Breaking the rules hoyden style


The Harlow Hoyden: A Regency Romance♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis

Emma is known as the Harlow hoyden because she flaunt society’s expectations of the core for young ladies. She prides herself in engaging in adventures that would not be becoming of a young lady.She enlists the help of Alex, Duke of Trent, to woo the affection of her engaged sister Lavinia.

What good is a libertine if he won’t toy with your sister’s affections and then ruthlessly drop her?”

Alex is a bored Duke that humors Emma because she intrigues him. On one hand, he is a very proper person that tries to follow the rules of polite society. But on the other hand, there is something about Emma that keeps him coming to her rescue. He tries to justify his behavior by thinking that she needs someone to keep her out of trouble.

Opinion

When I read the synopsis, I thought that this would be like an Amanda Quick novel. When I finished the first chapter, the opening scenes emphasized my first impression. As I continued reading, the similarities between Emma and Amanda Quick’s character were there but not as profound.

I have mixed feelings towards Emma. She had spunk and energy that I like. However, her irrational behavior meant that she had a less than credible reputation. She would blow things out of proportion to such an extent that she came across as being high strung. There were many times that she would act before she knew the full story. In the situations where she had all the facts, she did not elaborate, filling people in with the information that would be useful for them to make a decision. Therefore, when there was a verified threat, no one believed her.

I wish I could have shaken her.

The only reason why Trent went along with her harebrained schemes is to be able to save her when things inevitably went wrong. It could all be summed up when he said, “I have a vested interest in keeping that beautiful body of yours safe”. Mmm hmmm. He did it all for the nookie.

At least by the end, she acknowledged to some extent her limitations because of society’s expectation of women.

Overall, while Emma was not one of my favorite characters of all time, her antics did make for an entertaining story. She found true love and her happy-ever-after ending. The Harlow Hoyden: A Regency Romance is a good read if you like Victorian and Regency style romances. Just be prepared for Emma’s antics to drive you a little batty.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Montagues- my favorite restaurant in Greenwood SC

I have come to realize that Montague’s is my favorite restaurant in Greenwood. As much as I would like to say, I like all my local restaurants equally, when it comes to fine dining, my go to place is Montague’s.

While all of the waitstaff and crew do a fantastic job, I think that TJ’s efforts over the past few years have done a lot to change my perception of the restaurant. I used to think that Montague’s was a stuffy place with an air of pretentiousness . cave_snooty.gif

In retrospect, I was rating the restaurant, not based on my own experience, but on what I knew of type of people that frequented the restaurant. I am glad that I saw the error in my judgment. My taste buds are delighted like this. tumblr_m1rkzpHj1n1r6aoq4o1_500.gif

There is a seasonal menu as well as some restaurant favorites. There is also a weekly menu feature that the chef creates based on what ingredients are available. He uses a lot of produce from local famers. I think that is one of the reasons why the flavors are so rich and complex. While I could probably do a post a week about the different dishes I have ordered, this post highlights some of my favorite dishes over the past 6 months.

You will be able to tell from my food selections that I like trying new things. If you have not been to Montague’s, I think you owe your tastes buds the experience. Prices are comparable to chain restaurants like O’Charleys and Outback but the food is way better.
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When I go to Montague’s, I try to get there by 5:30- 5:45pm so that I can get at least one or two drinks at Happy Hour prices. Happy Hour is from 2- 6pm. House liquor drinks and cocktails are half off and there are specials for beer and wine as well. I usually do a screwdriver, pineapple+vodka, cranberry+vodka, or skittle-tini. Nothing fancy, but something to begin the evening. If it is Wednesday (Ladies’ night), then I will split a bottle of wine with a friend. Select bottles are half off all night. Rufino Pinot Grigio (pictured below) is one of my favorites because it is light, fruity and goes well with fish and chicken.

While I am sipping on my drink, I mull over the weekly menu features. So many options. If only my stomach was bigger.  tumblr_m9obwoK6VF1rcfputo1_500.gif

Hands down my favorite dish EVER at Montague’s was the BBQ salmon (BBQ sauce was more like a tomato gravy) over mashed potatoes. This is comfort food at its best. The salmon was perfectly cooked so that the meat was tender and moist. The tomato gravy was a little sweet with a hint of onion flavor. The handmade mashed potatoes were firm enough to be the proper conveyance for all the gravy. Mmm mmmm mmm. Just looking at the picture makes me reminiscent for that tomato gravy.

If you ever see the Scallop mac and cheese on the menu, you should order it. Chunks of scallops and creamy cheesy goodness. What else to you need?

If you like fried green beans (yes that is an actual dish), then you will love fried broccoli. It is the same concept. The broccoli is tossed with flour seasoned with salt and pepper and then fried (I’m guessing that is how it is done). The broccoli still has some firmness and crunch. Best way to get my daily serving of veggies.

I ordered the potato fritters on night because I was curious to taste the sweet relish. This was not the standard relish you might get for your hot dog. This was classy. It tasted freshly made with sweet peppers. The light vinegar helped to balance the fried potatoes. If you like vinegar with your fries, you would have definitely liked this. If you never tried vinegar with your fries, you are missing out.

The stuffed pork chop with green beans and mashed potatoes was good. This is a tasty dish but I do not have that much to say because I am still dreaming about the salmon with tomato gravy.

Bacon wrapped monkfish with fingerling potatoes was also quite tasty. But then again, bacon wrapped anything is good. This was my first time having monkfish. I like the texture, as it is firm white meat. The flavor is mild and paired well with the bacon. Although, I was too stuffed to eat all my fingerling potatoes, they were delicious too.

Last but not least, spinach artichoke dip is my go-to appetizer when I do not want to try anything new. A bowl of hot, creamy spinach artichoke dip is full of chunks of artichoke hearts. I love to eat marinated artichoke hearts. Having them swimming in cheese and spinach only makes it better. The tortilla chips are fried to order and lightly salted. Can you tell I am a fan? Team spinach artichoke dip.

Camping at KOA campgrounds

KOA campgrounds – Anderson/Lake Hartwell

Through a series of unfortunate events and a frantic evening before Memorial day weekend where we had a fully packed car and were not sure if we would have a camping site, KOA came to our rescue. They were the only campground within a 3-hour radius with available camp sites. I have driven by the road that goes to KOA Anderson numerous times and did not know there was a campground there. It is about 5 minutes from Interstate 85, but we could not hear the road traffic. It is also about 5-10 minutes from grocery stores and Walmart. That was important when we needed to make a run to the store for additional supplies.

Before everything drastically changed, our plans included a lakefront lot, where we would to take the boat out on the lake sometime during our stay. We also planned to go fishing.

The KOA campground was close to the lake (driving distance not walking distance) but there were no lake front lots. Other than that, the KOA campground had everything we needed. They have sites for tents ranging from no electrical hook up to sites with electrical and water hook up. I am not in to the total rugged experience, so I need electricity and water.

Campsite Amenities included

Internet – the internet speed is not fast enough to do any major web surfing or movie streaming. I had not planned on using the internet anyway, so it was not an issue.

Indoor Showers and Bathrooms – very clean. I still wore my sandals in the shower because that is what you do in a campground bathroom. The bathrooms were centrally located so it was not a far walk from anywhere in the campground.

Pool – looked nice but there were a lot of kids playing in the pool. Opted to relax by the campfire at our lot and read instead.

Game room – again I did not use because of all the kids.

Basketball – again I did not use because of all the kids.

Playground – again I did not use because of all the kids.

Miniature golf – again I did not use because of all the kids.

It is not that I am against kids, but my idea of relaxing does not include being around them. Thankfully, since there were so many kid-friendly activities, they did not terrorize our campsite.

One little boy did approach me and ask me to be his girlfriend. So brazen! To which I replied, “No for 2 reasons. 1- I’m three times your age and 2- I’m married.” He shrugged his shoulders, laughed, and scampered off. I looked for his parents but did not see them. After that, I was determined to have no more interaction with kids during the weekend.

Overall, I had a fantastic time. We were there 3 days and I felt like that was not long enough. While I did read many books, I did not get to go to Lake Hartwell to put my kayak in the water or go fishing. Because of the reasons we had for choosing KOA, we are grateful that they had available sites. It saved our weekend. We will definitely stay at another KOA campground in the future.

Allegiant air – love or hate your discount airline

Discount airlines: we love to hate them

We love their low prices, but there are little things that add up and make me ask myself “is it worth it?”

With Allegiant Air there are some PROS

  • fly out of my preferred airport
  • nonstop flight
  • cheap flight tickets are usually between hundred and $150-$200
  • discounts if I pay with a debit card

Now for the CONS 

  • I have to pay for carry-on. If I prepay it is $10 per flight leg. At the airport it is $50 per flight leg. To save money, Nana and I paid for one checked bag instead.
  • Wheelchair service for handicap passengers is extremely poor. If you need wheelchair assistance, do not travel alone you will have lengthy wait times to board, get off the plane, and most importantly getting to the gate. This is because a short staffing. The person at the check-in counter is also probably the person loading the baggage on the plane and pushing the wheelchairs.
  • On plane beverages cost two dollars – juice, water, soda. The plus is that you get the whole can.
  • I have to pay for a seat assignment. If I was traveling solo this would not be a problem. Since my Nana was traveling with me, we had to pay for seats I did not want us to be split up on the plane. She is 91 years old. While she has a great deal of mobility, she still needs some assistance while traveling because she is legally blind.

I examine all the pros and cons and add up all the fees to compare with the other airlines Delta, United, US Air to see if the hassle is really worth it. Lately I’ve been putting up with the aggravation in exchange for the low ticket price. But this does not mean that I have to like it.

And if someone from Allegiant Air management is reading this, you have a ridiculous commercial. It is really annoying.

 

Slow Burn: read it for the hunky assassin


Slow Burn (Assassins Book 1) ♥ ♥

Synopsis

Leigh has a self-destructive lifestyle in which she is a promiscuous cocaine addict. This is her way of dealing with the fact that her father is a workaholic and does not pay attention to her.

Griffin is a former assassin who wants to protectively as pay brought to her deceased father. The people who killed Lee’s father are after her and Griffin promises to keep her safe.

Both Leigh and Griffin have been injected with an experimental top-secret serum that makes them almost invincible. The story focuses on their efforts to shut down the evil corruption so that they do not have to keep running for their lives.

Opinion

This would have been a one heart story if it was not for Griffin. Leigh was a total jerk of a person. I get that she had daddy issues. The inability to stop making bad decisions was frustrating. Was she trying to get herself killed or what? Assassins are after her to kill her and she is looking for lines of coke to blow. Ugh.

I finish the book, skimming over parts of it because I wanted to know how they took down the villainous company. I did have a soft spot for Griffin. He was so damaged emotionally from the abuse he suffered while in prison. It is rare that a book delves into the type of abuse that Griffin suffered. That is quite possibly one of the few good things that I have to say about this book.

Leigh was a self-absorbed, selfish, self-seeking person that did not appreciate someone like Griffin, even in his damaged state. She was petulant and immature for the majority of the book. If Griffin wasn’t as good as he was as a bodyguard, she would have been caught long before she was.

By the end of the book, Griffin was the only person I cared about. If his happiness meant being with Leigh, I was okay with that because I wanted him to be happy. However, Leigh was the type of character that I am not sure that she is dependable enough to take care of Griffin in the way that he needs. Even with the current ending, I am not sure it would be a happy ever after.

Overall, I am not sure how to word my recommendation for this book. On one hand, I think it is worth reading for Griffin’s story. On the other hand, Leigh was such an unlikable person. There you have it. If after reading this review you decide to read the book, you at least have been prepared for the aspects of Leigh’s personality that were less than stellar.

There was drug abuse, explicit language, and violence.

 

Revenge is best served from a hottie billionaire


The Tycoon’s Revenge: Baby for the Billionaire ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis

Derek and Jasmine have history. They were once so in love as teenagers that they were going to run off together. They did not and years later they meet under very different circumstances. Both are very jaded individuals who feel as if the other person betrayed them. While the attraction between them is still is very palpable, both are trying very hard to safeguard their hearts. Once all the secrets are revealed, both of them have to make the decision about their future.

Opinion

This is my type of story. Derek is a billionaire who does not forget where he came from and his humble beginnings. Jasmine grew up in a less than loving environment, but she does not allow that to taint her outlook on life.

Not much to say about this but that it is the typical alpha-billionaire-male-reunites-with-his-first-love story, but it works. I liked everything about the story. I especially like the interaction between the two of them. I like how they handled seeing each other once again. Even though Derek was intent on exacting revenge for the way that he thought Jasmine mistreated him, he was sensible and enough to examine the facts and make a decision that was best for the both of them.

The ending was very sweet. Not sappy, but tender.

Overall, The Tycoon’s Revenge is the type of story that I like to see from Melody Anne. She wrote one book (Surrender (Volume 1)- a FSOG knockoff) that almost put me off of her books altogether , and then I read this one. I am a fan once again.

 

Surprise billionaire in BBW romance


Make You Mine (A BBW Romance) (Fifty Shades of Romance (Curves)) – ♥♥♥

Synopsis:
Daryl works for a dating agency and it is her job to sign rich, single guys for mixers to meet single ladies. Tevin has an unassuming look about him but there are clues that he has money. Since he is good looking and rich, Daryl wants to sign him up with the agency. He agrees if she will agree to date him. That is not what she had in mind, but she does want to keep her job.

Opinion:
Daryl is a sweet girl that is in a catch-22 situation. She really likes Tevin and the more she gets to know him, the greater her feelings for him. But at the same time, she is thinking about her job. She needs him to sign up so that she can keep her job. Tevin outmaneuvered her into dating him. That was okay with me since he was a cutie.

If only all uber-rich guys could be as nice as him.

This is a cute novella. I like the fact that Daryl is a BBW who is not whiny about the fact that she is curvy. The love scenes are tame, not graphic. I previously read several books that were not so great, so I was not anticipating that I would like the book that much. Plus the title said “Fifty Shades of Romance” so I lower my expectations even more.

You ask “Why did I read it?”

I am addicted to reading, I guess. I wanted to occupy some time with mindless entertainment. Some people watch reality TV.
I read trashy romance novels. But I digress…

Since I had rock bottom expectations, I was delightfully surprised with this book. It was not trashy at all. The fact that I was expecting so little made the ending much sweeter. You know from the synopsis that the leading man is rich, but there is a surprise at the end that makes you want to say “Awwwww” and read the book all over again. I will not say anymore because I want you to buy Make You Mine (A BBW Romance) (Fifty Shades of Romance (Curves)) and read it yourself.

Overall, this short story is a great purchase when you have some free time.