Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Unmasking Kelsey

Title: Unmasking Kelsey
Author: Kay Hooper
Publishing Date: 1988, rereleased 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: D
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I was making a long car trip and I needed an audio book for the trip.  This was about the only thing that was available for immediate check out.

I really only listened to this because I was desperate.  I have read Kay Hooper before and I have liked her books, but I had a feeling that this would seem very out dated to me since it was originally published in 1988 and then rereleased in 2012.  Here is the new cover, but the one I have posted below is the original cover.  They send quite different messages don't they?!?!  You can imagine how someone would feel if they picked up the new book cover, only to find its not quite a suspense, but a category romance.

On to the review... Unmasking Kelsey is the 6th book in Hagen series.  This series is about a team of operatives for some special unit that solves crimes that other government agencies can't touch.  The mastermind behind the special unit is Hagen and he is a bit of an unintentional matchmaker.  All his operatives have ended up in love and then leave his team.  One of remaining few is Kelsey.  He is sent to the town of Pinnacle to investigate a manufacturing company called Metatron.  Something shady seems to be going on and his investigation leads him to the stunningly, beautiful Elizabeth.  Elizabeth has been raising her sisters on her own since her parents death and seems to be in over her head.  Kelsey can't resist coming to her rescue.

Mainly, its just that the book is really outdated and is an extremely old school romance cliché.  The beautiful, helpless woman needs rescuing by the emotionally, distant operative.  Of course, once he sets eyes on her, he can't help but be taken in by her beauty and everything he has ever known changes in the blink of an eye.  The book was just very silly to me.  The plot had lots of holes and was overly ridiculous.  At the end, the heroine puts herself in danger on purpose, which sets me on edge.  Also, the narrator of this book did a southern accent because the book takes place in South Carolina, and let me tell you, not good.  For some characters it was like nails on a chalkboard when she did their voices.  Steer clear people, steer clear!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Movie Review: Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Howdy all! I am deciding to switch things up here a bit.  Since, I haven't been reading much these days (I am in a bit of a slump - which does not bode well for my book club book that I need to get read this week) I thought I would do a movie review.  I just got back from taking my children to see the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  This movie is directed by the legendary Tim Burton, who is known for movies such as Edward Scissorhands and The Corpse Bride

The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Jake, who grew up on fantastical stories about odd children told by his grandfather, played by Terence Stamp.  After Jake's grandfather is attacked in the woods outside his home and suffers a heart attack, Jake decides to travel to an island off the coast of the British Isles, where his grandfather's tales originate at Miss Peregrine's home.  Once Jake finds the home a series of events are set in motion to bring about a great adventure that will change Jake's life forever.

First, let me disclose that I am a big fan of Tim Burton.  I really enjoy his odd, quirky sense of style.  I have always enjoyed his costumes and make up and the weird characters.  Miss Peregrine's definitely delivered in all those areas.  As the movie began, the pacing seemed a little slow.  Burton had to set up the storyline and I wished we could have gotten to the Home much quicker than we did.  But I understand that the story had to unfold for the audience. 

Once Jake discovers the home and meets the children, things started to pick up a little more.  I will say that there was definitely a creepiness to the movie that I worried might bother my son.  He is 9 and a little sensitive to monsters and scary things.  I would keep looking over at him to make sure he was doing okay.  He was fine though, and I will say that by the time we get to the big climax of the movie, which is basically a battle of the children vs the bad guys, he was totally getting into it. 

One of the best parts of the movie, was the big epic battle.  Samuel Jackson, plays the bad guy and he was pretty funny.  Burton found a way to interject quite a bit of humor towards the end of the movie and children and adults alike will enjoy the big climactic scene.   I and my children were definitely entertained for a couple of hours.  If you like Tim Burton movies, this will not disappoint.  It's a little slow in the beginning, but the end makes up for it.  I give this a solid B.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Loot Crate: September 2016 Speed

September's Loot Crate shipment arrived today!  This months theme is SPEED!  All things fast are featured in this crate.  It's like Christmas in our house when the Loot Crate is delivered!  Everybody is so excited to see what is in it.

Here is what we got:

1.  Stark Industries racing t-shirt (from Iron Man 2)

2.  Batwing keychain - (heavy metal)

3.  Titan vinyl Battlestar Galactica Cylon Raider, Scar

4.  Flash hood ornament-style figure (magnetic).  Others may have received an Arrow hood ornament.

5.  Gone in 60 Seconds "Eleanor" die-cast car

6.  Loot Year Tire pin

The box turned into a little car.  We received a green one, but it also comes in red and blue.  Interestingly enough DD favorite color is green.  It's like this company knows her preferences!

DD was so excited that she didn't even notice me taking her picture (she hates to have her picture taken).  Ha ha, sneaky of me, I know!!  She is reading the little magazine that comes in the crate.  It gives little facts about the featured products and associated movies/comics/etc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review - Sweet Little Lies

Title: Sweet Little Lies
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publishing Date: 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I checked this one out from the library.

Sweet Little Lies is the first in a new Jill Shalvis series, Heartbreaker Bay.  Just to give you a little bit of background if you are not familiar with Jill Shalvis (shame on you!), she writes awesome contemporary books set in small towns.  She gained well deserved popularity with her Lucky Harbor series, which is where I fell in love with her writing.  So back to Sweet Little Lies... Pru, a captain of a tourist boating operation, has made it her life's mission to right the wrongs her parents caused when they chose to drink and drive.  Her last operation is to make sure that hunky, bartender Finn is happy in life.  She sets out to make sure he finds happiness by falling in love, however, she certainly didn't intend for it to be herself!

What I liked.  I am super excited about all the new characters introduced in this book.  I love the little community set in San Francisco that theses characters have been able to carve out for themselves.  You have the brooding/man whore Jake, who has taken in upon himself to protect Pru.  There are several guys friends with Finn and then several girls friends with Pru.  I smell lots of sequel baiting!! Sweet Little Lies also has plenty of funny scenes where either Pru or Finn ends up in some sort of predicament. 

Why didn't I give this one a higher grade?  Well, I had a little trouble buying into Pru and Finn's romance.  I was much more interested in everything else going on in the book that the romance was secondary to me.  Also, for most of the book Pru withholds some important information about her history from Finn and that was looming over the story.  The reader is on pins and needles waiting for the big bomb to drop.  When it finally does, it is fairly predictable how Finn reacts.  It all seemed very anti-climactic and unnecessary.

Sweet Little Lies was not my favorite by Shalvis, but I am definitely interested in reading more in this series.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Registration is open for RT 2017, Hotlanta!

Steampunk Party 2015, Wizard of Oz
For the last 8 years, I have been attending the RT Book Lovers Convention.  The first one I attended in Orlando, FL and was just a short drive from where I live.  I scrimped and saved so that I could attend.  I had such a wonderful experience that I never wanted to miss it again - and to this date I have actually kept that promise! 

RT 2009: Orlando, FL
RT 2010: Columbus, OH
RT 2011: Los Angeles, CA
RT 2012: Chicago, IL
RT 2013: Kansas City, MO
RT 2014: New Orleans, LA
RT 2015: Dallas, TX
RT 2016: Las Vegas, NV

When I attended the one in Orlando, believe it or not, I did not know a single soul.  But that didn't last very long.  The very first reader event I attended was with the author Karen Rose (awesome lady by-the-way) and I was sitting by myself.  These two very nice women came up and sat next to me and offered to let me hang out with them.  Before I knew it, I was apart of a small group of awesome friends who have lifted me up over the years. 

RT is awesome!  If you love to read and want to hang out with like minded individuals, play games, take home lots of free books and meet your favorite authors, then RT is for you!!  It's a ton of fun.  This year it is going to be in Atlanta, GA May 2 -7, 2017.  They already have a few big name authors in attendance: Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Karin Slaughter, Linda Lael Miller, Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Liliana Hart, Sylvia Day, Shayla Black, Lexi Blake, Colleen Hoover, Lara Adrian, Kristen Ashley, Cora Carmack, Suzanne Enoch, Molly Harper, Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Hoyt, Madeline Hunter, Laura Kaye, Susanna Kearsley, Christina Lauren, Tiffany Reisz, Zane and Rebecca  Zanetti.

My free books from RT last year!!

Usually, in the evening they have fun themed parties where you can dress up in costume.  It's totally optional if you want to go dressed up or not.  Some of the costumes are pretty elaborate.  Our group usually dresses up at one of the events.  But if you aren't into that you won't feel left out.  Many people show up in jeans too.  So wear what ever makes you comfortable.

Steampunk party 2016, Alice and Wonderland

Registration is open.  You have to register before you can book your hotel room, and the rooms go fast.  If you are planning on attending, don't wait to long or you might end up at an overflow hotel or worse, paying a higher room rate fee!  Let me know if you are planning on attending and we can meet in Atlanta!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Club Review: Choosing Charleston

Title: Choosing Charleston
Author: Lynn T. Ocean
Publishing Date: 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses
Book Disclosure: This was Colleen's pick for book club.  Lucky for us it was a free ebook.  Also, as an FYI, I am seriously behind in my reviews.  This girl has some catching up to do!

Carly Stone walks in to her house to find her husband and next door neighbor doing the horizontal mambo.  This leads quickly to a series of events in which Carly decides to move back home with her parents in Charleston to regroup and lick her wounds.  While at home, she discovers that some construction company is building a new shopping plaza right across their family's home improvement store, which is sure to put them out of business.  Not going to take things sitting down, Carly sets out to find a way to halt the construction of that new plaza.

Choosing Charleston was a light easy read.  For the most part I really enjoyed the story and thought it was a cute read.  Carly is a sensible girl and an easy heroine to like.  A series of bad things seemed to happen to her, but it doesn't get her down.  The aspect that I really liked about the story was the sense of community and family that Carly has when she returns to Charleston.  Carly has a very colorful Grandmother living with her parents who brings a lot of fun to the story.  There were a few laugh out loud moments for me in the book.  Also, there are a lot of references and sayings to Southern life, which really emphasized their lifestyle.

The only weakness that I really saw in the book, was her cheating husband.  I don't want to give too much away by going into detail.  However, he really annoyed me.  Not just his personality, but the direction his character went in the story.  I felt like he was portrayed as an evil villain.  The kind of character the would be over in the corner twirling his mustache.  It was really hard to swallow that Carly, as smart and clever as she is, could fall for someone like that and not have any clue.  It just seemed out of character for her.  Other than that one little issue I had, I really liked it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

I'm so ready for this 3 Day Weekend!

FaceTime with my Jakey-Jakes!
If you have been following my blog, you have probably come to the conclusion that I travel a lot for my job.  Right now, I am sitting in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, waiting to board my plane home.  I have been in D.C. for the past couple of days for a work meeting.  This week has been a challenge for my Hubby and the kids and I know they are looking forward to me getting home.

School started for kids about 3 weeks ago.  Annabelle started high school, but she seems to be adjusting really well.  I am really happy about that because I was really worried about the transition from leaving her small school and going to the big high school.  The only thing that has been a challenge is having to get up really early in the morning and catch the bus on days I am not there.  The bus comes at 6:00 am.  On days I am home, DH can drop her off on the way to work.  I have called home around 8:00 pm a couple of times this week and she has already been in bed!

Jake is now in the 3rd grade.  This is a very critical year in elementary curriculum.  They have a standardized test at the end of the year to determine if they get to move on to fourth grade or not.  This means the whole year the teacher is extremely focused on making sure the students can pass the test.  Jake's homework has been challenging to say the least.  Sometimes when I have called home, he is still working on his homework.  His bedtime is 8:30, so for him to spend all evening working on homework is no fun. 

Thank God for FaceTime!!  I love that I can call home and help Jake with his homework.  I can see him and he can even hold up his worksheet so that I can see it.  It makes it seem like I am not so far away, even though I am. 

Unfortunately, my travel schedule gets worse over the next couple of weeks.  After this lovely three-day weekend that I plan to enjoy whole heartedly, I will be headed down to Naples, FL for a meeting and will leave from there to train growers in Ft. Pierce, FL Wednesday through Friday.  I will be home for one day and then I will have to turn around and fly back to Washington D.C. for another meeting.  To say I am suffering from "Mom/Wife guilt" is an understatement. 

I will say that after I get back from my second trip to D.C., I plan on taking some time off to recuperate!!!  Let's hope my flight is not delayed by the storm.