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Monday, March 13, 2017

Seduce Me, Cowboy by Maisey Yates

My reading ruts are nearly paved they are so predictable. Maisey Yates? Yes, please.


From Amazon:

When a rebellious rancher meets the pastor's daughter, it's a match made in…Copper Ridge! From New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates!

Sheltered from her own desires for so long, Hayley Thompson wants to experience life. A new job at Gray Bear Construction is a start. The work she can handle. It's her boss—reclusive, sexy Jonathan Bear—who's scrambling her mind and her hormones…

No matter how successful he becomes, Jonathan's reputation will always precede him. And his type of woman is usually nothing like prim, innocent Hayley. Yet he can't resist unleashing the fire beneath her pent-up facade—even if seduction means losing his heart…


Ok, tbh, this one wasn't a winner. I loved Jonathan. He's proud and strong and not at all ashamed of who he is- a man who is self-made, rich, and loves his stuff. He knows he's an ass and he still can't help wanting Haley, who is all allll ALLLLLLL wrong for him. Haley is innocent, sweet, pure- all those words that just don't happen in 2017. She's played it safe and sheltered as the pastor's daughter. She's pretty unbelievable. I didn't dislike Haley, but her character would be much better pre-internet days. (That said, I do know a 22 year old woman who has many of these qualities. She wraps herself in her innocence like a martyr and holds it in front of her like an excuse. "I'd rather never have a date than date boys like that!" Riiiiight.)

What I didn't buy, and what ultimately weakened the book for me tho, was the speed at which Jonathan went from "Jerk of the top most level who will never love" to "madly in love with the virginal heroine". We're talking hours. Minutes.  I got whiplash. I feel like the proportion of people in Copper Ridge who were abused/abandoned/orphaned as kids is WAY above the national average, but I'm too lazy to go back and count. That said, I go back to Maisey Yates and Copper Ridge over and over, even with a few serious duds, because even when the plots are flawed, the writing is strong and the characters are interesting, but this one isn't her best.

Seduce Me, Cowboy came out on March 7th.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Last Five Things I Bought. (More or Less)

This has been a bad week for my credit card.


Brooks Launch 3. I need to start working my current pair out of rotation, and I'm itching to try something lighter (and potentially faster.) I love ordering from Brooks directly- free shipping both ways, and 90 days to run in them to see if they work for you, yes, even outside on trails!


Stridebox. Because I love ipsy and I love running even more. The first box came this week.


A couple Momentum Motivate wraps- one for me and one for a friend. Not telling what they say because it's a surprise.

An iPhone 7. Because my 6 died in a tragic drowning accident last summer and I finally paid it off. I was so ready to be done with the loaner iPhone 5!


Too many of these. And these.  I have no willpower.

What have you bought yourself recently?


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Someone to Love by Donna Alward

Am I the only one who gets confused by series titles that are incredibly similar? The book before Someone to Love is Somebody Like You. I can't keep them straight. It really doesn't matter though, as the minute I finished the first, I requested the second, and read it the next day.


Here's the summary, from Amazon:

SOME WISHES DO COME TRUE

Ethan Gallagher is a firefighter in Darling, Vermont, who followed tradition and pledged his love on the Kissing Bridge to ensure lifelong happiness. A few years later, he’s a widower with two rambunctious boys who no longer believes in magic. But even he has to admit that free-spirited Willow Dunaway fills him with wonder…and an attraction he cannot deny.

Willow’s come back to Darling a different girl than the one who left after high school. Overcoming her past and owning her own business has made her into a strong, independent woman. Single dad Ethan appeals to her in a way she didn’t expect, even though settling down is the last thing on her mind. But after fire destroys the local food bank, the town rallies, and a fling between Ethan and Willow leads to unintended consequences. Can they find a way out of their heartbreak to make a home in each other’s hearts?


"Unintended consequences" sounds like so much drama! Phrases like this pop up in summaries all the time and then when you read the book you think "well that's putting it too strongly, no?" but in this case, it's accurate. This is one of those books (and authors) who you know what to expect. You have an idea of the level of drama/scandal/real issues. I wasn't expecting this one to take the turn it did. That said, I'm all for variety, and even tho it directly touches on a touchy (and political) subject, I felt it was well done and handled with respect and empathy. I expect there are people who will hate it. (Sorry to be vague, but it's a pretty big spoiler.)

Willow has come back to Darling after time away. She's been through a lot and she's found inner peace. She's pretty stereotypical on the surface, with her yoga and meditation and organic food, but she has to work to maintain the zen. She's the best explanation of yoga practice that I've heard. She's prone to working too hard and taking on too much, but she's rarely annoying or in your face with it. Ethan is a grumpy jerk. His wife died a couple years ago and he's struggling as much now as ever. His grief has dissipated but he's not sure who he is without his wife or the constant grief. He's ready to move on and feels out of place. He takes this out on Willow, at first, because she's so settled and calm. I love seeing him overcome that inclination to lash out.  That said, he's not perfect and not even perfect in his imperfectness, if you follow.

Their romance is fairly slow, even if the attraction is sudden. It felt natural, but never easy. Willow and Ethan both have reasons to resist and they do. I'm not certain that  the resolution is one that people will love, but I felt it was handled very realistically, as opposed to in a fairy tale (Ethan is not the brother to rescue Willow when the crisis finally happens and he's not suddenly by her side as a white knight.) I was happy with the resolution and the resulting happily ever after, even if I was surprised by the route it took.  I'm very happy that I have the next book waiting on my Kindle.

Someone to Love is out today, March 7th.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Five Pictures from Last Weekend

Last weekend we took a mini-mini vacation- an overnight trip to Watiki Waterpark to let off a little winter cabin fever. We managed to con our favorite family into coming with us, and brought Lauren's BFF MK.  The kids are finally old enough to swim without my worrying too much about drowning and the waterpark had beer and pizza. Good times were had by all.






Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Somebody Like You: A Darling, VT Novel by Donna Alward

I've been a Donna Alward fan for a while now, but when I saw the plot summary of the first book in her new series, Somebody Like You, I hesitated. Plots like this never work, but I took a chance and I wasn't disappointed.

Here's the summary, from Amazon:

A kiss to last a lifetime

Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge―local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love―as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.

Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale―and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden―and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?


See? Cheesy, right? I mean come on, how is that even logical unless they grew up to be a couple? Of course Laurel refuses and who could blame her?

Laurel has recently come off a shocking divorce. Her faith in love and men and in her future are completely smashed. She's gone back home to heal and start over and is the subject of a good bit of gossip. She's prickly and hurt and yet still can't put herself first. She's so conscious of appearances and of never hurting another person that she puts herself in situations that destroy her. She has a history with Aiden, and not just the kiss on the bridge as children. She knows people are talking, plus she's mad about how that ended. And honestly, she's justified in all of it.

Aiden tho, he's the best. He screwed up in high school, but he admits it, and boy did he grow up nice. He's a small town cop with the desire to really help people. He's smart and caring and a bit of a prankster with his brother, and he really really loves Laurel. He clearly always has.

There's a little bit of outside drama here, enough to make the plot interesting, but the main conflict is within Laurel herself. Aiden never questions what he feels, even though he's outright terrified. The scene at the end is so adorable (and unrealistic) and if I weren't already half in love with him, this would have done it for me. This isn't perfect, but it's sweet and romantic and before I even turned off my Kindle I was back at NetGalley requesting the next in the series. The book as a whole won't go down in my top ten of all time, but Aiden's emotion in the final scenes will, and I suspect I'll go back to reread that part more than once.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Next 5 Non-fiction books on my list.

I can never decide if I prefer non-fiction or fiction, here are the next five non-fiction books on my list:


1. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. I LOVED his Alexander Hamilton biography. I wish he'd do one for all the presidents.


2. How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald. I have big goals this year.


3. Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferris. I love his podcast. I imagine I'll love this book too, though I wish it weren't quite 700 pages long.


4. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.  After Hillbilly Elegy, this seems appropriate.


5. The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein. I had already bought the book, and then heard him tell a story on This American Life, which sealed the deal.

What non-fiction are you reading next?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

I started 2017 with the best of intentions. I was going to read more and blog more and run more and do more. I signed up for a couple of blog tours as motivation to get back into it more regularly, and then I missed my post date for Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins!  But better late than never...



WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another...

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

Don't miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins' new series set in Regency England!


The plot of this is right up my alley. It's also almost commonplace these days, as every historical has a bluestocking or two. It almost makes me miss the headstrong beauties! That said, when the request came in, I was pretty excited to give it a go. As the story opens, Quill is decidedly against the ladies inheriting his aunt's house. He is rude, arrogant, and unlikable. I really questioned if he would ever be able to turn it around, and to be honest, it takes a while. Ivy is less intimidating from the beginning, but she's also less interesting to me. She's a language scholar, and while that should be interesting it almost feels like a tacked on quirk than something ingrained as part of her. This is one of my pet peeve- the quirky quality- and Collins narrowly skirts it here.   The mystery progresses nicely, if a bit openly for a secret, and the I was happy with the plotting of the book.  My biggest complaint with the book is the dialogue. It can't seem to settle on proper conversation for the time period, and awkward flirting. Collins does a poor job of integrating the tension with the characters natural personalities, and I found that it drew my attention to the fact that I was reading, instead of letting me sink into the book. It didn't make the tension seem real and I was always aware that I was reading a book. I wouldn't mind finding out what happens in the rest of the series though, and will likely continue reading.

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