Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better Than Eight

Better Than Eight is the latest ebook release by Erin Jamison. From the author’s website.~

Amara Simmons has always fantasized about having two lovers but believes it is just that: a fantasy. She likes her men “gifted”, if you know what I mean. At the suggestion of a friend she registers for an online dating website for well-endowed men called She believes nothing will come of her site membership but after months of flirting online via email and instant messaging, she’s shocked to discover that she’s fallen for a gorgeous Latin man that has the potential to be her everything – except he never calls and she has no idea why. Nursing a broken heart she is totally unprepared to meet her would-be Latin lover in person much less at the negotiation table of a multi-million dollar real estate deal. In Puerto Rico, passion ignites. Promises are finally fulfilled and the lines of reality blur when her fantasy finally blooms to life. Can Amara have it all: the deal, the man, and the fantasy?

I was contacted by the author and given a copy of Better Than Eight for review. I really liked Amara’s story. She is a strong woman overall who really only had one questionable choice – keeping in contact with an ex who is now married to another woman. He also still thinks he and Amara should be bed buddies.

Amara joins the dating site betterthan8 to hopefully find a new man and to know he will be enough to give her pleasure. She “meets” Sevastien and they are instantly attracted and have major chemistry from the beginning. Then Amara’s ex and friends make her leery of Sevastien and they break off communication. Only due to a business deal do they finally meet in person. When Amara and Sevastien are finally together, it is super sexy and erotic.

I was a bit thrown by his roommate, who was a man, and the ménage that happened. However, once I got over my initial shock, it did work with the characters and the story. I really enjoyed Better Than Eight and look forward to reading more books by Erin Jamison in the future.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Girls Don't

Good Girls Don’t is the 1st book in the Donovan Brothers Brewery series by Victoria Dahl. Fromthe back cover.~

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donavan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman – or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices here when he arrives to investigate a break-in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems – starting with the fact that his partner Simone is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father. The last thing he needs is a nice girl like Tessa getting under his skin.

Tessa has her hands full too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tensions could tear her tight-knit family apart. In fact, the only think that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister. Especially as man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath.

I own many books by Victoria Dahl, yet somehow Good Girls Don’t is the first one of her books I’ve read. My friend Katiebabs was nice enough to pick up an early copy for me at BEA in May. I can say right now, while Good Girls Don't is my first Victoria Dahl book, it will not be my last.

I loved Good Girls Don’t! Many times throughout the book I actually laughed so hard I almost cried. Tessa is such a funny character (I love she says “balls” when something goes wrong). She is the peace-keeper between her brothers Eric and Jamie. When Jamie messes up once again, she will do anything in her power to fix things without Eric finding out about Jamie’s latest mistake.

Both Jamie and Eric try to warn Tessa away from Luke because of his past. People only know the half-truths about things that went on in his life, but Tessa is really only looking for a good time at first, so she ignores the rumors. It was really funny to watch big brothers Eric and Jamie realize their “baby” sister was all grown up and capable of an adult relationship.

The only thing I didn’t love about the book was Tessa trying to cover up Jamie’s mistake. Jamie should have been man enough to stand up to his little sister and tell their brother Eric the truth. The rest of the book was awesome and I can’t wait to read the next 2 books in this series. The actual release date for Good Girls Don't is August 30, 2011. Bad Boys Do is Jamie’s story and set for release in October (I’m thinking lat Sept), and we get Eric’s story, Real Men Will, in November (hoping late Oct).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week 4 Weight Watchers Update

So week 4 wasn't as great as the first 3 weeks. I had a bit of a setback and gained 1 pound. Now, I'm not overly surprised by the gain. I wasn't as worried about keeping within my daily points. In fact, I went over my points most days. I didn't use all my weekly points allowed, but still went over my daily points too many days. I also didn't make the time to exercise each day. In fact, other than moving boxes on last Sunday, I really didn't have any other exercise for the entire week.

Time to get back to being really strict with myself on what I eat and get back to upping my activity daily. I will go over my points today, as I'm meeting friends for dinner at a restaurant that really doesn't have any WW friendly items. Must make up for that over the next 6 days and get back on track.

As much as I feel like I failed this week, I'm not letting myself call this a failure, rather I hit a bump in the road this week. Now to get back to doing what I know I need to do. I still need to register for the Franklin Classic 5K for Labor Day. I haven't trained well, but will walk/run the race and cross the finish line, which is the whole point.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Changing the Game

Changing the Game is book two in the Play-by-Play series by Jaci Burton. From the author’s website.~

Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people...

Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

I am a huge fan of the Play-by-Play series by Jaci. The Perfect Play, the first book in the series, is one of my favorite reads this year. I have to say that I loved Changing the Game even more. There was just something about Gavin that pulled me in during The Perfect Play. Maybe it was because he seemed like such a bad boy next to his perfect brother, Mick. Liz really messed up with Mick at the end of The Perfect Play. So much so, she lost him as a client and wasn’t sure she wouldn’t lose Gavin as a client too.

Liz has been in love with Gavin from the first time she saw him. However, she has never acted on those feelings until she kissed Gavin at the end of The Perfect Play. Gavin always thought Liz was sexy, but never thought she would ever be more than his agent. Add a little too much alcohol one night and mix in a night of amazing sex, and the game changes completely. Gavin gets Liz to agree to stay at his house with him during Spring Training and they spend pretty much every hour of the day together. Liz even makes friends with a couple of the player’s wives and has girlfriends for the first time in her life.

Liz is very cautious about her feelings because of her past. Gavin has played the field for so many years he doesn’t seem to realize how much Liz means to him until it is almost too late. We get to spend time with Gavin’s family once again in this book. I love the Riley clan…well, all but Mick in this book. He really wouldn’t let go of his anger towards Liz. I’m not saying he didn’t have a reason to be angry, but once she apologized and fixed the situation, he needed to man up and stop being an ass. Hell, even Tara and Nathan had forgiven Liz and Mick continued to be a total ass to her. When the Riley family has to deal with a major medical drama, Liz and Gavin and their relationship is really put to the test. Liz is put in the position of telling Gavin he needs to return to work when all he wants to do is stay home and watch over his family. Mick throws more doubt at Gavin about Liz’s motives and Gavin messes up so bad, I don’t know that I would have forgiven him. However, Gavin does find a way to step up to the plate and make things right.

I loved Gavin and Liz together so much. They both are such strong characters, yet have vulnerability underneath. Jaci gives her readers another winner filled with smoking-hot sex and lots of romance. We also get to meet some of Gavin’s teammates and even a new client of Liz’s. With all these new characters being introduced, I’m hoping we will get many more books in the Play-by-Play series in the future.

Taking a Shot is the next book in the Play-by-Play series and it is set to be released on March 6, 2012. Taking a Shot will be about Jenna Riley, Mick’s and Gavin’s sister, and hockey player Tyler Anderson, who we met for the first time in Changing the Game.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Renfield Syndrome

The Renfield Syndrome is the 2nd book in The Rhiannon’s Law series by J.A. Saare. From the author’s website.~

Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.

I really don’t want to post any spoilers, so I’m going to be very limited in what I say about The Renfield Syndrome. I have been waiting to see what happened to Rhiannon since Jamie threw us the big twist at the end of Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (which I absolutely loved, by the way). Not only was Rhiannon’s new world completely different from the one she left behind, but she immediately is thrown into a situation where she has very little control. We get to spend time with some of the vampires from DUOSIB, and also get to meet some new characters. Carter is the one that stands out with me the most. He and his pack offer to help keep Rhiannon safe from the vampires of the future, even when she wants to go find Disco and his friends, Goose(Ethan) and Paine. In fact, Carter intrigues me so much, I really hope we get to see more of him in the future.

Saare throws more twist and turns at her readers with The Renfield Syndrome, and only has me wanting to read the next book in this series even more. The Ripple Effect will be the 3rd book in The Rhiannon’s Law series, and I believe it hopefully will be released in early 2012.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 3 Weight Watchers Update

So in week 3 of Weight Watchers, I started craving certain items I'd been without for the last few weeks. One thing I wanted more than anything was french fries. I did my weigh-in on Saturday morning and had lost another 2 pounds. That's right, in 3 weeks I've lost 7 POUNDS!!! I'm hoping to keep this rate up, until my Vegas trip. If I can pull this off, I would have lost close to 20 pounds in 7 weeks. BTW, my one cheat item of the week was an order of chili-cheese fries yesterday for lunch.

I'm upping my activity goal for the week. I got my bookshelves in order yesterday. I finished getting the last few books put away this morning. However, moving boxes of books equals lots of activity points. I earned 3 on Saturday and 2 today moving boxes out to my aunt's car. With temps hopefully dropping this week, I'll be able to run/walk some outside. If the weather doesn't get any cooler, I'll stick to the elliptical again this week.

I will say it is getting easier to pick healthier food. I even had lunch with my aunt today at Logan's and went with the health nut meal to cut down on calories and fat, and even skipped the rolls and sweet potato. I am craving chocolate more this week, but luckily have some Fiber One brownies to get me by.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jennifer's Garden

Jennifer’s Garden is the debut novel by Dianne Venetta. From the author’s website.~

In a race against time, cardiologist Jennifer Hamilton is caught between her mother’s dying wish and taking the risk of a lifetime with Jackson Montgomery. He’s the man hired to complete the landscaping for her new home; the venue for her upcoming wedding. Jackson’s everything she never wanted in a man, but as the job progresses, his lure pulls strong. It’s an attraction she cannot deny.

And one that puts her career on the line.

I was contacted by the author through twitter and offered a review copy of Jennifer’s Garden. After reading the blurb on the author’s website, I knew I wanted to read it. I love all genres of romance, but contemporary romances were the first ones I read and still hold a special place in my heart. Jennifer’s Garden is a fabulous contemporary romance.

I loved so many of the characters in this story. Jennifer was a bit up-tight as the story began, but she had so much pressure on her, I gave her a pass. I absolutely loved Jennifer’s mom. She was still so positive, even as she knew her life was coming to an end. I also got a big kick out of Jennifer’s best friend Sam. She is the friend every woman needs in their life and only a few of us are lucky enough to actually have her in our life. When Jennifer’s Garden begins, Jennifer is engaged to be married to Aurello, who is in the process of opening a new art gallery. Jennifer is on the search for a landscaper to finish her yard so she and Aurello can be married in her garden, which is her mother’s final wish. Enter Jackson Montgomery, who I loved from the moment he appeared on the page (maybe I was picturing sexy Jackson Montgomery from AMC at first). Jennifer is a bit ugly to him in the beginning, because she first meets him as a bartender at a friend’s party and doesn’t think he is more than just a bartender. He soon proves he is an amazing landscaping artist.

Maybe because I met Jackson, Jax to his friends, first I liked him so much more than Jennifer’s fiancé Aurello. I didn’t like Aurello from the moment he appeared in the story. He didn’t really do anything outright to make me dislike him, but something about him just seemed off to me. I think it’s because everything had to be about what he wanted. Never once did I see him worry about what others around him wanted, not even Jennifer. Luckily, Jennifer sees him for who he really is before she makes a huge mistake. Even better, she and Jax have become closer as he has worked each day at her house. Although there have still been misunderstandings between them, both have very strong feeling for each other.

I really loved Jennifer’s Garden and look forward to reading more books by Dianne Venetta. I’m especially excited for her next book, Lust on the Rocks, which is Jennifer’s best friend Samantha’s story.

Week 2 Weight Watchers Update

So I lost another 1.8 pounds this week. My total weight loss for my first two weeks on Weight Watchers is 5 pounds!!! Didn't make the time to get on the elliptical this week, and I think that kept me from losing more weight.

I went to the grocery store this morning and bought more fresh fruits and veggies for the week. I've started only buying enough food for one week at a time, so I always have fresh food. I would really love to lose another 10 pounds before my Vegas trip at the end of September, so I'm going with as much power food on WW as I can, so I can still have snacks, yet keep within my point+ available each day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Called Home: Two Hearts Answer is the debut novel by Gloria Schumann. From the author’s website.~


Emma Benson's view of life was crafted as a child by the death of her brother, the abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry. A teacher by training, she forgoes her chosen path to save the Wisconsin farm she calls home from financial ruin.

A tornado threatens damage, but David Schlosser—back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels—could ruin her neatly tended life. He's looking for the charms of the small town he once rejected and finds more than he bargained for. He risks everything to get what he wants.

The storms of life throw Emma and David together and into the world of a criminal determined to ruin their plans by any means necessary. Robbery and near death connect Emma and David to their nemesis and during the throes of securing life and limb they make every effort to resist falling for one another.

I was sent a copy of Called Home: Two Hearts Answer for review by the author. I enjoyed the story and really liked both Emma and David a great deal. Schumann gives her readers a sweet romance with a really great mystery thrown into the mix. I’m pretty good about figuring out the bad guy usually, and was partly right in my guess.

I also liked watching Emma and David fall for one another. David is sure of himself very early in the story, while Emma fights her attraction to David for some time due to a past bad romance. I read all genres of romance, and was drawn into this sweet romance from the beginning. I did question Emma taking so long to admit her feelings, but understood her hesitancy based on her history.

When Gloria contacted me about reviewing her book, I asked her to answer a few questions for my blog.

LB: When did you start writing?

GS: I started writing in the Spring of 2008. I can't believe it's been over three years already, but then again, a lot has happened in the meantime, and I look forward to even more taking place in the future.

LB: Who is your biggest supporter of you writing?

GS: My husband, Paul, was my first & biggest fan. When I began writing, it was on a trial & secretive basis. I told no one. Not even him. I figured if I looked at it & it wanted to make me throw up, no one would be the wiser, but if, in fact, was tolerable, I would show it to the most trusted person in my life, with orders to, pleeeaaase tell me if it is in fact crap. He would read a couple chapters at a time when I had them completed & give me comments. One day after a few times of doing so, he left it for me on the table the next morning with a note on it stating, "You've got a real talent for this, keep it up." I was sold. That first book was self-published & one I consider a practice book.

LB: How did you celebrate your first published book?

GS: When I signed the contract, I happened to be at my parents' house 1500 miles from home with my family. We broke out a couple bottles of good wine, some special cheese & crackers & had a good time dreaming about the future. It was fabulous. I like quiet, easy celebrations with family. They're the best.

LB: Who is your favorite author/writer (you can name more than one if you can’t pick just one)?

GS: That parentheses part is for me. I definitely don't like naming favorites for anything, let alone authors. I'm going to have to go with Nicholas Sparks & Nora Roberts, since they're the ones that got me hooked on reading in the first place and, in turn, writing. Would also have to throw in Stephanie Meyer. You can see I go for the emotion of love through writing. I just love it when an author can give me that tingle just from a set of words. Amazing!

LB: Describe your typical day.

GS: In summer is a bad time to ask me. There isn't much typical about any given day in summer. They're pretty distinguishable from each other. During the school year, there is a lot more of a schedule, and I use that word only in the most atypical way, but only because of my kids school day. I've never been much of a schedule person, but have been pondering the virtues of instituting one for myself this coming school year. I get a bit obsessive with things. So, I'll start promoting & spend the whole day doing that & nothing else. Or I'll get in a real rhythm of writing & not want to stop for anything. That one's a bit more understandable, but I'll let you know somewhere down the road how that all goes.

LB: What story(ies) are you currently working on?

GS: I'm in between at the moment. I have "Twisted Tree" into the publisher as we speak & I'm in the thinking stage of the next project. "Twisted Tree" is the story of Kate, cousin of Emma from "Called Home", who finds herself wishing her life would go somewhere, but winds up in a place she would never have imagined. Taking care of an eight year old, orphaned girl having had no experience with children, not even babysitting & no husband for support. Kate wonders how her life got so messed up & she wonders if it will ever get straightened out to her liking. Of course, Jared, a famous artist, comes along to add to the mayhem of her life. Will he put it in order? Or will he just further scramble the pieces of her already screwed up life? Why, oh why, did she ever wish for change? Someone should have stopped her.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Video by Tessa Dare

Operation Auction has some pretty amazing things up for grabs earlier this year. One of the best was the book trailer Tessa Dare offered up using her children's toys. Maya Banks was the winning bidder and today was the premier of the video for Maya's upcoming series The McCabe Trilogy.

From Dareling Room Productions:

Seriously one of the best and funniest book videos I've ever seen.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Into the Night

Into the Night is the first book in The Reliance Group series by Janelle Denison. From the author’s website.~

A former Marine and Las Vegas vice copy, Nathan Fox has seen it all and then some. Heading up security for the Onyx Casino is tame compared to his past, but it's not his only job. Working for The Reliance Group is his real passion project. His current case: a missing woman. His mission: to find her. But soon Nathan must deal with a stubborn, and stunning, journalist who's nosed her way into the investigation . . . and into Nathan's fantasies.

To reporter Nicole Hutton, exposing a ruthless, twisted criminal who abuses vulnerable teens isn't just a job. In fact, this story has become very personal, especially now that she's gotten tangled up with sexy Nathan Fox. But before she can break the story, and help rescue a missing girl, she and Nathan must brave the labyrinth of Vegas's dark underbelly . . . where the heat simmering between them is about to burst into flames.

I’m a huge fan of Janelle Denison. I was so excited when Into the Night came out, as it had been over a year since I had read a new Janelle Denison book. All I can say is Into the Night was well worth the wait. I loved both Nicole and Nathan from the beginning. Neither is looking for someone special in their lives, but they can’t resist the instant attraction they feel for one another. Of course, after that one night, Nathan is certain he will never see Nicole again.

Everything changes because of the case Nathan has been assigned. Both are now on a mission to protect young girls because of separate incidents in their past. Only by working together can they possibly rescue and return a young girl to her family. The chemistry between Nathan and Nicole only grows stronger as the story progresses. They made a great team not only as a couple, but as investigators. Both are such strong characters and I also loved meeting other members of The Reliance Group as well.

Janelle Denison gives her readers a great romantic suspense story with Into the Night. In my opinion, a wonderful first book for The Reliance Group series. The second book in the series, Night After Night, is scheduled for release in October 2011 and is already on my to-be-bought list. I actually have been given an ARC from the author and will do a feature on Night After Night for the October release.

Week 1 Weight Watchers Update

So I made it through my first full week on the Weight Watchers plan using the new points+ plan. I didn't get to exercise as much as I would have liked (only managed 2 days of exercise), but I stuck the the points+ as best I could.

Results: I LOST 3.2 POUNDS!!!

I know I can do this now! I plan on exercising more this week and hope I can continue to have such great results this week too. Off to buy more fruits and veggies at the store today.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sweet Tea & Secrets

Sweet Tea & Secrets is the first book in the Adams Grove series by Nancy Naigle. From the back cover.~

Adams Grove is mourning the loss of Pearl Clemmons, know for her award-winning chocolate pecan pie and the best unsolicited advice in the county.

When Jill returns to settle her grandmother’s estate, she’s greeted by a Clydesdale-sized guardian dog who doesn’t seem to be earning his stripes (although he drools on them pretty well), and Garrett Mallory, the ex-fiancé she left behind a year ago.

Jill insists on staying at Pearl’s amidst a string of break-ins that have sleepy Adams Grove wide awake and locking its doors. Jill’s past with Garrett becomes the least of her worries when she learns that their lives are in danger. She is the only person standing between a desperate conman and a secret from Pearl’s past.

Will Pearl’s past kill any chance of Jill and Garrett’s future together?

I met Nancy at the Lori Foster get together at the beginning of June. After spending time with Nancy and reading the back cover of Sweet Tea & Secrets, I knew I wanted to give this book a try. The story opens with Jill coming home for Pearl’s surprise birthday party, so we do get a glimpse of Pearl before she passes away. She was one feisty lady and I grieved with Jill and everyone else in Adams Grove at her passing.

I loved both Jill and Garrett. Both are really strong characters, even if Jill stumbles a bit before she realizes how strong she is. I also loved Pearl’s dog Clyde. There is just something about a huge drooling dog that always puts a smile on my face. I loved all the townspeople from Adams Grove. Kind of made me think of the small town I’m originally from. The only character I really didn’t like was Bradley, Jill’s new boyfriend. Something seemed off about him from the beginning.

I really enjoyed Sweet Tea & Secrets. You could feel the tension between Jill and Garrett from the very first time they appear together. I loved watching their romance rekindle as they worked together to solve the mystery of Pearl’s past. I did figure out something was off with Bradley from the start, but exactly what was off was a surprise to me. If you are looking for a sweet and fun mystery/romance, Sweet Tea & Secrets is the perfect read.