Monday, February 08, 2016

Recent Reads


Another one from GoodReads

Grease Monkey JiveGrease Monkey Jive by Ainslie Paton

My rating: 4.5 out of 5


Outline: A romance about changing the game, finding the truth
and fancy footwork

She thought love was make-believe and
the last person to prove her wrong would be a player.

When ballroom teacher Alex Gibson danced with Dan Maddox she’s reminded of the time she stuck a knife in the toaster, gave herself an electric shock and saw stars. He’s precisely the type of man Alex’s mother warned her off – a player, like the father who abandoned her.

Dan Maddox comes from a long line of men who were hiding under the hood of a beat up old car when the ‘successful relationship’ gene was given out, but he was first in the queue for an extra jolt of chick pulling power.

The chicks in Dan’s life are universally gorgeous, random, disposable, and answer to the name Baby until one drunken night when he picks the wrong girl, hurts a good friend and realises that unless he does something to change, he’ll end up like his violent, unstable father.

It’s Pimp My Ride meets Dancing With The Stars as Alex and Dan come together to compete in a ballroom dancing competition that changes the way they both feel about relationships and love.
  

My Thoughts: This book came up as a recommendation through Amazon. Despite the rather silly sounding title, the grease monkey part got my attention as a much prefer a mechanic over a millionaire as a hero. After reading the outline, it sounded good enough for me so I bought it. Since I was in the mood for a good blue collar hero romance I started it up right away and was enchanted with this book. So much I could barely put it down. Only the fact my power kept being used up on my iPad kept me from reading it straight through.

The book starts out with a "grab your attention" beginning. Alex, our herine is a dancer and when she dances for Dan, our hero, the first time she feels like you do when you stick a knife in a toaster. As I've done that I know how it feels. The story then goes back a bit to give us a look into hero/heroine.

Dan is a real charmer. He surfs, he works, he hangs out with his mates and he fucks. Women find him irresistible and he makes no effort to resist them at all when he and his friends hang out at their favourite bar and it would be so easy to dislike him completely, BUT he is beginning to look into his own character and he's not liking what he sees. He sees he is starting to become like his father, a mean asshole of a guy and Dan wants to change who he is.

Alex is focused and driven. She's attending school so she can become a business woman, she's dating a class A jerk of a boyfriend because her mother approves of him. But her real passionis ballroom dancing. She and her partner for years teach dance and are signed up for one final dance completion.

Alex and Dan meet when on a dare Dan and a couple of his mates sign up for dance lessons. Sparks fly right off the bat for the two of them even though they are complete opposites. Dan is a wonderful hero wanting to change. He completely falls for Alex and I love when this happens. There is so much to love about this book right from cover to cover and it hit all my buttons, great chapter development, well fleshed out secondary characters and a tender believable love story. This book gets a Hugh thumbs up.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Recent Read

As stated - somewhere by me - I haven't done many reviews lately but I have done some on GoodReads.  I thought I may as well put them up here too.



Taking Shots (Assassins, #1)Taking Shots by Toni Aleo

Elli Fisher has never thought she was good enough, let it be her job, her weight, her love life, nothing. That is until she meets Shea Adler. After doing a promotional shoot for the NHL team, the Assassins, she meets the hunky hockey player who shoots a puck, shattering her world.
Shea Adler was tired of the life he was living outside of the rink. The girls, the money blowing, the drinking, everything had to stop and it all did when he met Eleanor Fisher. He had never met anyone like her. She was feisty, witty, shy, and simply gorgeous. When he laid eyes on her, it was as if he was taking the hardest hit of his life into the boards, and he had to have her. Elli is a little skeptical of Shea, but he knows that they were meant to be together, and he needed her in his life.
Can Elli throw her insecurities out the window and love Shea with everything inside of her, or will she let a past relationship, and her family ruin any chance of her being happy.



My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There are good hockey books and then there are bad one.  This is NOT a good one - at least for me.

I'm kind of surprised I finished this book. It's kind of tough to start the year off reading such a horrendous book but then I suppose I can only go up after this.

There were SO many things wrong with it I'm not even sure where to begin so I'll just list them as they come to me.

Very stilted dialogue between hero (?) and heroine (?). At times they sounded like a couple of junior high kids who have never talked to a member of the opposite sex before.

A heroine(?) who obsesses about how overweight she is AND SHE'S A SIZE F'IN 10!!!!!!! Give me a break. I could only dream of being that size. While I can see obsessing about weight if she truly was overweight, I constantly wanted to smack her upside the head and tell her to get over it.

The WAY over abundance of the word awesome. First off, I think only Mutant Ninja Turtles might use it anymore and a hero (?) who constantly uses it? UUGGHH.

I don't think the author made hardly any attempt to make the hero(?)sound like or act like a guy. Having raised two sons, they would never talk like Shea. Never. And if they did, I'd tell them to 'man up'.

The fact the heroine watches Pride and Prejudice almost every single night!! Who does that kind of thing?? There are movies I love and watch over and over but there is no way I'd watch the same movie every night. Add to that the fact that she has a shrine to the hero and the hockey team in her home and girl needs serious therapy. I think she must have stopped maturing at age 11.

The book clocked in at almost 600 pages in the kindle addition and that was way, way to long. It needed some serious tightening up. There were so many scenes that added nothing to the story, that never should have been added. A story needs to be constantly moving, not mired in minutia that adds nothing.

Small things like the hero scored 4 goals in one of the first games of the season, and he's a defenseman. I'm not saying it absolutely couldn't happen, but it's highly, highly unlikely.

The heroine paints her face and puts on the heroes jersey number on her face for every home game. Again this is more the thing a preteen would do, not a mature woman.

The way over the top Snidley Whiplash villian(ess)

And finally, though I could keep going, the final hurdle. If I didn't already despise the heroine, this alone would do it. All thorough the book our unmanly hero has all but stood on his head and sang ' I Am Woman' to prove his love and heroine sees her sister, a sister she knows would love to destroy her, kissing her love and that's it! Relationship over. The heroine cries - ad nauseum. The hero cries. Things are resolved of course, these two losers deserve each other. But this book left a serious bad after taste.

I absolutely do not recommend this book.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Recent Read

As I said, I've been a reading machine while I was off so I thought I'd some reviews now that I have access to a computer again and I'm feeling more like doing them.  First up....




Tank by M. Malone

Genre: Contemporary

Steam Level: The kettle is boiling on this one

Why this one: It was (and still is) free

Outline: Money changes everything...

Years ago, Tank Marshall swore off fighting. He exercises iron control to keep his anger in check. But his mother was just diagnosed with cancer and the deadbeat dad he hasn’t seen in years is back offering an inheritance and a chance at redemption.

There’s only one person that keeps him anchored in the midst of the chaos. One person untouched by violence and money and lies. Emma Shaw.

But the one thing that Tank hasn’t learned yet is that when billions are at stake, there’s no such thing as innocent. Money. Changes. Everything.

My Thoughts:  One of the things I see some authors, or maybe it’s not them, but maybe it’s the publishers – but no matter –do is offer the first book in a new series up for free or priced very low.  I think this is a brilliant idea, specially if it’s free.   If this book hadn’t been free I might not have perked up and noticed it.  As it is I’ve already purchased the next book and plan to get the whole series.  Win/Win for both the author and me.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  At the beginning of the book Tank Marshall is one troubled dude.  His mother’s cancer has come back, he has a father who abandoned them when he and his brother Finn were just children and now wants back in their lives again.  Tank is very bitter and wants nothing to do  with him.  He’s pretty rough around the edges but that just made him more appealing to me.  But his father is now very very wealthy and offering to pay Tank and Finn for just visiting.  If it was left up to Tank he would tell his father to pound salt, but he has the expense of his mother’s cancer to consider.  An expensive surgery could save her life.

He’s also developed a crush on the receptionist of his father’s attorney, one Emma Shaw.  Tank’s unusual method of dealing with stress is to beat people up.  Bad people that is.  It’s rather an unusual way of handling it, but kind of cute in a “Girl, you are sick” kind of way.  And it is only guys who deserved to get their lights punched out.

He finally gets a chance to connect with Emma who has enough struggles of her own.  Her parents are both dead and it’s just her and her sister.  Money is therefore an issue.  Things are strained between Emma and her sister, she’s dating a real douche bag who keeps hitting on Emma.  She knows and is actually quite fond of Tank’s father.  And when he offers her a deal she can’t resist……

 Therefore we have two people who aren’t in the best place finding and bonding with each other.

Tank is so smitten with Emma and will do pretty much anything she asks.  There is this hilarious ‘cat’ scene that I won’t say anymore on so as not to spoil anything because hey, no sense not getting this book at the mighty fine price of $0.00.

There is conflict towards the end of the story that could have devolved into an annoying Big Misunderstanding, but the author didn’t go there.  Both Tank and Emma were well written

One thing I should note that the book is written in first person, present tense with alternating chapters from Tank and Emma’s POV.  In the past that would have meant I would have passed on this book but thank goodness I outgrew that bias. It would have limited my reading world causing me to miss some really good books including this one.

As mentioned, this is the just the first in a series.  It seems that Papa Marshall was a bunny kind of guy and Tank and Finn have other brothers they never knew about.

This book gets a thumbs up and I’ll read more by M. Malone from me.  I can certainly see me rereading this one again.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5
 
'til later

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

And 3, 2, 1 – I’m back!!




Not only back to much closer to my old self but also back to work after being on stress leave since mid-November but also as you can see, back to blogging.  Actually I was ready to come back to blogging last week but I couldn’t remember my password.  I’m at work now where I’m automatically signed in.

My leg is about 80% better now thank goodness.  Let me tell you since I’ve done both, torn ligaments are much, much worse than a broken leg.  There was no fun with the ligament damage like there was with the broken leg, just a lot more pain.  I’m still going to physio 3 x’s a week

 

But the real good news is that emotionally/mentally I’m in a much better place.  I really needed that time off for more than just my leg.  The different medication the doctor ordered is doing it’s job and I’m not in that dark corner any longer.

 

I did A LOT of reading over the time off.  I planned on keeping up at least on GoodReads but that didn’t seem to happen so I plan on getting caught up.  I signed up for the challenge and I want to make sure I get them all recorded.  I upped the number in 2016 by fifteen more so I don’t want to short change myself.  I’ve been on a really sports romance, particularly hockey romance lately.  I think they must have been comfort reads or something.

 

So I’m very happy to claim my life back.  I’m even starting to make plans for summer vacation and I couldn’t have done that before.  I’m not 100%.  I still have to see a therapist and I’ve a few issues I need to deal with but overall it’s like night and day.

 

The main thing I’ve learned is to be kind to myself.  One of the therapists asked me if I would be as hard on a friend then I am on myself and my answer was ‘not a chance’.  That alone was an eye opener. 

So anyone else suffering from the pain that is depression, seek help, take medication, know that it’s not you, it’s the depression and even though you  may not believe or see it, or feel it, there is light and always a hand waiting to help you out of the depth of despair.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

 
 
 

This is my world right now - only it's darker

I wish I could report in and say I’m in a better place now, but I can’t.  Things haven’t gotten better for me, they’ve gotten worse.  As of Monday I’m going to be off work on a stress leave.  I never thought it would get this bad; that I would do this, but it has.

Four weeks ago I slipped and fell in the bathroom and tore some ligaments in my right leg.  If anyone else has done this, you will know it’s very painful.  It’s turned out to be much more painful even then the broken leg.  In health care they measure a person’s pain level on a scale from one to ten.  Mine has been between three and often up to eight continually.  The only time I’ve really been pain-free is when I’m asleep.  If I spend any length of time on my feet, it goes up to eight.  I’m going for physio 3 times a week and it’s helping a bit – but it’s going to take a long time to heal.
 

I’ve opened up in the past about not opening mail.  I’ve opened up about suffering from depression and now I’m going to confess something else that affects my life.  I’m a hoarder, only a recently acknowledged hoarder.  I’ve always found it difficult to get rid of things but in the past little while it’s escalated into something that’s becoming dangerous.  The reason I slipped and fell was clothes on my bathroom floor.  I have 2 bedrooms I can’t even really get into as they are so filled with ‘stuff’.  The bedroom I sleep in is getting worse daily.  I don’t have anyone over to my house any longer as I’m too ashamed as to how it looks.

 
The horrible part is I can’t seem to stop and make things better.  I had taken a few days’ vacation time a couple of weeks ago to try and make a dent but I’d fallen just before that and I couldn’t do it at all.  And since I have been in pain and not able to move about because of the leg it’s only escalated the mess and the hoarding situation.  I watch Hoarding, Buried Alive sometimes and I really feel for and sympathize with the hoarders.  I GET their anguish as I feel it myself.  I don’t know if I can let go of my ‘stuff’, I like to think I can but I don’t know.

I don’t have people over to the house any more as I’m so ashamed of what I’ve let happen.

So in this stress leave I’m taking the time to ‘fix’me.  I want to get on meds that work for depression.  There is an organization here in the city that helps with hoarders that I’ve been trying to get hold of and most important of all is I want to find a therapist who deals with people who suffer from depression.

 
I just want to stress again that this is an illness.  For those who have never suffered from it but may have friends or family that do, it’s not as simple as telling them to ‘pull up there bootstraps’ and ‘get over it’.  It’s a crippling condition in that self-loathing and hating who we are takes over our whole lives.  We tell ourselves and we believe that we are terrible mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers.  We tell ourselves that no one can possibly really love us as they don’t know us inside.  Depression is an enemy we can’t see, a foe that is difficult to battle as the enemy, the foe is our very selves.

So if I can offer advice to family and friends to loved ones with depression, don’t give up on them.  You will probably get very frustrated with them, but as frustrated as you are with them, know they are even more so.  I know you may get impatient at times, but try not to let them know as that makes things work.  Chances are whatever they may tell you about their depression, it may only be the tip of the iceberg.

 
Just be kind, be there, love them and know they are in pain and that it isn’t their choice to be this way.

I will get there and hopefully they will too.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Update

You will probably notice I've been absent for a while.  There are a couple of reasons.  Reason number 1 is it's very busy at work these days and I just don't have time to do blog posts lately.  This is good as it makes the days fly past, but alas, as my computer at home is down, it's difficult to do them from my Ipad.

Reason number 2 is a bit tougher.  They've also changed the schedule I work now.  One week I work 8 to 4, the next week 12 to 8.  I worried when about this when I heard what they were going to do and as it turns out, with good reason.  One of the things I need most to help with the depression is a steady routine.  I could handle it when I worked on later shift out of 8 but now with things changing every week, it's been very tough.  I don't know if I need different medication to help or what but I do know that what I'm taking now isn't working and the depression has come roaring back.

I have an appointment with my doctor coming up soon where I plan to discuss it with her and I also want her to recommend a good therapist I can see on a regular basis.  We do have a workplace plan and I've used it, but it's geared to a fast fix to the problem and I don't think there is a fast fix to this.

Thus the reason for my lack of regular blogging.  The spirit is willing and I keep thinking of things to blog about, but the heart isn't whole at this time.  Hopefully I will get back on track soon as I know I enjoy it so much.  But it's another casualty of this horrible thing called depression.  But I will say....

'til later

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Recent Reads


Dirty Talk by Megan Erickson

Why This One: I discovered this author with the first book in this series and was very, very impressed, then got one of her back list about the first Payton brother.  It was a given I’d read this one when it came out – so much so that I preordered it.

Genre: Contemporary

Steam Level: Hot – but alas, not in a way I liked

Outline: When the one you shouldn't want is the one you can't resist...

Brent Payton works hard, plays hard, and has earned his ladies’ man reputation. But he’s more than just a good time, even though no one seems to see it. Until a gorgeous brunette with knockout curves and big, thoughtful eyes walks into his family’s garage and makes Brent want more.

Ivy Dawn and her sister are done with men, all of them. They’ve uprooted their lives too many times on account of the opposite sex, but that’s over now. The plan seems easy until a sexy, dirty-taking mechanic bursts in Ivy’s life and shakes everything up.

Brent can’t resist the one person who sees past his devil-may-care fa├žade, and Ivy finds it harder and harder to deny how happy he makes her. But she has secrets of her own and when the truth comes out, she must decide if she’ll run again or if she’ll take a chance on forever.

My thoughts: I was blown away by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series, Dirty Thoughts.  I loved everything about it, the blue collar hero, the fact he’s a grouchy bear type, the fact he and the heroine had had a previous relationship that neither really got rid of.  Brent Payton, the younger brother and hero of Dirty Talk had quite a large role so I wanted to read his story.  I happened to see Megan Erickson at RWA at a signing and told her how much I love the first book and she was telling me a bit about this one and how she loved the character of Brent.

Alas, I didn’t feel the love as much for Brent as I did for Cal.  Brent didn’t have the grouchy bearness of his big brother.  In fact he was quite the player.  That should have been a bit of a warning.  If this had been a historical, he would have been considered a rake and one of the reasons I don’t read as many historical is because of the number of rakes.

Brent, our hero, meets Ivy, our heroine when she visits the garage he works at with his brothers to visit Alex, her sister and the newest employee of Payton and Sons.  Brent is smitten right out of the gate and Ivy is smitten right back.  But she and Alex have made a vow to each other – NO MORE MEN!  They’ve both been stung in the past, Ivy when her former love abandoned her when she got pregnant with little Violet.

Gack – I hate doing this but there were a number of things that bothered me about this book. 

  • I didn’t really feel a love connection between the two of them, more of a lust connection.

  • He kept thinking about how small her hands were to the point I was almost picturing them as a character of their own – that her hands were way too small for the rest of her body.

  • Alex and Ivy running at the drop of a hat.  Sure Alex’s former beau turned out to be a real rat bastard, but I think the fact that they both moved away and were more than willing to run again struck me as quite immature.

  • Violet was way too sugary sweet.  Writing children in romance books is a very difficult thing to do and if the author doesn’t put in some brattiness, the child doesn’t come across as ‘real’.

  • Brent did way too much mental lusting.  It got old after a while.  I’d rather he have spent more time thinking and getting to know the inside then the outside.  I think if he had done that, he probably would have found her too child-like in her way of dealing with life.

  • I don’t really care for player type heroes – or heroines for that matter.  If they are regretful about it, they have chance at redemption for me, but Brent never did.
  • And in a completely and utterly unfair thing - that's the same name as my oldest son and at times it was just kind of odd to read about what a player Brent was

I’m so sad I felt this way about this book considering how much I loved the first book as well as Make it Right – the story of Max Payton and part of another series she’s written, the Bowler University series.  And as a big plus, I did love that Brent is another blue collar type hero.  And the fact that this book didn’t work for me as well as the other two won’t keep me from reading her next planned book in this series or other books she’s written.  I think she’s a good writer, it’s just that this book wasn’t one of my favourites.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Would I read again: Maybe

~~~***^^^***~~~

Grayson’s Vow by Mia Sheridan

Why this one: I LOVE Mia Sheridan’s books!!  In fact if you look to the right, Archer’s Voice is right up there as one of the best books I’ve read in a number of years.  She is an automatic autobuy author

Genre: Contemporary

Steam Level: there were only a couple towards the end, but they flowed beautifully with the story and were perfect

Outline: Kira Dallaire is desperate.

Some challenges in life seem too hard to overcome. With little money, and even fewer options, the quick-witted and vibrant twenty-two-year-old needs to reinvent herself. Known for her generous heart and impulsive personality, she devises a survival plan, possibly her most outrageous idea yet.

Grayson Hawthorn is losing hope.

Some obstacles in life seem too hard to overcome. Betrayal definitely being one of them. With limited capital, and dwindling resources, he is attempting to resurrect his failing family vineyard, a self-imposed vow seemingly destined to fail. That is until a young woman enters his office with an outlandish, unexpected proposition impossible to refuse.

What begins as a temporary business arrangement, soon evolves into more as vivacious, spirited Kira challenges detached, arrogant Grayson to want more from life. To want more for himself. But as their wills clash and fiery passion ignites, they'll realize that sometimes the past creates walls too difficult to climb, and that lies and deception rarely precede a happily ever after.

As Kira and Grayson race toward their destiny, they will discover that some vows are meant to be broken, and others are worth risking everything for . . . even your very own heart.

My Thoughts: I started this book about 5:00 last night.  I didn’t turn on the TV, I was too busy reading.  I sat in the dark I was too busy reading.  I stayed up way past time to head to Zzzzz land I was too busy reading.  Finally my IPad ran out of juice and turned itself off.  I plugged it in and headed to bed.  I woke up at 2:30 am with my IPad 47% charged and finally finished the book.  When I get out of bed in the middle of the night – when I’ve been ASLEEP, that means it’s a Very Good Book.

This one grabbed me from page 2 and didn’t let go until I finished it.  Kira is the kind of heroine you can’t help routing for.  She’s gone through some real bad shit; you get to see how bad it gets as you read along, but instead of it getting her down, she pulls herself up, brushes herself off and starts all over again with one wild scheme after another.  At the beginning we meet her as she’s in a bank when she overhears a conversation between a banker and a man whose name she recognizes as someone from her past though she’s never met him.  We discover the connection later in the book.  But the client, Grayson, is being turned down for a loan and she feels a sense of almost responsibility.  When she later spies him giving what little money he seems to have to a homeless person, she’s decided on her next plan.  You see, though she is homeless at the time, she is soon going to inherit a great deal of money upon her marriage.  Grayson needs a great deal of money to try and bring the dying winery he inherited back to the place it once was.  She visits Grayson and proposes they marry for a few months so she can get her inheritance and she will split it 50/50 with Grayson, allowing him to do the needed work on the winery.

Grayson very reluctantly agrees to it, thinking she’s just a spoiled little rich girl who needs the money to indulge herself having already spent the allowance ‘daddy’ has given her and treats her quite rudely as a result.  Of course things couldn’t be further from his first impression and as the story moves along, he is proven wrong again and again as he gets to know her better.

Kira on her part, is starting to develop deeper and deeper feelings for Grayson as she gets to know his very sad childhood.  She has such a loving heart that she almost feels his pain, having shared many of same kind of pain herself, but that doesn’t keep her from calling him out when he goes overboard on his cynicism.

I adore Kira as a heroine.  Grayson is a bit harder to warm up to.  He pulls some, what seems to me, to be very cruel stunts.  Yes, he has his reasons for his bitterness, but he gets carried away a bit too often.  But the Kira love I have evens things out somewhat.  She is young, only 22, but because of all she had gone through, it was quite a mature 22.

I still preferred Archer’s Voice a little bit more than this one.  Ms. Sheridan piles it on a little too thick on the pain she inflicts on Grayson, but she is one of the best authors I’ve read at making us feel the emotional pain the hero/heroine feel.  Maybe it’s because of the first person, alternating characters of the way she writes.  We get into both their heads throughout.  So while I thought this was a wonderful read – I read in one and a half sitting – and will give it a thumbs up and shout “Read it, It’s such a Good Book” Grayson’s Vow gets a 4.75.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Would I read it again: Absolutely!!