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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes

My grandparents on their wedding day!
I find it a tad amusing that I happen to write this blog on the Wedding Anniversary of both my parents (33 years) and my grandparents (married 57 years today!!) Love you all!! xxoo (Oh and yes, they were married the same day X amount of years do the math, I am tired)  When I sat down to write this book review, I was stuck.I didn't know how to approach the topic. I than saw the date and was inspired! 
My parents on their wedding day with my grandparents!

With the divorce rates as high as they are in this day and age, a long marriage is a commendable feat worthy of celebration! (Dad just updated his Facebook status to say he and Mom are dining together at Pickle Barrel) I find it sad when I hear stories of people growing apart or things not working out for the best.

 My husband and I have been together for 10 years this year, married 5 years this October. (He’s my longest boyfriend EVER!!) We are both lucky enough to have parents that are ‘in it for the long haul’ as examples to look up to. My hubby and I joke that there is no one else alive willing to put up with either one of us, so we have no choice but to make it work. :) (muuuuuhahahahaha)                

On our wedding day!
If I could give any sort of  relationship/marriage advice (I'm qualified, my credentials are several ex boyfriends, flings, broken hearts, and 10 years in a solid relationship) to someone starting new at it (or for someone who needs a swift kick in the ass) than these would be the points I'd make!
* Understand there are going to be problems that arise. It's a roller coaster! Deal with it.
*Romance is fine and dandy, but real love is more than attraction, hearts and mushy crap. It's about respecting your partner, accepting the for who they are (faults and all) and trusting one another.
*Marriage isn't always going be easy, challenges will inevitably come your way. At the end of the day if you are going through a rough patch, and can look at the person across from you and say 'I love you enough to try' (no matter how mad and upset you are) and they reciprocate.....THAT'S love.

One of my favorite songs about love is by a R&B group SWV. The song is called "Love Is So Amazing". They open the song following lyrics:

"What is love, love is an experience everyone should have. It's not always fun, but it's always special. A sweet struggle that seals the past and builds a future, a love that can weather the storm, is an amazing love"

All that said, Love is patient and kind, until you find your husband making it with his sous chef like the character in my next recommended novel!

Enough with the mushy talk... let's chat about Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes. A novel that is all about a woman and her summer journey after her marriage unravels. It's clear that these characters did not have the recipe for success. They had a recipe for a delicious fondue maybe, but not for a loving marriage.

Amanda grew up wealthy with parents who adored each other. Due to circumstances, her life takes some unexpected turns. One 'turn' is meeting and falling in love with a gorgeous Frenchman named Andre. A sexy chef who sweeps her off her feet. She puts her career plans aside, marries and becomes a stay at home mom.
Amanda goes to visit her husband at his restaurant, only to find him sexing up his sous chef Ursala. She takes off  embarks on a summer of soul searching, all while living in luxury at the St. Regis Laguna Beach with her son and her mother. She meets a man who understands her situation and the healing can begin....

The story is told in a way that made me feel part of the story and I was empathetic.
I felt her rage (so help me GOD if I was in her shoes)
I felt her pain (Shot of tequila barkeep....and keep 'em comin'!)
I felt her frustration (Listen Andre the A-Hole.... get it through your thick skull.....)
I felt her mothers love (Protect and do what's best for your child is always priority numero uno!!)
I felt her fear (Where would I go? What would I do?)

I needed a stiff drink with this book, but all in all it was brilliant!! I smell a good plot for a movie or tv show... (just sayin'!) My only complaint was it wasn't long enough. I can't find any info, but one hopes there is a sequel eventually.
Anita Hughes in an author you need to check out! I highly recommend Monarch Beach. Five out of Five Monarch Butterflies!

Her website

It was a story with twists, and it ends in a way I didn't see coming! Neither will you! ;)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Catalina Island Dominican Republic

There is no type of vacation I love more, than the kind where I jet off to a tropical destination!
Never mind I hate actually getting ON the plane. The typical vacation anticipation, my lack of patience, mixed with my fear of flying doesn't make me a good traveling companion. (At least that's what my husband tells me)
When our flight actually touches down at our destination, it's all I can do not to kiss the tarmac and shout 'Thank the merciful heavens I've made it!!'
I don't (because that would be weird) but the thought really does cross my mind every time we land. 

All that aside, once I'm at the resort, I am cool, calm, collected and looking to get my vacation on!

Vacation On!!!

There is nothing more relaxing to me than laying in a lounger, on a white sandy beach, listening to the surf mixed with island music playing by the beach-side bar. The smell of coconut sunscreen in the air. Sipping on an icy Blue Hawaiian while my nose is shoved in a book. Not a care in the world! (other then the fear of turning the reddish hue of a lobster)  DIVINE!

<---Mmmmmmmmmm Blue Hawaiian! Who wants one?

Doesn't it all sound so good? Well quit mentally making vacation plans! That can wait! You need to read the rest of my blog, so you can pick a great book to take with you on that trip!

Let's Play Pretend for a moment!

 Imagine now, that you are on that tropical island. The beauty and serenity of a lush tropical island......BUT you are without basic and modern convenience's such as food, shelter, sunscreen (books, cellphones, people, you get the drift) Oh and did I mention how you arrived? Yeah, think of the worst possible scenario. That's right, the plane crashed. (eeeeeek!!) That is what the characters in my next recommended read had to deal with and I can't say I envy them!
Macao Beach Dominican Republic

I've set my "Mommy Porn" off to the side at the moment (shocker I know!!) as I feel compelled to tell you about "On The Island" by Tracey Garvis Graves. For a debut novel, I have to say 'Holy Crap! She Delivered!' TGG shot straight to the top of my 'authors to read again' list!
'On The Island' is as spectacular as it is moving, making it a total MUST read!! It was released last year and is a best selling novel to boot!! Just HOW I missed this gem, I do not know! (Mystery solved, it's only in ebook form, print to be released this July!!) The good news is I have found it, read it, and now I am sharing it with you! (and unlike some of my recent reads, THIS one I can and will recommend to my mother!)

Out of the way Tom Hanks and Wilson, I much prefer Anna and T.J's castaway story!

30 year old Anna is hired to tutor teenaged cancer survivor T.J during the summer. The amazing part, it’s in the Maldives! She can escape from her life to figure out what she wants, all the while being paid to teach in a vacation setting! BONUS!
T.J's family already at their destination, the two end up making the long trip together.
On the last leg of the journey, tragedy strikes, and Anna and T.J find themselves lone survivors of a plane crash, stranded on a desert isle together in the Indian Ocean. (juuuuusssssst sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…)
It soon becomes apparent that no one will rescue them. Faced with dangers like sharks, dehydration, starvation (etc...etc....) they set about to create a life for themselves as best they can. All the while hoping someone will find them.
Ana's life at the time of the crash was stale. Her biological clock ticking, she'd been stuck in a dead-end relationship and is now trapped on an island with a handsome teenaged male companion (Awkward!) Anna struggles with the reality she will most likely grow old on the island and never have children.
T.J. grows and matures before her eyes. He's very sweet, strong and dependable. Since he's a cancer survivor there is always that worry that on the island he has no access to medical help should it return.  He's so young, he's barely had the chance to live and experience things. There is no denying T.J is attracted to Anna, and as the years pass, she finds herself looking at him different too. He's no longer that wide eyed boy that she was first hired to tutor. He's a man and he does his best to make her see that!
The story is cleverly told from both characters point of view. A special bond is formed as they learn to survive in more ways than one!
I have to say the way the author builds and writes the story tremendous. Not being able to put it down, I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know how long will they be stranded? If they are rescued, what will life be like when they get home? Will they become lovers? Will they eat their pet chicken?

While I have this book loaded on my Kobo, I plan on going out and purchasing a copy to sit on my shelf. It belongs alongside the likes of 'The Time Travelers Wife' and 'Eat Pray Love'. That is how wonderful a read 'On The Island' is!! Next up for Tracey Garvis Graves is a book called Covet, due out this Fall! I can't wait to read it!

Your homework assignment is simple!

Step One: Grab a copy of 'On The Island" to read!   

Step: Two: Proceed to call your travel agent. Tell them I sent you! ;)

 **Pictures from my various trips to Punta Cana, D.R.**

Friday, 22 June 2012

A deal on a read, I haven't read yet? Wait, WHAT?

Yesterday marked the first day of summer (and the end of youth as my husband knows it, he turned 30!) and I have so much in the works for the coming months.

Naturally, I am up to my eyeballs in books, reviews, and scouting my next reads for my blog... all mixed in with the usual goings-on in this house! (The usual, laundry, dishes, teaching a toddler her colors and how to use the potty!) Not complaining though. Life is good and I am having a blast!

I wanted to share with you some news about Kathryn Harvey's "Butterfly" Trilogy! It's been re-released!

Those of you who (like me) can't get enough Fifty Shades, or who are desperately waiting for the next novel in the Crossfire series, you need to check this trilogy out!
I have read an excerpt, and am waiting like a giddy school girl for this book to arrive on my doorstep! It promises to be a very naughty read.

The concept:

Butterfly is a private club that only the most beautiful and powerful woman can join. When they do, they get to act out their secret sexual fantasies. The novel follows a few of the woman who are members, through their erotically charged journey. The one woman who is the biggest mystery of them all is the one who runs the club.....


The reason I am telling you about this book before I have read and reviewed it for you is simple. I have been given this knowledge to share with you, my trusty readers! Currently there is an EBOOK sizzling special on right now! Click on the following links for a full description and to download a copy to your Kindle or Nook for an AMAZING price! Remember, this is Ebook only and time sensitive! You won't believe the discount! Go, hurry, check it out!!

Who's in? I can't stress this enough! LOL Get your copy now for a great price, grab some wine and enjoy the read!!Let's discuss and compare notes when I'm finished Butterfly and my blog! I may just have a give away in the works for that particular blog as well..... keep checking back! ;)

Happy Reading!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Giving It Up by Amber Lin

One Word: WOW!

Three Words: What a story!

Now More Words:  (Go get a snack, we could be awhile!)

I keep reading and blogging about “Mommy Porn” books to the point I’m tempted to rename my blog "Hawt Damn!” ~ perhaps add some Barry White music to the page for effect. 

If there is one thing that is becoming more and more apparent to me (and everyone else paying attention) it’s that Erotica is in! Fifty Shades has left woman panting, drooling and begging for more. A lot of ladies are wondering where to turn for their next naughty novel. Well quit scratching your heads, tell your friends, turn HERE to my blog. I’m almost too eager ('lil ol' me?) to do this research for you and I promise there are more books and blogs to come! (Making my list, checkin' it twice gonna find out who's naughty, annnnnnnd naughtier!)

Next up on my ‘Hawt Damn’ list, right on the heels of my last "Mommy Porn" recommendation (see previous blog) comes a novel due to be released on June 19th!

That novel is a debut novel by Amber Lin, an up and coming author I insist you check out! It's a darker, more heartbreaking tale.

Here's the gist:

 Allie is a broken young woman who’s had a rough life. She has a sexy secret (Without beating around the bush- she’s a once a month slut) who's latest one night stand is not like the others.Usually in it for the 'wham bam- thank ya ma'am', the connection she has with this new man throws her. Colin makes her feel things she doesn't want to feel. He is her White Knight (or is he...?) Sexy secrets aside, she struggles to support her young daughter with the help of her best friend Shelly. Being in a relationship, trusting a man isn't what she wants to do. She tries to shake it off and move on without him. When her rapist shows back up in her life, her world is turned upside down. She's backed into a corner, and needs to figure out her 'shit' out and fast! (pardon my language)
Maybe taking a leap of faith with Colin isn't such a bad idea after all....

The book is told from Allie’s perspective. Amber’s writing is fluid and it captures the many emotions (desperation, shame, guilt, anxiety) of Allie’s character amazingly well. Allie is gritty, determined and lost. Her love as a mother adds a softer side to the plot. All she wants is to keep her child safe and loved.While I didn't agree with everything she does, or how she goes about things, I was cheering her on.
 I find Colin from start to finish remains a bit of a mystery. He seems to have a good heart and good intentions, but sometimes his behavior leaves you questioning his motives. Is he honorable? Is he her savior? Or is he like all the rest, and up to no good? (You have to read to find out)
Shelly's character both amused and saddened me. A prostitute who turns tricks to make ends meet for both her and her friend. Her strength, loyalty and love for Allie and child knows no bounds. This isn't your flowery, happy-go-lucky fairytale, not at all.
The sex is raw. The story is heart wrenching. The characters captivating.
I encourage you to watch the book trailer, and visit Amber’s website for more information or get your copy here!

This will be a book I read again!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bared to You ~ Sylvia Day

“First Fifty Shades, now this? What kind of kinky-assed genre have I got myself into?” ~ My first thought while sitting down to read "Bared to You"

Calling all lovers (readers) of Fifty Shades and 'Mommy Porn' books alike!
Clear your schedules, grab some wine, a little chocolate, turn off your phone, test your batteries (oh you know what they're for!) put your husbands, lovers, pool boys on high alert... 
There is a new book in town and it's guaranteed take the edge off when you start craving more Christian Grey!!!

Intrigued are you?

Keep reading (while those batteries charge) and I will tell you more.....

This morning I woke up with plans to purge and clean the house. I managed to get my oldest off to school with minimal resistance while dealing with a toddler and her teething tantrums. It wasn’t the greatest start to the day and wore me out a bit. (I am already not a morning person)
 I decided to make myself some green tea and surf the net while my little one played before I got started on the day’s chores.
In my twitter feed, I saw a tweet that was promoting a Sylvia Day novel. Comparable to Fifty Shades it said, my interest was certainly piqued.
I immediately downloaded the book with the intent to read it this afternoon after my chores were complete.
My daughter’s tantrums and fussy mood continued throughout the morning and she crashed early for a much needed nap. At that point I said ‘To hell with chores’ and picked up my Kobo.

(I know what you are thinking...skip the boring back story and get to the goods....)

“Bared to You” (<---- Remember this title!)  the first in the Crossfire series, is about Eva Tramell, a young woman who moves to New York to start a new job accompanied by her 'BFF' Cary Taylor. Fast forward to a ‘meet cute’ with a handsome stranger that sends Eva reeling. Next thing you know, she is trying to avoid the overly sexual, intense and outrageously bold Gideon Cross. Not an easy task when it is discovered they work in the same building and he's just as attracted to her, as she is to him. Needless to say, things become interesting (You'll want your Wine, Chocolate, Batteries, B.O.B) when Gideon refuses to take no for an answer.

What I love about this novel are the characters. Eva is strong, witty, experienced and far from perfect. Her jealousy issues, temper and demons come out to play which makes for a fascinating heroine!
Gideon in my opinion is more likable that Christian Grey. He is stronger, more mature and far sexier. He most certainly has his own set of demons and flaws that he battles to overcome. I find Gideon less annoying than Christian (who IMO was a bit of a whiny baby) as while he does have a jealous streak, he handles himself better.
The supporting characters and their stories are just as interesting, which adds more 'oomph' to the novel.
Cary is the fun loving bi-sexual male sidekick who adds a great mix to the storyline with his over protective brother persona! He has his own side story and relationships that develop over the course of the book.
 Eva's Mom and Step-dad are both over-protective and add an extra layer to the tale. I found myself getting annoyed on Eva's behalf when reading their antics.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding Gideon's family (parents, brother sister) and it leaves you wanting more. (I can't give too much away... that is why you need to take my word for it and read the book!)
Both Eva and Gideon have dark and complicated pasts which begs the question, will their relationship work?
 In "Bared to You" we learn a lot about Eva’s demons, but by the end we still don’t have the full story on Gideon, just tidbits and assumptions. I guess we will have to wait for the release of **Reflected In You** later this year!! Yes, we have to wait until October for more!! (I DEMAND a faster release date!! An advanced copy?? Oh wouldn't that be amazing! Dare to Dream!)

 How does it compare to Fifty Shades? The formula for a good 'fantasy sex' book are there: A filthy rich hero, dark secrets, kinky sex, fast moving relationships, ex lovers, possible bad guy and even talk of Doms and Subs. Please don't think that you will be reading 'the same' book with all those similarities. I can assure you it's the same formula, but a much different erotically captivating story!
 If you are a diehard Fifty Shades, don't get your nose out of joint and consider this novel competition and refuse to read it. It's the newest series in a genre that is exploding and woman are demanding more. E.L James has paved the way!

Sylvia Day is Best Selling author, and you really do need to pick up a copy and see why!!
Your husbands, lovers, and pool boys (Whoever tickles your fancy) will thank you for it! ;)

Now that I have done my part to share this book with all of you, I am going to do what I have been wanting to do since I finished the book.......


***Edited for Title Change!! Book Two of the Crossfire Series is now called 'Reflected In You' (Formally Deeper Into You)


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sh*t I Tell You To Read!

Did you watch the hilarious TV show  'Bleep My Dad Says' staring the one, the only William Shatner? I hope you did, because it was another fantastic show that was cut from our lives far too soon. Whether you miss it, or 'missed' it... Never Fear! Just buy the books!

Justin Halpern hit the proverbial gold mine one day when he took to Twitter with quotes from his extremely blunt, rude, arrogant albeit 'wise' father. His dad's 'cut the crap-get to the point-don't be a dumb-ass' attitude is beyond entertaining.The tweets became so popular it turned into a TV show and two books 'Sh*t My Dad Says' followed by 'I Suck At Girls'.

Let’s face it, at some point or another, we have all read something in a book that is so hysterical we feel the need to go back and re-read it to someone, anyone who will listen. If you deny ever doing this, you’re a liar. (Shame on you!)
‘Sh*t My Dad Says’ and ‘I Suck At Girls’ are two books that should come with a guarantee that you WILL harass some poor unsuspecting friend or relative with quotes.

Case and point:

 My husband was watching TV one evening after a long day at work. I was curled up on the couch with my Kobo, hysterically laughing and becoming a general pain in the ass for those who wanted to hear the TV.

I kid you not, 'I Suck At Girls' had me laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face. His story about his 'luck' (or lack there of) with the ladies, was priceless. I kept jumping up ‘John, JOHN, you have to hear this!!’trying to force him to listen to me and ignore his show.
He (of course) ignored me and waved me off (spoil sport) than turned the volume up on the television. (Don't worry sir, I shall remember this when you are seeking out my 'attentions' later

 My oldest daughter was jumping up and down 'Read it to me, Read it to me!' She was very curious about why I was laughing. Given the nature of the subject matter, I told her unfortunately it was ‘adult only’ but if I came across something she could hear, than I would let her know. (sorry kiddo, maybe when you're older)
Eventually, I was FINALLY able to read one hilarious situation from the book, just to have John just blink and ask  'What the hell are you reading?' before going back to his show.

All that aside, I had ‘I Suck At Girls’ read in matter of hours. The next day, I downloaded ‘Sh*t My Dad Says’, because I just needed to read more. (Yes, I read them in reverse, so what!?)

Again, I couldn’t stop laughing while I quickly finished the book every minute I had. The 'words of wisdom' and life stories Justin Halpern presents are wildly entertaining. There's a story from his life in 'I Suck At Girls' about a picture he drew for a girl as a child, that still has me laughing.

My husband said to me a few days after I completed reading them:

"Are you finished reading your porn?"

 My jaw dropped!

"What porn!!?? I finished Fifty Shades a while ago"

“You know, that porn you read to me the other night. Remember? You couldn't stop laughing about it on the couch”

Yes Justin Halpern, if you ever read this (and I know you wont) my husband thought your book ‘I Suck At Girls’ was porn!! Title suggestion for next book: 'Fifty Shades of Halpern'

My husbands birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Since he isn't a big reader, I'm tempted to at least give him the audio book copy so he can listen on his morning commute. I WILL get him to hear Mr. Halpern's words of wisdom even if I have to tie him to the chair and read every page out loud.

That said, you don't need to be an avid reader to enjoy these books. You just need a great sense of humor!

My recommendation? Read any @#$%^ Justin Halpern writes!

"Listen, I don't want to stifle your creativity, but thing you built there, it looks like a pile of shit" ~ Mr. Halpern on the topic of Legos - 'Sh*t My Dad Says'.