My Year in Books 2014

Thanks to Goodreads for making this easy for me! Unfortunately, Netflix got in the way of me reading more. Plus (and this is a good thing), two years ago, I had surgery, which required an 8 week recovery. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time reading that summer!

I’m going to share my top reads and then I’m going to share my top Netflix shows. Let me know if anything on my list made yours as well!

My top M-M reads for 2014 (no particular order; these all received 5 star ratings from me):

  • A_Hunted_ManDaylight Again (Hell or High Water #3) by S.E. Jakes. If you haven’t read any of this series, you need to. Prophet and Tom rock! (Catch a Ghost is the first book in the series, FYI)
  • A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House #2) by Jaime Reese. Just love Cameron and Hunter.
  • Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) by Abigail Roux. Actually, several books (Armed & Dangerous and Sticks & Stones, for example) in this series received high marks from me. Ty and Zane are one of my absolute favorite couples.

Continue reading “My Year in Books 2014”

Easter Weekend Wrap

Well, the holiday is nearly over, and I finally have time to take a breath – and sit down at the computer! It has been a busy but beautiful weekend!

I’m going to set-up this post like the previous “Wrap” posts. I hope you enjoy catching up on me (and taking a break from the book reviews).

Word to describe the weekend: I’m going with gorgeous because of the sunny, mostly mild days we had. Granted, they started off chilly, but the afternoons were very pleasant. It made for nice traveling weather.

Books: I just finished reading Chloe Neill’s book, Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires #9). I have to say I really enjoyed it – even gave it 5 stars. Now, I can get started on J.R. Ward’s The King. Yay!! I’m so looking forward to that one!

Exercise: It is harder and harder to get to the gym. With Spring finally here, I want to be outside. I did go for a run Friday morning on the Rail Trail. I did about 3 miles in 27:44. My goal is to run a 5K in 27 flat. I’m not a fast runner (never have been), but since my knees won’t let me run half marathons anymore, I’m going to work on my 5K time. I did squeeze in a quick workout at Planet Fitness with my cousin on Saturday. I just love the ab coaster! I know, I’m weird. It works so well that I wish my gym would invest in one.

TV/ Movies: I’m still watching Arrow. Since I don’t get the CW, I watch it on Thursday on my iPad. It is a nice almost-end-of-the-week treat.Burn_Notice_Season1 In this past week’s episode, Felicity had some awesome lines – you go, girl!! My current Netflix obsession is Burn Notice. I just love Michael and Fiona. Sam cracks me up, and Maddie is a force all on her own!! I like the addition of Jesse to the cast. My one wish is that Michael and Fiona would be a couple again. They are so perfect for each other! Oh, and have I mentioned how much I like Michael’s sunglasses?? Doesn’t hurt that he’s always eating yogurt either.

Writing: The writing front is stalled. The zombie story was rocking; now, I just need time to get back to it. I reworked the beginning to up the tension, and I think it ties in better with the ending. One of these days…

I think that about covers it! Back to laundry for me. Then, I will be cracking open The King. Enjoy!

 

Bites from Wild Things

wildthings_2-398x600So I’ve neglected everything “artsy”-related the past couple of weeks. Moving will do that to a person. I’m happy to report that I am once again a homeowner. As a side note, I will have a rant coming in the near future dealing with my rental folks. Oh, have I got a tale to tell…

I don’t want to get sidetracked now. My copy of Chloe Neill’s Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires #9) has been sitting on my nightstand, hoping for me to read it. I started it, and I really like what’ve I read so far. The issue is time and not content.

Ethan and Merit are their typical selves. I love the banter and snark. Plus, the Pack – including Gabriel and a sexy newcomer – are a large part of this story.

My first favorite conversation between Ethan and Merit starts on page 86 and continues onto 87. Check this out:

“I love you,” he murmured, mouth slipping to my cheek, an electric chill running the length of my body.

I closed my eyes for a moment, letting myself linger against him. “I love you, too.”

He kissed me again and released me. “And Sentinel?”

I glanced up at him, fairly drunk from the kiss.

“For the sake of peace between shifters and vampires, do try to avoid staring at Damien Garza.” With that advice and a sly smile, he slipped back into the room, just in time to avoid catching the blush on my cheeks.

I hadn’t stared.

I’d admired. There was a difference.

***

I wanted to share another of my favorite passages thus far. It starts on page 96 (see, I’m not very far along). Merit, Jeff, and the sexy Damien are investigating (well, more like trying to find leads while staying out of trouble).

Let’s begin:

“What about the cat?” I asked. “If she’s gone to Alaska, we shouldn’t leave it here alone.”

Damien disappeared for a moment, reappeared a minute later, the kitten blinking drowsily in the crook of his arm. “I’ll take him.”

Tall, dark, and handsome was hot. Tall, dark, and handsome with nestled kitten? Atomic.

I have to say I absolutely love that last line. Can’t wait to read more in this story.

***

So given that it is quickly approaching my bedtime, I’m going to hop off of here so I can read, read, read. I promise not to watch Burn Notice on Netflix tonight. *wink* Regardless, Monday morning will be here way too quickly for my liking. *sigh*

Labor Day Weekend

Monday night, and I’m getting ready to head back to work bright and early tomorrow morning. I figured I would share what has occupied my time this holiday weekend. Maybe you did some of these same things!

Friday night, I met my friend Dawn at the movies. We saw the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I’ve read the books and was curious about the movie. I had some concerns going into it: I wasn’t sure about some of the actors picked to play the roles. I was totally psyched about Simon, but the rest… Needless to say, I really enjoyed it. The actors pulled it off wonderfully. I think the screenplay did the book justice and kept things moving. Lots of action and great special effects. I definitely recommend seeing it. A solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, Cathy and I headed to Reston, Virginia. We stayed at the Hyatt and had fun shopping at the stores in the Reston Town Center. I confess that Athleta was my favorite. We even checked out some classic Porsches that were on display. That evening we headed to Wolf Trap for the Sound of Music Sing-A-Long. It was a blast but really hot and humid. We left at intermission. I didn’t enjoy feeling like a sardine with little leg room and hard seats.  Continue reading “Labor Day Weekend”

Crazy Life

Well, since I’ve been back to work, my free time has been very limited, and I haven’t had a whole lot of energy to make the most of the time I do have. I joke that my days consist of work, the gym, dinner, lots of peeing (drinking lots of water and protein shakes), and sleep. Every now and again I practice the piano. Sounds exciting, right? Yeah…

I never realized the energy or the protein required to start building muscle. I’ve been lifting at the gym, trying to bulk up. My goal isn’t body builder, vein popping size, but I want muscles and definition. It has certainly been a challenge, considering I’m a vegetarian. 

Sadly, I haven’t been writing. Although, I am still reading. Right now I’m working on Dark Soul Vol. 5 by Aleksandr Voinov and Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #8) by Chloe Neill. I’m really sad that this is the last book in the Dark Soul series. I’ve come to love Silvio Spadaro and will definitely miss him! 

This morning was a biking morning. Nicole and I hit the rail trail shortly after 9 am. Yep, no sleeping in for me today! We rode 26.3 miles and treated ourselves to apple pie a la mode and coffee afterward. Yum! It was a gorgeous day, and the start wasn’t as cool as we anticipated. Nothing like trying to rush fall into getting here!

We played around with taking photos at the one sunny spot on the trail. I think my self-portrait turned out pretty well! Lol

The ride kicked my butt so I’ve spent the remainder of the day reading and playing the piano. I’ve definitely enjoyed relaxing! I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym on Monday as I’m starting a new workout. Time to throw my body a curve! I think it was getting used to the old workout. Not good!

Now it is time for a protein milkshake and a movie…of maybe just some more Teen Wolf! I’m so addicted to that show!

Hope everyone has a safe Saturday night!

House Rules

While I was away, one of the books I read was House Rules (book #7 in the Chicagoland Vampires series) by Chloe Neill. Ethan and Merit were the perfect addition to a beach vacation! (Cause ya know I love me some Ethan and picture him as David Beckham *sigh*) Please be careful reading this post if you haven’t read the book and intend to – don’t want to accidentally spoil anything.

House_Rules

So this book moved along nicely and had more tension than I would have liked – darn Lacey and her scheming to get Ethan back!! Then, the mess with leaving the GP and the fairies being completely unloyal. Sheesh!!

Poor Ethan had to learn Merit was sworn into the Red Guard and had Jonah for a partner. That went over like the proverbial lead balloon. I’m proud of Merit for sticking to her guns. It sure helped that Jonah was able to provide valuable information in a couple of instances.

 

I liked that Jeff and the gang were involved. Was totally awesome when Jeff shifted. And speaking of shifted, Gabriel was there. Woot woot! He provided Merit with some cryptic wisdom! Other than that, not too much out of the pack in this book.

Ethan totally cracked me up in this one. The guy gets some of the greatest lines. Poor thing – wrecked Mercedes and tries out a Bentley. Must be nice!

On page 3, Ethan and Merit are packing up the GP’s books in the library. Ethan says, “I find mixing business with pleasure makes both more interesting.” He continued a bit later with, “Being a vampire isn’t always about getting what you want, Sentinel. Although I’ll concede I can imagine more enjoyable ways of spending our time.” As part of the conversation, Merit talks about the GP and Cadogan no longer being a part of the club. “I know. We voted to break up with them before they could break up with us.” Go Merit!! Needless to say, despite the seriousness of the situation, they soon get distracted. Leave it to Luc to break them apart!

So maybe that isn’t the best passage to illustrate the banter between Merit and Ethan, but I failed to take a highlighter on vacation. I’m sure you do get the idea, though.

I really, really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next. 4.5 out of 5 stars!

 

Back in the U.S.

Sadly, I’ve returned to rainy and cold weather. I had spent the past four days in the sunny, warm Dominican Republic. It is the first time I left the country – got to put my new passport to use (for what it cost, I need to use it lots)!

I spent my time in Punta Cana at the Iberostar Bavaro, and I can’t say enough good things about the resort. The staff was very friendly and professional. The setting was gorgeous – the resort itself was immaculate. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back there. The food was exceptional – my only complaint was that I didn’t like their milk. The fresh fruits – delicious and juicy! I was happy that I was able to eat so healthy on vacation.

While I was there, I spent quality time at the pool and on my balcony (the view was amazing!). Given that, I did a lot of reading and some writing. Over the next couple of days I hope to post some reviews of what I read while I was there. Most of the books were on my Kindle, but I did have House Rules by Chloe Neill in paperback. I couldn’t very well go away and leave Ethan and Merit behind!

Enough for now… I have things to get ready so I can go back to the grind tomorrow. *Pouts* I will leave you with a picture of the view from my balcony. Enjoy!Iberostar_Bavaro