Sunday, August 4, 2019

Reading Update: Page 1


What’s better than one purplish dress on a romance cover? Why TWO purplish dresses, of course!

Happy Sunday reading and eating, everyone.


Sadly, this recipe did not live up to its name for me, I wouldn’t even call it hot. If I made it again, I’d add the whole can of adobe chilies. This tasted more tomato-y than anything. Admittedly, my tolerance leans more towards spicy but I still see most being disappointed in the heat level this turned out to have. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Review: The Rogue to Ruin

The Rogue to Ruin The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.7 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Third in the Misadventures of Matchmaking, The Rogue to Ruin, stars the eldest sister Ainsley and her pesky across the street neighbor Reed. I was a new reader to the series and had no problem jumping in here. The author seamlessly involves the reader into the story of Ainsley trying to keep her matchmaking business afloat after her two sisters (heroines of book #1 & #2) ended up marrying two clients. Ainsley blames their lack of business on Reed and his gaming hell across the street. Reed also isn't a fan of having a matchmaking business across the street but his enjoyment of sparking Ainsley's fire more than makes up for it.
Reed's business is flourishing, Ainsley's is sinking, and they both seem to be enjoying their war a little too much.

Reed Sterling had seen her flinch. What were the chances that he would simply forget about it?

New to the series had me missing out on some past relationship knowledge, I would have liked more with her sisters and a clearer picture about her father, but I also came to Ainsley's character without preconceived notions. She's very buttoned up and seems to have some unwarranted animosity towards Reed, her solely blaming his business for her lack of clients seems a bit forced as the story goes on, but the author let's us in on why Ainsley holds herself so protectively pretty early on. She lost her mother at an early age and circumstances had her having to take care of everything with too much responsibility falling to her shoulders and she had an abusive fiance. I thought her guarded heart attitude was understandable and it made how Reed treated her even more heartwarming.

From the day they’d met, he’d wanted to unwrap her. Not only her prim and proper clothes, layer by layer, but all the thoughts she kept buttoned up as well.

Reed's background was more clear but like with Ainsley and her sisters, I would have liked more scenes with his friends Finch, Raven, or others to get a more rounded out look at his character. Ultimately, though, we're all here for the romance and the way he teased and gently handled Ainsley, will have you ardently in his corner. Romance more often than not likes to have the hardened hero be gently loved out of their cocoon, here it is flipped with Ainsley afraid to lean on him after having to be in charge for so long and scared to trust a man after her father and fiance. Reed has some issues with not feeling good enough for her but he consistently is there for her and not only talks the talk but walks the walk showing she can trust him.

“That’ll be enough. Give her over,” Mr. Sterling said with an impatient gesture, crowding the doorway. “It took a long while for me to earn her trust, and I’ll not have you undermining my efforts by spoiling her more than I do.”
“With the way she’s been mistreated in the past, it’s no wonder she doesn’t trust easily. Why, just look at her. Anyone can see that she requires tender care. I can hardly believe she could ever be comfortable with a rough and burly man like you.”
“Are we still talking about the cat, highness?” he asked, stone-faced.


The first twenty percent of this was glorious with their verbal back and forth that lead to the middle being physical reaching out to touch and nervously retreating back, and finally the later half of trusting and loving. I did think Ainsley created a little too much angst towards the end with not trusting Reed, it seemed only a couple chapters before, only because it had felt like the author had written away that obstacle, that she had overcome this. Around the 60% I felt like the pace had slowed, their sexual relationship gets a lot of focus, that made the extra angst feel even more of an impede. The ending rushes up with Ainsley searching deep, realizations, surprises, and a sweet epilogue.

I will definitely be searching out the other books in the series and be hoping for future ones starring some secondary characters we met here; Raven and Lord Savage, pretty please. The chemistry between this couple was sparking and sweet, which made for an emotionally delightful story. If a protective of her heart heroine, very patient hero, and their idea of foreplay is some sexual tension filled bantering, grab this one up.

There was always something between them—class, profession, animosity, frustration. Yet when his bare hand had been on hers, there was something there, too.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 2, 2019

Reading Update: 20%


Why have I not read this author before?? The first 20% of this has me very much liking. This couple has some sexual tension back and forth goodness. 


Quick and easy, used Chardonnay for white wine. Nice lemony flavor 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Review: A Highlander Walks into a Bar

A Highlander Walks into a Bar A Highlander Walks into a Bar by Laura Trentham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Izzy and Alasdair both lost their fathers at a young age but while Izzy adored her father, Alasdair didn't have the best relationship with his. Now the uncle Alasdair adored but let anger keep him away, has run off to America with a woman he barely knows and Alasdair wants to make sure he's not being taken advantage of.
Izzy has been her mother's companion and partner in keeping their family tradition alive ever since her father died and she can't believe her mom is bringing a stranger into the mix.
Izzy and Alasdair both want to protect the ones they love but are also learning they might need to live their own lives and take a chance on secretly held dreams.

Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six-foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

First in the Highland, Georgia series, I was entertained with how the author shook things up a bit with transporting the Highlands to Georgia, USA. Izzy and her mother organize the Highland Games every year for their Scottish obsessed town and consider it their honor and Izzy's birthright as it has been passed down through her father's family. I liked how the author showed how even though Izzy considered it her birthright, she also lost a bit of herself when she gave up certain dreams to help her mom and began to ignore her own wants and needs. I think this helped to explain why she was so wary of the man her mother brought home; the pain of thinking of her dad replaced but also her spot in her mother's life.

Alasdair had a whole slew of background baggage to unpack, the secrets about his dad he was still keeping from his mother, trying to live the life he thought his mother wanted for him to makeup for any pain she experienced in her marriage, and the guilt of not still having a relationship with his uncle. Since he traveled to America to keep track of his uncle, this was dealt with and worked through while I felt the issues with his mom needed more flushing out, it kind of gets rushed through at the end.

Alasdair and Izzy had an instant physical attraction that was followed with some cute moments brought on by Izzy's clumsiness and Alasdair's teasing. Their emotional connection wasn't as deep and strong as I typically like but they were flirty cute and transitioned well enough to sexy hot. Alasdair was put in a position by his uncle to omit some truths from Izzy which I thought was mild enough to not be too emotionally damaging but added angst to the storyline. The added plot of his work going behind his back, therefore making it seem like he was going behind Izzy's back, wasn't given enough pressure to add too much of an impact. The development, hiding, finding out by Izzy, and then resolution all happened in the background enough and was wrapped up quick enough to feel more like it clogged the story with unnecessary filler than add any hefty angst.

I thought the town and some it's characters could have actually been fleshed out more, I'm not sure I did feel the spirit of the town but I did think I understood our main characters enough, if not their friends. A Highlander Walks Into a Bar had cute moments and a pinch of angst, it works as an afternoon read but probably won't be a particularly memorable one. The epilogue hints at another highlander venturing into this southern Scottish town and I have a feeling Izzy's free spirit friend Anna is up next for some Scottish loving.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Reading Update: Page 1


Sunday reading, a Highlander in Georgia :)


Great tasting, easy to make. Do suggest stirring in sauce w/ quinoa first.

Review: Listen to the Moon

Listen to the Moon Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I buddy read this, for complete thoughts and quotes - Listen to the Moon buddy read

This took me a little off guard with how the sexual scenes started up kind of quick but the second half was full of deeply hitting emotional moments. I don't know how Lerner manages to do it but she always nails the truth behind matters and her writing in economic, race, and sex issues is seamless.

A look at how economic and social status affects servants and the learning curve and growing pains in a new marriage. Written in Lerner's beautiful words and emotionally true characters, this story will linger with you for a while.



View all my reviews

Saturday, July 27, 2019

55%

Listen To The Moon - Rose Lerner
She was beginning to think it a heavy burden, to see only the smudges and not the silver.

More comments/quotes: Listen to the Moon Buddy Read

Friday, July 26, 2019

Reading Update: 20%

Listen To The Moon - Rose Lerner
Her merry lust turned wistful and aching. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone had taken so much care with anything to do with her.

More thoughts/quotes: Listen to the Moon Buddy Read

Review: The Tiger Catcher

The Tiger Catcher The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There'll be another time for you and me.
There'll never be another time for you and me.


In what is a planned trilogy, The Tiger Catcher introduces us to Julian and his love and obsession for Josephine Collins. From the moment he sees her on stage he is captivated and can't believe when he sees her again months later across the country in a book store. Simons' has this couple's story swirling questions of fate, destiny, mere coincidence, or eons of soul searching. Written in an ephemeral tone, the sentences are shorter at times and moments with and between Julian and Josephine felt like short bursts of energy; the texture of the story takes some getting used to.

The majority of the story is told from Julian's point of view which I think hurt my personal connection to Josephine but probably works for what the author is going for in regards to the overall series structure. After Julian reconnects with Josephine, he immediately breaks up with his girlfriend and becomes consumed with her. He has a very close friend named Ashton that from the beginning is very wary of Josephine and at first you'll probably read it as jealousy; Josephine also has a friend, Zakiyyah, that reads the same way. The story takes a turn, however, and details are revealed about Josephine and the bubble Julian has been living in gets popped.

Be careful who you pretend to be.

The beginnings chaotic happiness is contrasted with the middles abject grief and Julian ends up wandering London and addicted to Klonopin as he deals with the loss of his Josephine. With the knowledge the reader now has about Josephine, there won't be much empathy for this character and Julian's views, thoughts, and emotions start to read very skewed; the beginning feeling of soulmates will be questioned. The writing style of this part made it hard for me to really connect to the characters and therefore this extended wallowing made the story drag. If you have read Simons before though, you'll know that little, seemingly innocuous details, can later have high importance, this thinking kept me locked in.

Julian was no one on a river of nothing on the way to nowhere, all because a Hmong shaman said, you want to see her again?

The later half brings in the mystical aspects that the writing style and tone were working for and the pace started to pick up again. I love when author's take real things, like the Prime Meridian and Transit Circle, and infuse them with myth while utilizing them in fantastical ways. The story shifts from grounded in reality to time travel as the Hmong shaman, Devi, Julian fortuitously or destined found his way to, tells him that while Josephine may be lost to him in this world, he can find her in another. The story then shifts to the year 1603.

“But they still won't be cheering for you, Lady Mary,” Julian says. “They'll be applauding for the thing you're putting on for them, for someone else. Don't you want to be loved for the young woman you actually are?”
“Don't speak to me so presumptuously about love,” she says. “And no, I want to be loved for the woman I pretend to be.”


This part of the story I really struggled with, as even though, Mary (aka Josephine) is supposed to be more immature, it makes Julian's obsession with her even more frustrating. If it is the author's intent to make you feel this way because the payoff and understanding develops in the second or third book, I suppose that is understandable since reader's go in knowing this is a trilogy but it still makes this first book a struggle to get through. This latter thirty percent or so, was all Mary being a brat and introducing the idea that maybe we can't change the threads of our fate, predestined is predestined. Heavy questions but not relayed with very enjoyable characters to read about; my relationship with even Julian became very frayed here.

The story ends with Julian leaning toward a possible cataclysmic decision. The fabric of the story and characters was a little murky at times and I wish we could have gotten to know Julian's friend Ashton better (the real love of Julian's life perhaps?). Their friendship was the highlight of the story for me and the only one that rang true. What I found missing could easily be by design because of the trilogy aspect but I'm not sure I connected with or was pulled in enough to read on in the series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reading Update: 50%


Fate, destiny, secrets, grief, and journeys. 
Halfway through this and very curious to see where Julian is going to end up. 


Big fan of this one and sprinkled some Frank’s Red Hot on top for kick.