Photo Blogging #Challenge June 2015 theme: Anything Goes #photoblog

june 2015

June’s theme for the photo blogging challenge hosted by http://hoohaablog.com was anything goes.

Picture 1

My fave cafe/restaurant Caffe 312 has Pistachio macaroons. This is quite possibly my favorite dessert.IMG_8729

Photo 2

I went to a wine tasting and I thought it started at 6 but it started at 6:30. While I waited for everything to get started, I took pictures. I like the way this turned out.

IMG_8787

Photo 3

We went hiking at Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina. The hike was about 3 miles round trip. The day was perfect weather for hiking. The trail was rocky but not too steep. Our group had 5 children (all under 10 years old) and they were able to do the hike for the most part without getting too tired.

IMG_8828

Photo 4

The local community theater performed Shrek the Musical. It was hilarious. I enjoyed myself immensely. The guy that played Donkey had the facial expressions down to such extent, I thought he was as good as the cartoon! The whole cast was great. It amazes me that there is so much talent in a town as small as ours.IMG_8952

Photo 5

The sunflowers that hubby planted have bloomed. They did not bloom as quickly as anticipated because there has not been that much rain.

IMG_8965

 

Visit Lil Hoo Haa blog  to check the other submissions to this month’s photo challenge. And go there tomorrow for July’s theme if you are thinking about doing next month’s challenge.

 

The Commander finds love


The Commander (Red, Hot, & Blue)

4heart

Synopsis

Now that all the SpecOps team members have their happy endings (this is the The Red, Hot & Blue series), Hank, the commander, is the focus of the story. Everyone looks up to and respects Hank. He has been a constant in their military career, like a father figure to most of them. Since he is larger than life for them, he cannot talk frankly to them about his feelings or what he wants out of life.

Lois is the mother to members of Hank’s SpecOps team. Just because she has adult children old enough to get married, does not mean she is some dowdy, old lady content to sit at home in her rocking chair waiting for the grandchildren to come. She is spunky, spirited, and energetic. She loves her sons, their girlfriends, and embraces everyone she meets with open arms.

Since Hank does not socialize with his direct reports, the image he had in his head about the way Lois (called Mama by his men) looked and how she actually looked was totally different. Before this book they knew of each other but had not met in person. When they finally meet, Hank was not prepared for the fact that she was hotter than his matronly mental image.

Opinion

I have mentioned in previous reviews that I like it when the characters are mature. I cannot remember reading a romance where the characters were in this age bracket; however it totally worked for the story.

Lois is a hardworking woman who was unfortunate the first time around when it came to love. At least she has her sons that will do anything for her. She spoils them but not too much. I think I liked her so much because she sounds like my ideal book mom.

Hank is a rugged, mature man who touches my heart too. I think he was realistic enough to admit that his failed relationship was partially his fault. Given his position, he did not really have anyone he could talk to about personal matters.

It feels funny calling the characters by their names since up until this point, they were Mama and Commander. I was as happy that Lois and Hank found each other as I would be about my parents (or my friend’s parents) finding romance. I skimmed over the love scenes though. Who wants to read about their parents making out? Ughhh. I rather not think about that. Oh the visuals.

Overall, I liked The Commander (Red, Hot, & Blue) because it was different from what I am used to reading in the sense that the characters were more mature age wise. Bravo to Cat Johnson for this storyline.  Like the other books in this series, there is some graphic language and love scene detail.

Should you buy? It is worth the prices. While this story is full length, read the other stories in this series to get the full effect of who Lois and Hank are. Out of all the books, this is definitely the sweetest of all the story lines.

Book Details
ebook, 81 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Samhain Publishing

Fierce #YAromance novel not quite

Fierce (New Adult Romance) – #1 Fierce Series

2heart

Synopsis

Autumn is a self-proclaimed nerdy good girl in her first year at college.

Hunter is also a college student but he is a bad boy. As a testament to his badness, he is in an illegal frat club (more like a fight club).

The two meet and are drawn to each other. They have some classes together. They hang out more and more with each other as their relationship develops.

Opinion

This book was not my cup of tea for many reasons.

ONE: I like characters that are mature. Autumn was not. I rolled my eyes at the overused “Oh my God” and the many variations of the phrase. Since the story was written in first person from Autumn’s POV, I got even more annoyed with her character because she seemed to lack common sense.

Example 1: drug deal scene. She was shouting at Hunter WHILE he is trying to do a covert drug deal. I am in no way condoning that type of illegal activity. I do know that drawing attention to people who are trying to hide their nefarious dealings usually ends up with a person getting shot.

Example 2: Autumn’s relationship with her friend Evie. Her friend Evie is a lesbian who has a crush on her. Instead of telling the girl she does not feel the same way, she refuses to address it. It was almost like she was leading the girl on. Evie had to pointedly ask her what the status was. If Autumn was as good of a friend as she proclaimed, it should not have come to that.

TWO: How is Hunter still in college? He does not go to class most of the time. And when he is in class, he is not paying attention. Plus, I did not get the impression Hunter was the most adept fighter. The reason for his joining the fight club did not make much sense either. As with fighting in book or movies, my first thought is “How is it that the person does not have brain damage yet?” I think Hunter did have brain damage but does not realize it. He got hit in the head a lot.

THREE: By the end of the book, the author tried to bring all the elements of the story together, but it seem forced to me. After all Autumn had been through, she was still acting like a juvenile and it annoyed me. Meanwhile, Hunter magically appears to save the day at the end. How he extricated himself from his own precarious situation and still had time and the mental capacity to be a hero while defending his girlfriend is beyond me.

I read other reviews of this book and wondered if we were reading the same story. The reviewers were talking about how great Hunter and Autumn were. I was scratching my head trying determine if I was being too hard on the characters. In the end I decided that even though I know I sound like a grumpy old lady, I thought it was all ridiculous. I was reminded why I do not read young adult romance novels.

 

Should you buy? I do not recommend it. However if you like teen hero/heroine romance, you might enjoy it.

 

Seven Deadly Sins of Reading

Tag: Seven Deadly Sins of Reading

I was tagged by Romance4thebeach to participate, and it has taken me a while to get my act together to respond.

Defined as: An intense and selfish desire for something.

What is your most expensive book?

I am a cheap person when it comes to buying book. I usually by books at thrift stores and the clearance rack at bookstores or in compilations on Amazon. My most expensive book that I can remember is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It was a book club choice and had a long waiting list at the library. I have not started it yet but I think I will read it next weekend.

Defined as: Extreme anger.

What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Eve Langlais. I need her to write faster or longer books. Or give me little short cyborg stories to tide me over until she gets the next book finished. From the first book, I fell in love with her cyborg series. But the book is over too soon! I need more. I don’t want to leave the world she created, but the book is finished and I have to wait months before I get the next book.

Defined as: Intense over-indulgence.

What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

Dangerous, Ravished, Rendezvous and pretty much any of those one word title books by Amanda Quick that she wrote the 90s. Her heroines are pretty much the same independent women with ingenious ideas that may not always go according to plan. Thank goodness there is a strong, silent, honorable hunk of hero to assist. It was all that I wanted my own romance life to be. And to a certain extent, I think that I display some of the characteristics of Quick’s heroines. And my hubby is very similar to Quick’s heroes.

Defined as: a reluctance to work or make an effort.

What book have you neglected to read due to laziness?

Any books from the Outlander series. I was excited about getting into her books because my friend said they were “awesome!”. I went to Amazon to buy it and saw it was 800 pages. Nope. Nope. Not for me. I like to read a whole book in one sitting. So the most I can read is about 500 pages a day. I am not trying to read a book like it’s a job. I got tired thinking about reading Outlander.

Defined as: satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

What book do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I think that I sometimes drop Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte into a conversation to let people know that I do not JUST read trashy romance novels.

Defined as: a strong sexual desire.

What attributes do you find attractive in male characters?

I love an alpha male. He is intelligent, witty, has a touch of a bad attitude, and comes across as a little cocky, but no one can argue because he has it going on. However, he becomes a softy in the hands of the heroine. He takes care of what is his and is fiercely loyal. While being rich (i.e. billionaire status) does not have to be part of the equation, it does help if money no object.

Defined as: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

So, I have to admit that I am a little greedy. I cannot just choose one book. I would LOVE it if someone would gift me the rest of the Billionaire’s Obsession Series by J.S Scott. I have read Simon, Sam, Max, Travis, Jason, and Tate’s stories. I NEED the rest. Even the ones that have not been published yet. I know the stories are going to great.

I nominate any bloggers that reads this to participate if they so desire. Let me know if you do this challenge because I would like to read your answers. Leave your link in the comments below.

 

Can’t help falling in love #Sullivanseries – #BellaAndre


Can’t Help Falling In Love (The Sullivans Book 3)
3heart

Synopsis

Megan is a widow whose first husband was an adrenaline junkie died in a plane crash. Now mother a 7-year old daughter, she lives in an apartment in San Francisco. When there is a fire, the firefighter who saves her and her daughter is Gabe. While she is attracted to Gabe, she has a rule not to date men whose jobs are dangerous.

Gabe is a firefighter who is used to being the hero. However, he gets tired of people putting him on that pedestal and expecting him to be perfect. That is why he has a rule not to date women that he saves while firefighting. The rule was a result of a failed relationship that he attributed to that fact. Even though he tries hard to avoid a relationship with Megan, it seems that the attraction is too strong.

“There was an earthquake going on inside her from nothing more than Gabe’s hot eyes staring at her from across the room.”

Opinion

Gabe was a hottie firefighter. Love him. When he decided what he wanted, he was a man with a plan.

While in the beginning Megan and Gabe has their reasons for thinking they were not right for each other, it seemed the rest of the characters were conspiring to ensure they got together. Megan’s daughter was the most devious of the bunch in that aspect. It was humorous the way that Gabe and Megan were fighting the attraction.

The growing heat in his eyes was response enough for her to realize that she already gone off course on the whole ‘nothing but friends’ thing

I understand Megan’s reasons for trying to avoid a relationship with Gabe. As the wife of a firefighter, I know the reality of fighting fires is that their lives can be in danger. But after a while, I wanted to tell Megan to get a grip. She was sending so many mixed messages to Gabe. At least she worked out all of her hang ups and let herself be happy.

SIDENOTE: A long time ago (about 3 years), I read a book by Bella Andre and I thought it was trashier than my normal trashy. I cannot remember the story line but I remember thinking it was ridiculous. For a while I would not read any of Bella Andre’s books. I think because I have a soft spot for firefighters, I decided to give her a try again. I enjoyed reading “Can’t help falling in love” and I am looking forward to reading other books in the Sullivan series.

For the record, this book does not qualify as a trashy romance.