Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running Update

I'm about to start week 6 of my 5k running training. On my group run last week, I had my first great run since I started back. I'm running my first couple of intervals extremely slow, but by the 3rd or 4th interval, I was moving a pretty good pace. I didn't have my Garmin with me last week, so I don't know how much faster I was moving, but I felt like I had upped my pace a good bit. I'll have my watch with me this week, so I can track my pace as we run/walk each interval.

I'm also going back on my lower carb diet in the next couple of weeks. I'll be going to the CMA Festival in Nashville next weekend, so know I won't really be able to each right most of the weekend. Plan is to get back on track with my eating after CMAs. I figure the combination of eating better and increased run time will help me lose some of the weight I've put back on this Spring.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hard Bitten

Hard Bitten is the 4th book in Chloe Neill’s popular Chicagoland Vampire series. From the back cover.~

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals-and they’re camping outside Cadogan House with protest signs they could exchange for pitchforks at any moment. Inside, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are…tense. Then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: Get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn’t help that she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who’s tall, dark, and part of an underground vamp group that may have some inside intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the dark, heady heart of Chicago’s supernatural society-a world of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting humans’ worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…

I’m a huge fan of the Chicagoland Vampire series. Merit is one of my favorite characters ever. She is such a strong woman, even when she is uncertain about her choices. Ethan, as always is Ethan. Makes me want to hug him half the time and “Gibbs smack” him upside the head the rest of the time. I’m still a bit mad at Ethan for breaking Merit’s heart in Twice Bitten.

Hard Bitten picks up right where Twice Bitten ended. Merit once again is put in the position of protecting not only her house, but the other houses in Chicago as well. There is a group of rogue vampires having parties where the vamps are turning majorly violent. Merit soon discovers there is a drug that turns vampires violent, and it is in all of the houses. With the help of a few members from the RG, Merit does what she can to find out who is getting the drug out on the street and works on finding a way to get things back to normal, or as normal as things can be now that she is a vampire.

There is a huge change in the series with the ending. I will say it was an extremely emotional ending and made me cry, mad, and really want to throw the book across the room (I didn’t by the way). Overall, I really loved Hard Bitten, just not happy with the ending of the book. Will say it made me think about it for days after I finished reading it. I’m not going to say what happens, and I’m trusting Chloe Neill for now. I’m hoping we get some answers in Drink Deep, which comes out November 1, 2011.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Soul Catcher

Soul Catcher is the first book in the Dueling with the Devil series by Vivi Dumas. From the author’s website.~

Top supermodel, Angel Dias, lives the life of the rich and fabulous, until a heinous car accident mars her face. After thirteen surgeries and losing everything she deemed important, she seeks out the dark forces to salvage her life and decides to conjure the Devil for help, making a deal to recover her beauty. In exchange for his help, Lucifer forces her to hunt supernatural renegades, which have eluded the pits of Hell. In her quest to find beauty and get out of her contract with Lucifer, Angel stumbles upon love in the arms of a demon.

Commander of the Legions and an Underworld Demon, Jacque Toussant, takes a field commission to escape the madness of a failed relationship and prove himself worthy of his demon heritage. Jacque is content with his existence as a field soldier until Lucifer gives him a special assignment to oversee a new trainee, a supermodel nonetheless. Humans hold low appeal for Jacque, especially the females. That is until he meets Angel. Jacque risks everything, including his life, to find a way to break Angel’s deal with Lucifer.

I was contacted by the author and offered a review copy of Soul Catcher. After reading the blurb about the book on the author’s website, I knew I wanted to read this book and I’m really glad I did. I love finding new authors and I really liked Soul Catcher.

Angel Dias makes a deal with the devil to get back the beauty she lost in due to a horrific car accident. Her job, once she is fully trained, will be to return the souls of the supernaturals who have eluded Lucifer. Lucifer selects Jacque Toussant to train Angel, because he knows Jacque has very little respect for humans. However, Angel’s beauty and her fearlessness turn Jacque on as no one ever has in his long demon life. Angel has been attracted to Jacque since almost the very beginning, and when Jacque and Angel finally give into their attraction, they are explosive together. Of course, since Lucifer wants Angel for himself, he sends Jacque away to keep them apart.

Angel must work with many sups to complete the jobs Lucifer assigns her. The supporting cast of characters was so diverse and fun. The twist and turns thrown in the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved watching Angel grow as the book progressed. In the beginning of the book she only placed her worth on her outer beauty. Angel comes to see her inner beauty is what people really see when they look at her. I loved Jacque from the very first time I met him and only loved him more as the book progressed. Jacque’s ex-girlfriend (dated on and off for hundreds of years) is the type of character you love to hate. Isabella is horrible to Angel whenever she gets a chance. However, there was something about her bitchiness that made me love her.

Soul Catcher was the first book I read by Vivi Dumas, but won’t be my last. I liked the pacing of the book and loved the character development of not only the main characters, but the supporting ones. Dumas is currently working on the next book in the series, which hopefully will be released later this year. More information about The Dueling with the Devil series, as well as other books can be found on her website.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

KT Grant Cover Alert

I'm so excited to post the cover for Sweet & Sinful by KT Grant. Sweet & Sinful includes For the Love of Mollie and The Claiming of Suzy. Both were released as ebooks last year by Decadent Publishing. I loved both Mollie's and Suzy's stories and can't wait to add this beautiful book to my keeper shelf. The estimated release date is July 2011 and as soon as I have an exact release date I'll post it. I'm a huge fan of KT Grant and am so excited she is getting some of her books released in both print and e-book format.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary is the latest release in the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson. From the inside cover flap.~

Detective Lindsay Boxer finally gets married. But a missing newborn and a series of violent attacks push the Women’s Murder Club back to full throttle before the wedding gifts are even unwrapped.


Detective Lindsay Boxer’s long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a teenage girl is badly injured and left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminal-but the victim may be keeping secrets as well.


At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life-a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of their two young children. Yuki’s career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?


Lindsay’s every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she’ll ever be able to start a family.

I started reading The Women’s Murder Club books when ABC started advertising they were doing a TV series. Loved the TV series and was very sad to see it cancelled. When I first found the series, the first 7 books were out and I read them as fast as possible. I put these books on hold with the library as soon as I hear they will be released. This time I ended up getting the book even before it was released in the store.

The Women's Murder Club series is really the only series I've ever read by James Patterson. I'm a big fan of the series. I really liked 10th Anniversary, but didn't love it like some of the early books. Really thought it had too much going on for one book. Usually only has a couple of things going on the books. This time you had Yuki, Cindy, and Lindsay each had their own cases to deal with and we didn't really get to see the WMC actually work together enough to solve all the cases.

We did get some time with just Lindsay and Claire, and I loved that time, but missed all 4 women working together to solve 1 big mystery. Claire helped Lindsay search for teenage mom, Avis Richardson’s newborn son, only to discover Avis had been lying to them at every turn. Yuki feels like she has an open and shut case, only to be brought up short when Lindsay starts looking into the case. Once again, some lies from the defendant are important to figuring out the case. Even Cindy is working a case without the help of the WMC. She is investigating women who have been raped and then taken to a location close to their homes. Of course, Cindy being Cindy, she gets a little too close and is lucky to have both Lindsay and Rich in her corner. The most romantic portions of the book were when Joe and Lindsay finally got married and Cindy and Rich got engaged.

As I said, I enjoyed 10th Anniversary, but not as much as some of the earlier books. Hope for the next WMC book we get more time with all 4 women working together.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Lover Unleashed Book Signing

Lover Unleashed is the latest release in the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. From the inside cover.~

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark warrior cloth as her brother. Because she is a fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side…and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can-and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night-like vampires-he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide…just as a centuries-old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

I’m a huge fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I even bought Lover Unleashed for my kindle for release date so I could finish reading it before I got my hardback copy at the book signing. I really liked Lover Unleashed. I’ve liked Payne since she first arrived on the scene, and I’ve been waiting for Manny to come back since we first met him. I knew that Manny would be important later, not only because I figured out early on that he and Butch share a father, but because I knew his surgical skills could be an asset to the Brotherhood.

I liked Payne and Manny together. Didn’t feel their connection in the beginning as much as I felt the connections with other couples in the series, but they did grow on me. As their story progressed, I did begin to feel their connection and liked them more as a couple. Honestly, I almost felt like Lover Unleashed was part 2 to Vishous and Jane’s story. Never really felt like Lover Unbound finished their story. Understand more about their relationship now and really love V and Jane together. At past book signings it had been hinted that there would be a huge scene between Butch and V. Well, we did get a big scene between them, and it even helped V move on so he and Jane could have a better relationship. Just not the big scene I was expecting to happen between V and Butch.

We also got to see glimpses of Blay and Qhuinn in Lover Unleashed. Now, I’m a huge fan of Team Qhuay and I can’t wait to get their novella. Again, it was just glimpses and not really them together. Qhuinn was so worried when Blay was injured, but wouldn’t go in to check on him. Luckily, Saxton was more than willing to give Qhuinn updates. You could tell that Saxton knows his cousin Qhuinn and Blay will eventually end up together. I just hope the WARDen will give Saxton his own HEA. We also only got to see glimpse of most of the members of the Brotherhood. With as huge as the world has become, it is really hard to see every brother in every book. Just wish we got to see a little more interaction between the brothers in each book.

Overall, I did like Lover Unleashed, and I am excited that Tohr’s book will be the next book in this series. After losing Wellsie, I’m so glad he will get a mate again and can’t wait to read their story. If the WARDen sticks to her usually schedule, we will have Tohr’s book at some point in March 2012 or April 2012.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Running Update

So I've been back on the No Boundaries training for a couple of weeks. I had no trouble at all the first week, but had a good bit of leg cramping the second week. I ended up having to get new shoes as well as inserts. Was also given some exercises to do about 10-15 minutes before I run to help loosen up my calf muscles. Looks like I might have some scar tissue built up in my muscles, so I have to do the stretches each day to help my muscles recover. Also was suggested I either get the foam roller or "stick" to help break up the knots in my muscles.

I've enjoyed getting started back with my running. I'll keep up with the interval training through the July 4th 5K race. I'm hoping to get to the point of running the entire race rather than having to walk a portion of it. I'm not even close to doing that at this point, but I have it as a goal for one of the 5K races I'll run this year.

I know I got new followers from the Easter Blog Hop and I want to promise you I will start updating my blog more often. I'll post an update each week about my training and focus the rest of the post on books I've read. Things have gotten away from me lately, but I'm working on post for the week today.