Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mine Til Midnight

Mine Til Midnight by Lisa Kleypas 
book cover of 

Mine Till Midnight 

 (Hathaways, book 1)


Lisa Kleypas#1 in the Hathaways
5 stars

Back Blurb
When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton . Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for  tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan. Wealthy beyond most men's dreams, Cam has tired of society's petty restrictions and longs to return to his "uncivilized" Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship--but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….

My Thoughts:
I've read this book before and loved it.  I don't think, I "Got" the Laura story line the first time I read it.  Isn't it interesting how the second or even third time you read a book, you don't focus so much on the Main plot but can really pay better attention to the subplots even the sub-subplots.   

I like Cam Rohan greatly and Amelia Hathaway seemed much more sympathetic this time.  I think last time, I kinda thought Amelia was sort of a control freak.  And maybe she is, but it really does come out of a place of love.  She feels the overwhelming responsibility to take care of her 3 sisters and her broken brother.  The feeling is compounded when she feels that those in her family most namely said brother and sisters, either refuse or are unable to help her.  Throughout it all she still maintains some of her humor even if it is not always present. 

Cam has been cursed with good luck.  As a roma, He does not espouse the collection of earthly things, and money.  To own land, a home, fine clothes, etc is all a waste and a burden.  So as he tries to spend the money he unwillingly earns by investing in dicey ventures, those ventures keep making him wealthier.  (Much to his chagrin!)  It's a source of amusements to his friends.

Unfortunately for me, the ending felt sort of abrupt.  I think I wasn't ready for it to end.  Ultimately!  I say, Try It, You'll Like It!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gluten Free Eating

My oldest daughter went vegetarian a couple of years ago (on a dare really) but found that when I cooked vegetarian for her, she felt sooo good.  She kept feeling kinda sick after meals, especially eating out.  For the past 2 years, being vegetarian had it's challenges, but the benefits began to go away.  She started feeling sick again after meals, especially at restaurants and school. 

During this time I started seeing a "chiropractor" and I air quote that, not because she isn't a chiropractor but because she is more.  She uses many non-invasive, not twisty/poppy/cracky techniques to help heal you with a complete Holistic approach.  She is wonderful and so committed to helping her patients live a whole, complete, healthy life.  She doesn't help only the structural challenges but the internal, dietetic, mental, spiritual anything you need.  So, when my daughters digestive issues came back, I took her to see Dr. Rachael and we found her to be gluten sensitive. 

That very day, my daughter had chicken for lunch.  Ahh! 

We get home and start reading labels in the pantry.  Baby steps right?!  Looking for wheat, flour, gluten the obvious gluten sources.  Oh, yea!  There was nothing left in there for her to eat.  I know there are some of you out there who are religious about gluten, or other dietary choices.  We are just trying to make whatever choices we can, and learning as we go.  So out with the flour tortilla and in with the corn.  Out with the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in with the Cinnamon Corn Chex.  Out with the wheat pasta, in with the gluten free rice pasta.  In with rice, vegetables, digestive enzymes, gluten flam. 

I find that baking is a challenge and as a cake decorator this really bugs me.  I must find good baking recipes.  It is my new goal.  I tried one recipe and it was pretty good. 

Gluten free living isn't impossible, but it is a challenge.  I also find that everytime I try something new, or de-glutenize an old family favorite I am overcome with a sense of victory!  Yay Me!  Like last night.  Fried Chicken!  Mmm.  The "flour" was a combination of brown rice flour and tapioca starch.  I pan fry, because I don't keep a deep fryer at home.  It fries golden color and tasted really good. 

More to Come!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Lydia Dare Series

Recently, I tried a book by Lydia Dare.  It Happened One Bite, was the title.  I think it was probably free or heavily discounted on Amazon for the Kindle app on my phone.  I still don't actually have a Kindle, but thank God for the App on my Android!!  So, back to Lydia Dare...This book is part of a series call the Gentleman Vampires.  It was about a Vampire who was trapped in a castle "asleep" by a coven of witches.  Then 19 years later the daughter of one of those witches, a witch herself, went with her brother who'd inherited the castle and upon her arrival the Vampire woke up.  They meet, struggle and fall in love, as happens in romance novels.  We meet most of her 4 coven sisters, but Caitron was off marrying some fella she'd just met. 

I did a little research and found that Caitron's book is happening concurrently to Blair's and each of the coven sisters books happen concurrently with another book in the series.  I felt like the coven sisters were the characters that bind the group of books into a series but that is not how the writing duo known as Lydia Dare has them organized. I hate when that happens.  Why can't everyone organize their book series in such a way as to make it easy on me.  In just the way I would do it.  Is that too much to ask?  No! 

I have read the 5 books in the Coven series, (Hear that Lydia Dare? Coven Series) and I liked them all.  Had a small issue with Cait's book, but I forgive you.

If you like historical paranormal-vampire and Lycan (werewolf) then you should totally try them.  I will list them in the order the author recommends.

Wolfishly YoursTall, Dark and WolfishA Certain Wolfish CharmThe Wolf Next DoorThe Taming of the WolfThe Wolf Who Loved Me

Westfield Wolves     

                                       It Happened One BiteIn the Heat of the BiteNever Been Bit

Gentleman Vampires                     


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Candy Obsession

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon.  Last summer as we came and went I kept obsessing over Cherry Sours.  I wanted them all the time but couldn't find them anywhere.  Well, I could find them at Hobby Lobby strangely enough but not at any other of my candy retailers.  Of course, I don't exactly go to fancy candy buying places, but mostly convenience stores etc.  Anyway, I spent the whole summer on a quest.  Must..Find..Cherry Sours!  My addiction seemed to wain as school started and life got busy. 

This summer, I can't seem to get enough of Almond Joy.  I mean, that cool coconutty goodness.  The almonds!  The creamy milk chocolate. So yummy and refreshing!  They even have Almond Joy M&M's!  I don't let myself indulge too often, but golly it's a serious temptation.  Wonder what it will be next summer? 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Call Me Irresistible

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
??? stars

Back Cover:
R.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .
Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.
One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.
But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What's the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all.

My Thoughts:
I AM CONFLICTED!!!  I love, LOVE Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I like First Lady, and Lady be Be Good.  Fancy Pants, not so much it was so heavy.  Yes, there were moments of whimsy and fun in it, but overall it was just kinda sad.  I felt some of that here as well.  Sure, I get why everyone is is kinda mad, but the whole book?  I mean noone throughout the entire book was ever her ally.  At every turn, even when they would leave her alone, she would find out that they were all laughing at her behind her back, even those who were main characters in previous books, who had the same thing happen to them in their own story.  I mean it just got me down. 

So, I'm conflicted.  In my opinion it was heavy.  Yes, there were moments of fun, especially on the golf course, but I was so disappointed in Lady Emma especially and Francesca and Tori and Shelby. 
Did I love it? I don't know.  I mean, I kept feeling sad for Meg and Ted too at times, once we finally get a glimpse into his heart.  But I will say, that there were other books I've read that were light and fun, but once I closed the back cover, I didn't think about it again.  This one, is on my mind.  I can't seem to let it go.  I'm thinking about every part of Ted and Meg's journey.  How, I'd feel if I had $15.00 to my name and had to shop at the resale shop to find out everyone in town knew where I'd gotten my clothes and who had donated them. That all these catty women laughing at me, to my face and behind my back, even the 2-3 who seemed like they were friendly to my cause.  How many times does she have to be knocked down?  To find out that she had no one.  That even the man who is sleeping with her, has been doing the little things all along the way to knock my feet out from under me to these same women.  And she keeps trying to rescue him! 

The scene at the luncheon, where she sees his declaration as something meaningful.  She tries to rescue him again, and then later finds out that it never was a real declaration and that he was never in need of her rescue and that all those women were growing in there dislike of her instead of giving her a chance.  I mean it was so painful to me.  Everyone kept getting so much pleasure from her pain, to the point of trying to cause her pain.  I mean really. Lady Emma, Torie and the others expecting her to prostitute herself to a gross snarky, name dropper for the sake of a town that kept treating her like a whore in church.  Really!? 

But, I keep coming back to the fact that I am emotionally invested!  That above all else is the mark of good writing, isn't it!?

I want to give it a 3 stars because the town was sooo mean, and a 5 stars because it's been a while and I can't get it out of my head.  So, I guess I will have to split the difference and give it a 4. 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Prince of Dreams

Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas

3 stars

Readers of Romance Summer 2012 Challenge "Prince/Princess"

Back Cover:

A wealthy and bitter exile, he most dangerous and desirable man in all of England, he burns to possess a proud, headstrong beauty who is promised to another. But winning Emma Stokehurst's exquisite hand through threats and determination does nothing to fill the empty spaces in Nikola's heart--until passion's magic carries the handsome, tormented prince back to a bygone era of splendor and romantic dreams. For there his destiny awaits him in a distant life. And in one remarkable woman's tender touch--achingly familiar but gloriously new--he must seek the elusive promise of ecstasy . . .and learn, at last, to love.

My Thoughts:
Here is what is soooo interesting, the "back cover" that I posted above is not what I saw when I got the book.  This blurb actually kinda describes the book, while the one I saw was soooo vague.  Irritate me!  Anyway, so I start reading the book expecting the awesomeness that I know is Ms. Kleypas.  The opening chapter looks promising.  I get about 1/3 of the way through the book and find myself waiting for LK to do her magic.  Then about 2/3 of the way through, I'm starting to wonder what is going on.  I mean, I've read several books by this author and have liked if not loved everyone of them.  This one is killing me.  I find myself more curious as to how the author is going to resolve this mess of a relationship that she has written.  I keep reading though, because I am NOT a quitter.

The author used a plot device that I hate.  Does it work with the story?  yeees.  Does it fit the character? yeees.  Do I like it? noooo.  Ok, so that's my pet peeve, but I still don't like it.  I will say, that..ok...Spoiler Alert!!!!!  the plot device I hate is when a hero or heroine cheats.  In this case the hero decides to cheat on his wife with another because he doesn't want to get too close to her.  (Hate That!)  Yes, his need to keep distant is part of his tortured past.  I get it, but I don't have to like . Now, she did do this with some discretion. He gets up and gets dressed and decides to find a willing woman....We don't see him again until he comes home smelling of tobacco, alcohol, and sex.  Eww!

The heroine, to me, was just not much of a sympathetic character.  I mean, I felt like I never really connected with her.  She spent so much time, being mad at someone.  Ugh!  Instead of finding out what kind of demons your husband has and why he is the way he is, she just gets mad.  It's not like there aren't several people who know about him who could give her that insight.  Her step-mother being the main one.  We meet some of the staff, but never do those characters get fleshed out.  It would have been endearing to see the heroine trying to use some russian words (and failing a little here and there) while she was learning from her staff.  I think small things like that would have gone a long way towards making her more sympathetic.  She is supposed to have a soft heart as she rescues animals etc. 

Anyway, the Hero was a jerk who had to "Time Travel" back 170 years in order to decide to love.  The heroine, was so 2 dimensional that I couldn't muster up much care for her even though she'd been cheated on. (and we all know how much I hate that!)

I will not give up on Lisa Kleypas, but will not be looking for the other book in this series.  Nope.