1 in the Girl Meets Duke series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Run Time: 7hrs 56min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Review:
Tessa Dare is one of those authors that I feel like I should more of because I have enjoyed the few of her books that I’ve read and yet, I tend to pass her other when looking at various historical romances…i’m honestly not sure why…that being said, because of this, I was happy when the first book in her new series was nominated for an Audie in the romance category. I happened to start the Duchess Deal on my 6hr trek to Ohio (which I do once a month) – so I was able to fully invest myself in the story for almost the entirety of my trip and i’m glad that I did – because the audiobook that made that drive pretty much fly by. I found myself laughing hard quite often and when I did stop for gas and snackage – hurrying through the story, so I could keep listening. I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything overly special about the story line – but it just hit the spot for what I was currently looking for – some angst, a marriage of convenience, as well as a Beauty and the Beast type storyline and the requisite Happily Ever After. I’m a simple girl, what can I say? 🙂

This is the first time that I’ve listened to Mary Jane Wells, but I had to say that I overall enjoyed the experience. Her feminine voices were all distinct to me and i could easily identify who was talking; although I will say that her masculine ones weren’t as distinct – but thankfully, the majority of the book was told from a female POV. Taking a look at her other available audiobooks, it looks like she has found her niche in historical romance (I saw many authors that I have read in the past and I would likely pick up an audiobook narrated by her, in order to continue reading those authors). Her narration pacing was solid and the narration was neither too quiet or too loud (I didn’t have to adjust the volume on my radio while listening).

Overall, I gave the writing 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars – but I am definitely interesting in trying the later books in the series when they are released in audio.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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2018 Audies – Romance Nominees

When I left work the day of the Audies Nominations being announced, I was excited to see that for the first time in a couple of years, the Romance Nominees were mostly what I would term to be traditional romances (i.e. boy mets girl, boy falls in love with girl and they live happily ever after). Over the last few years, I’ve been disappointed seeing books by authors like Nicholas Sparks nominated or something like The Bridges of Madison County which won a few years ago. As an avowed romance reader, seeing non-romances being nominated and then winning hurts my soul. But alas, I’ll step off my soapbox and talk about the nominees for this year!

Without further ado, the 2018 Audies Nominees for Romance are:
Any Day Now by Robyn Carr, narrated by Therese Plummer, published by Recorded Books
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, published by J. Bengtsson
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers, published by Brilliance Publishing
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio
The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown, narrated by Donna Postel, published by Brilliance Publishing

My Initial Thoughts:
Ohh, this is going to be a fun category to listen to over the next couple of months.
☼ I’ll admit that the Robyn Carr book is one of the ones on this list that I am less than excited about – don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with her writing, it just doesn’t always work for me, but I know many of my friends love her. But at the same time, anything narrated by Therese Plummer is normally a winner for me.

☼ J. Bergtsson is a new author to me but I’ll admit that I love a good rockstar romance at times. I’m a solid Andi Arndt fan girl when it comes to audiobooks, but Joe Arden is a new to me name – so this book could be a double winner for me if i like it.

☼ Nora Roberts has long been an author that appears on my frequently read/listen to list – although I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to some of her more recent stuff (although I do continue to devour the books she writes under her alter-ego, JD Robb). I’ve listened to several narrations by Elisabeth Rodgers before and found her narration solid – it isn’t horrible, but at the same time, doesn’t necessarily blow me away either.

☼ Tessa Dare is an author I know that I should read/listen to more of – I’ve read several of her books and rated each of them in the solid 3.5-4 star realm, but I’ve never listened – so i’m looking for a new author to add to my audiobook listening pile. Mary Jane Wells is also a new narrator to me but she has a pretty hefty romance narration backlist with lots of historical romances – so fingers crossed.

☼ The Carolyn Brown book is the one that I felt doesn’t (upon first read of the summary) really fit into the traditional romance category – it seems to be much more of a women’s lit to me (where the focus is more on the growth of the characters vs. the actual romance) – but I’ll see if i’m wrong down the road. Donna Postel is another new narrator to me but she has an interesting backlist of other audiobooks, should I decide I want to listen to more by her in the future.

My Prediction:
Based on what I know about the different narrators and my experience with them (or lack thereof) in the past, my initial pick (pre-listen) to the winner for the Romance category is:
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events

 

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2018 Armchair Audies

Over the last 3 (or is it 4 years?), I have avidly participated in the Armchair Audies hosted by Jennifer at The Literate Housewife! Over the last year I’ve had a great time listening to books in various categories – from Romance, to Erotica, to Paranormal to Young Adult. One of my favorite times is reviewing each of the categories and figuring out which ones I want to listen to for that year. There is some method to my madness and other just flimsy.

This year, the minute I saw that the nominees in the Romance category were mostly what I would definite as traditional romance, I was excited to listen to it again after a sabbatical of several years (I’m sorry, but I can’t get behind Nicholas Sparks being nominated in a romance category!) This was the first year that I didn’t opt to do the Erotica category – after reviewing the nominees and realizing that I had previously given 2 authors of the 5 nominees 2 or less stars while listening – I didn’t feel I could be unbiased in my listening. Paranormal has been a category that I have listened to several times now and while I have already read one of the books nominated (because its Nalini Singh), I’m looking forward to the books in this category – three of them are series that I have in progress (including the re-read/listen) and the other two look intriguing. The final category this year was a toss-up for me between Young Adult, Mystery, History/Biography or Suspense/Thriller – but ultimately it came down to which audiobooks were the most readily accessible for me to get my hands on (thank you Charles County Maryland Public Library for having such a great audiobook collection) – so the third category for my 2018 Armchair Audies is Thriller/Suspense.

I don’t know about you guys, but i’m looking forward to an awesome three months of listening to see if i can figure out who the judges think is the best of the nominees in the category! Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events

 

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