Saturday, April 13, 2019

Workout Wednesday: I'm a Fool if I Think I'm Golden

Here I am riding my bike this week in my read-n-ride challenge as I finished Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery. The lead male character Josh Golden and I have a lot in common. He's famous, gorgeous, rich, a world class athlete and Tour de France Champion, admired and respected by all the people in his home town of Fool's Gold. a world class athlete cycle while I read a book. Ummm...ya lots of similarities.

Racing results this week

♥♥♥ 1/2
Pages read 376
Riding Time 3hour 10minutes
Calories Burned 1,119
Distance Peddled 52.19 miles

For My Thoughts

Chasing Perfect is all about small town living…where everybody knows your name...and gets all up in your business. Ohh! And there seems to be a shortage of eligible men of marrying age.

Charity Jones is Fool’s Gold new City Planner. Hopes are high that she can recruit some new businesses to locate in Fool’s Gold and along with new jobs bring some much needed bodies of the male persuasion to town. Work aside Charity’s pretty pumped to be setting down roots in this small, friendly community, something she’s always dreamed of doing as a young girl after being dragged around from town to town by her mom. Charity longs for stability, friends, a sense of family and a simpler life after a few failed relationships.

Josh Golden is the town’s local Golden boy. He’s famous, he’s gorgeous, he’s an athlete, he’s got a reputation as a ladies man and women of all ages are gaga over him. This is totally understandable since men are in such short supply, but his reputation may be more speculation or wishful thinking on the women’s part than based in fact. From the first moment Charity meets Josh after her first big presentation literally goes up in flames – her laptop that is - and he comes to her rescue, she can’t deny the sparks she feels whenever he’s within spitting distance. Controlling her hormones is going to be a big challenge, but Charity knows she doesn’t want to be the next notch on this playboy’s bedpost.

Chasing Perfect is at its core a good old fashioned love story about relationships. Under the watchful eye of the entire town, Josh and Charity explore and develop their budding romance. There are lots of interesting characters in Fool’s Gold from Mayor Marsha who has her own special relationship with Charity, to Pia the party and event planner to Ethan Hendrix the now estranged, but once best friend, fellow racer and closest thing to a brother Josh has ever had. These relationships are the foundation of Fool’s Gold and what Chasing Perfect is all about. There are no guns or car chases, things getting blown up, or bad guys out to kill anyone. The only drama happening in this city is between two rival sisters who for 25 years have had a battle over who has the best hair salon. I kind of wish more had been made of the man shortage problem, but maybe that is coming in one of the follow-up books in the series.

Finally, for anyone who follows Susan Mallery on twitter or facebook, then you know she is a big American Idol fan. I laughed at the mention of the show in Chasing Perfect when one of the city council meetings had to end on time so everyone could make it home to watch Idol. It’s fitting then that I am posting this review on the finale night as American Idol crowns a new champion. Go Crystal or Lee, whoever you are voting for, both are deserving of the title of American Idol.

Back Blurb:

Welcome to Fool’s Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There’s lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there’s just one tiny problem in Fool’s Gold: the men don’t seem to stick around. Maybe it’s the lure of big-city life, or maybe it’s plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

Charity’s nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer — everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she’s not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. But maybe that’s just what he needs — someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he’s just chasing perfect.

An Apple a Day Can't Keep This Romeo..err Romo Away!

In Toni Blake's latest release Sugar Creek , the Farris Apple Orchard is the happening place where a lot of the action takes place...action as in picking apples (ok so there's lots of the "other kind of action" also!). So an apple riding a bike seemed like it was Destiny. Need I say more?

Apple Pie in the Sky Results

Pages read 372
Riding Time 4hours 8minutes
Calories Burned 1,643
Distance Peddled 76.84 miles

For My Thoughts

This is where I bring out the old clichés. One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch girl...sing it Donny Osmond! And of course this one is a given: Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?

Welcome to Destiny Ohio where if you speed, you better be prepared to pay the consequences! Too bad that wasn't the welcoming sign on the way into town. Rachel Farris could have used the warning...on more than one occasion.

Family Feud is alive and well in Sugar Creek. Forget the Hatfield's and the McCoy's. It's the Farris's vs. the Romo's with a side of Romeo and Juliet thrown in (only with a much happier ending). The Farris and Romo families have been feuding for years..over the Farris Family Apple Orchard.

With Rachel Farris's advertising career in a state of flux, she decides to answer her dear old Aunt Edna's plea for help during apple harvesting season, packs up her bags and her life in Chicago and hits the road to Destiny...a place she couldn't wait to leave in her dust as soon as possible when she was younger.

From the moment local, hometown hottie Officer Mike Romeo.... err Romo pulls over Rachel in her sporty, little BMW her first day back in town for doing well in excess of the posted speed limit, they snipe and snip and sling verbal slurs against each others family. Rachel calls Mike "Romeo" (as well as Deputy Dawg and Barney Fife) so many times just to piss him off that every time she did I got such a kick out of it..I just had to do it too. Really could you resist?

Small town boy and big city girl differences aside, Mike and Rachel seem to be able to shelve the family feud long enough to agree on one is A-Ok. No strings, no commitments...just some serious smoking up the pages and hot sexual chemistry going on that neither one can deny (although they both try to repeatedly). Who knew that being locked in a concession stand at the local high school, falling out of an apple tree or driving in a convertible with the top down could end with such satisfying and arousing results?

Finally I've got to give some props to Aunt Edna. From her fabulous baked apple pies, her love for Brett Michaels and The Rock of Love, to her suspect aching knees and the telling of the Farris/Romo love/feud story through flashbacks she's a real character who wants nothing but the best for her niece and the family business.

Meet your destiny in Destiny. This small town once again brings together two people who eventually realize everything they've ever wanted and needed is right under their noses. Thank goodness true love does conquer all.

Take a trip this summer and visit Destiny Ohio, you won't be disappointed. Just make sure you don't speed!

Back Cover Blurb:

Rachel Farris returned to her childhood home with one mission in mind: get Mike Romo out of her family’s apple orchard business and out of their lives. But hard-nosed and totally hot Mike, who happens to be the law in Destiny, is convinced the Farris clan stole the land from his family fifty years ago and he’s not backing down. Even when shapely trouble shows up in a pair of designer blue jeans. However, neither the hunky cop nor the sexy prodigal hometown girl can anticipate the electricity that heats things up whenever they’re together—adding new sizzle to an ongoing feud that’s raged for generations, and soon putting both their hearts at risk. [close]

Workout Wednesday: If You've Got The MONEY, HONEY I Got The Time

I`ve discovered you can find just about any image riding a bike and a dollar bill this week seemed appropriate. I wish someone would pay me money to ride-n-read.

Show Me The Money Results

♥♥♥ 1/2
Pages read 293
Riding Time 3hours 3 minutes
Calories Burned 1,210
Distance Peddled 55.54miles

For My Thoughts

I swear I wasn’t two chapters into Money, Honey by Susan Sey when it struck me that it reminded me of a combination of two of my favourite TV shows. White Collar (yummy Matt Bomer) meet Castle (Nathan Fillion). If you haven’t watched either of these shows, you should check them out. The eye candy alone is reason enough.

Career thief gets recruited by the FBI (to prevent his sister from heading to the slammer) to use his particular skill set to catch other criminals (White Collar) and is now a bestselling novelist (Castle). So the premise had me hooked plus I had a nice visual in my head of leading man Patrick O’Conner and I was ready to rock-n-roll read-n-ride.

Suave, sophisticated, debonair Patrick O’Conner has not seen FBI agent Liz Brynn for 3 years since their “working” relationship ended (read he paid his debt to the FBI in full) and he’s never forgotten the beautiful agent who was married to her job then and now and is still wearing her stuffy, buttoned-up, bad polyester suits...some things never change. Patrick’s back in Grief Creek Minnesota to help his sister, Mara solve a little counterfeiting problem she’s having at the Brightwater Casino and Restaurant she runs. Watch out Agent Brynn cuz I think some grief is headed your way!

It's just like old times in Grief Creek when Patrick and Liz are forced to work together again as a team. Only this time around, Patrick is hired on as an FBI consultant and that makes him a contemporary to Liz rather than a subordinate. Liz has a few problems with their new "working" relationship and try as she might to keep her professional distance from Patrick, he's just as determined to work his magic and get at least a few of those darn buttons on her suit undone. Patrick may not have the best track record when it comes to personal relationships, but he’s always had the hots for the no-nonsense Agent and he knows she’s the one who got away. He plans on rectifying that oversight this time around.

One of the things I loved about Patrick was how his relationship with his sister Mara developed. He’s keep his distance from Mara and his adorable niece Evie for the past three years partly for their own protection and partly because he doesn't do warm and fuzzy family reunions. His scenes with the incorrigible Evie, sticky fingers and all were a test of wills to see who would break first. Made for some cute, funny scenes.

Patrick and Liz have a lot of sexual chemistry, flirting and innuendo of things to come. Liz is determined to hold out against the very persuasive reformed thief, but a girl only has so much willpower plus they both have a lot of old history, family baggage and personal issues to work through. So its down to business first for this duo because there’s a case to solve, a villain out for revenge against Patrick and said villain is willing to hit Patrick where he’s most vulnerable and those closest to him are in more danger than they realize.

In the end there was a pretty creative plot hatched to catch the bad guy and thank goodness for a blatant disregard for the law as a little "break and enter" opened the door for a HEA.

This is Susan Sey’s first book and I liked it. What makes me pick up a new author? Well in this case, I loved the title Money, Honey – it’s cute and catchy; the cover art hints at a sexy duo inside and of course the back cover blurb sounded just like the type of book I like to read. Win win all around.

Next up for Susan Sey is Money Shot and it sounds like Ranger Rush and Special Agent Maria “Goose” di Guzman (we meet her in Money, Honey) are going to be another fun read (n-ride).

Back Cover Blurb


FBI Agent Elizabeth Brynn has dedicated her life to her job, having earned her position through hard work and a firm belief in law and order. She played strictly by the book until she recruited a notorious jewel thief as an informant-a professional criminal who used his wicked ways to tempt her into something more personal...


Patrick O'Connor assisted the Feds for three years before going legit. Now a successful crime novelist, he wheels and deals his way around Hollywood, getting anything and everything he desires-except a certain federal agent who remained immune to his charms...


Cop and robber are unexpectedly reunited when Patrick agrees to go undercover to help bust a counterfeiter-but his true motive is to get Liz under the covers, and she's not sure she can keep her hands to herself this time....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Stolen Justice

Title: Stolen Justice
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: DJ Gross
Pub: 2011 by Amazon Digital Services

He's a thief
JT Flynn stole high end art from the world's worst criminals until he lost a member of his team. When a beautiful stranger threatens to expose his thefts unless he steals a Van Gogh, he calls his team together for one last job.

She's a liar
Computer hacker Laura Danvers has many secrets and one goal: to destroy Rob Autrey's money laundering operation at any cost. She needs JT's team of thieves to divert Autrey's attention so she can get the job done.

They’ve got trouble
Forced to work together, Laura and JT come to a grudging mutual respect which heats to a combustible attraction they work to ignore. Passion can’t get in the way of pulling off the high risk heist.

Then a feud between Autrey and one of his clients makes the job even more dangerous. Now the cost of stealing justice may be their lives.

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

Wow! Loved this book from start to finish. For anyone who enjoys Romantic Suspense - this is a must read and for .99 on Amazon, you'd be crazy not to read it.

Sometimes the best books are the ones you have no expectations about, don’t even know anything about and discover quite by accident. I was trolling through Amazon, checking out .99 books and noticed Stolen Justice had quite a few good 5 star reviews. I’ve never heard of this author, but the blurb sounded good and since romantic suspense if my favourite genre, for .99 even if it stunk - no big deal.

Stolen Justice is like a little gem I discovered and it is as far from a stinker as you can get. I loved it!

A sure sign for me about how much I like a book is when I want to read it to the exclusion of doing all else. I was sitting in the dentist office on Friday afternoon and all I could think about was "hurry up so I can get out of this chair so I can finish reading Stolen Justice. I also knew before I was ½ way finished reading that I would be giving it 5 stars.

Laura Danvers is a nerdy geek, Bill Gates smart computer chick and she’s got a plan to bring down a scumbag. To execute her plan she’s going to need JT Flynn and his “crew” to make that happen.

This book was non-stop action with an Ocean’s 11/12 or Mission Impossible feel to it. The plan to bring down Ibank CEO and humanitarian Rob Autrey who is also the scum of the earth running a secret underground website that launders money and is involved in the sex trade (again the “IT” topic of a lot of books I’ve read this year) was complicated, elaborate and dangerous.Laura had the necessary goods on JT and his team to gain his compliance (what’s a little blackmail between friends?) and although JT was pissed at being blackmailed, he felt he had no choice but to agree to help Laura even if it meant risking his team.

JT runs the heist of a famous Van Gogh painting in Rob’s possession like a precise military operation. Every member of his team has a job and he runs a tight ship as the leader of his pack. In reality Laura is the brains behind the operation and she may just have kept a few pertinent details from JT...ohhh boy did she! The twists and turns and secrets revealed as the story progressed kept me on edge and kept me riveted to my IPOD and swiping the pages. Lots of things I didn’t see coming.

The planning and heist take place over only a couple of days and the pace and action is frantic. I loved JT and Laura, the secondary characters in the crew were compelling and the entire story was one of the best RS I’ve read in a while. I scoured the interwebz to see if I could find out if DJ Gross had another book but no luck - I couldn’t even find a webpage for her. I hope she releases another book soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: With This Fling

Title: With This Fling
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Kelly Hunter
Pub: June 7, 2011 by Harlequin

Successful archaeologist Charlotte Greenstone has no time for men, so invents a convenient one—who bears a highly inconvenient resemblance to sexy stranger Greyson Tyler! To protect her mortifying white lie, Charlotte begs Grey to act as her temporary fiancé….

One glimpse of Charlotte's killer curves, and Grey can't resist making his own outrageous proposition—he'll pretend to be her fiancé… if they can enjoy all the benefits of being a couple! Smoking-hot Grey is definitely fling material, but Charlotte knows that's all it can ever be…. Isn't it?

Making the Grade: B

For My Thoughts

As soon as I started reading this book I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to another book I had recently read.

A young woman makes up a story about a fake fiancé to appease the worries of her dying godmother. Insert Grandma worrying, but not dying about her granddaughter and you’ve got the same set-up as Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey.

Only in With This Fling you get a more cerebrally matched duo in Associate Professor of Archaeology Charlotte Greenstone and Dr. Greyson Tyler, botanist.

It started out innocently enough and with the best of intentions when Charlotte Greenstone manufactured her imaginary fiancé Thaddeus Jeremiah Gilbert Tyler. Whoaaa that's a mouthful! Her Godmother Aurora was dying and the stories of Gil (as Charlotte called him), eased Aurora’s worries in her final day. And after Aurora passed peacefully...Charlotte killed off Gil as well. No harm, no foul.

Except Charlotte’s co-workers found out about her “fiancé” and before Charlotte knows how to stop the run-away train, her non-existent fiancé arrives in Sydney the form of Dr. Greyson Tyler.

Greyson Tyler’s come to claim his belongings inadvertently sent to the esteemed Dr. Greenstone and really he’s quite understanding as he discovers the part he’s played as Charlotte’s imaginary fiancé. Not one to pass up an opportunity, Greyson decides to take advantage of the situation since it seems he finds himself in need of his own fake fiancée for a family function. Who better to play the part of that loving fiancée than Charlotte herself.

Grey and Charlotte are good together and with all cards on the table they agree to engage in an equally and mutually beneficial relationship with no strings attached. Beside Grey’s a traveller, always on the move for his job and Charlotte’s been there and done that and she’s not interested in doing it again. In the long term they could never have a “real” relationship. Well maybe they could especially with the unexpected surprise they are about to get in say...nine months time.

No they’ve got a whole new set of problems to deal with if they are going to become a real family. It’s going to require compromise, sacrifice and big adjustments to make their relationship work...if it’s even possible.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: Yours to Keep

Title: Yours to Keep
Genre: Contemporary
Author: Shannon Stacey
Pub: June 6, 2011 by Carina Press

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

I marked this one as one of my favorites for the year before I was even half-way finished.

Let me get this out of the way first - I loved this book so much that I started writing my review on sticky notes. Naaa I’m just kidding, but the sticky notes played such a cute, make me smile part in Yours to Keep, I had to mention them right off the top.

The pretend, fake fiancé storyline is certainly not a new concept and in Yours to Keep it could have been cheesy and cliché but Shannon Stacey tells a fun, sexy, heartfelt story with real and likeable characters in Sean and Emma and let's us revisit with all the old Kowalski favorites.

Emma is strong, independent and she’s not afraid of hard work or getting her hands a little dirty...which is a good thing since she owns her own landscaping business. She loves her grandmother to bits and wants her to be happy in her retirement to Florida but Grandma Cat worries about Emma managing her business and living in the big family home with all the responsibility all alone. So who’s gonna be hurt by a little white lie of a fiancé if it helps Grandma sleep easier at night and not worry about Emma? It was a good plan...until Grandma Cat decided she was coming home for a month to visit and meet “the man” her grandbaby was going to marry. Oooops!

Sean Kowalski’s at loose ends for the next month after just serving in the Army for the past 12 years. He’s gonna rest, relax and chill, maybe pound a few nails and eats lots of Aunt Mary’s lasagna. Ahhhh the best laid plans...until...who’s that knocking at his door? That’s exactly what Sean’s asking himself when he discovers it’s his fake fiancée come a-calling to break the news of their engagement. She’s hot, tall and just a little batshit crazy. 2 outta 3 ain’t bad - right? Emma seemed perfectly sane, were his Kowalski cousins setting him up? Where were the hidden cameras?

I believed the set-up. I believed in Emma’s motivation for engaging in such an elaborate scam to convince her Grandma she was engaged and why Sean finally agreed to play his part. Now to convince the rest of the Kowalski’s to play along because family loyalty will only get you so far.

The Kowalski siblings, their respective wives and children were up to their old tricks again...making bets, holding their tournaments of Doom and razzing the crap out of their cousin Sean. They are one of the most enjoyable families to read about. Shannon Stacey brings them to life on the page and makes them seem like one big happy family anyone would be lucky to be a part of. I wouldn’t mind a piece of Aunt Mary’s lasagna, but keep the wooden spoon outta her reach!

*posts pink sticky note* I heart Kowalski’s.

Sean was a real trooper. Funny, charming, loyal and sexy. Emma and Sean had supposedly been living together for a year when in fact they barely knew each other which only added to the drama and laughs as they tried to pull the wool over Grandma Cat’s eyes. Sean choking down the broccoli during dinner when he detested the green vegetable was LOL funny and showed just how far he was prepared to go to play his part.

And now for the sticky notes. I loved how Sean used them to communicate his likes and dislikes on the bathroom mirror. And the final pink sticky note - broke my heart, got that lump in the back of my throat growing and made my eyes well up.

Yours to Keep…it’s wicked good!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Lying Eyes

Title: Lying Eyes
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Amy Atwell
Pub: Oct 15, 2010 by Carina Press

No-nonsense jewelry designer Iris Fortune yearns for a normal life. But life as Vegas magician Cosmo Fortune’s daughter is anything but normal, especially since dear old Dad is also a scam artist. When Cosmo’s latest scheme goes awry and he pulls a real-life disappearing act, Iris is left holding the bag.
Now Iris must be a master of illusion—play the poised partner to her politician fiancé while trying to save her father and stay out of reach of Mickey Kincaid, the sexy thief who claims he's only after her jewels.
Detective Kincaid is deep undercover and seeks Iris out because of her connection to Cosmo—he never expected to be so drawn to her. While working with Iris to find the elusive con man, Mickey learns a killer has Iris in his sights, and he must do everything he can to save her, without blowing his cover.

Mickey's put his life on the line before, but never his heart—and now he’s not sure which is more dangerous....

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

Lying Eyes...They’re watching You.

Lying Eyes was like reading a madcap, action-adventure story featuring the Fortunes of Las Vegas led by the slippery and elusive magician, master of disguise and patriarch Cosmo Fortune. He was at the epicentre of all things good and bad happening in this book.

Iris Fortune, jewellery designer by trade, is the calm, cool and collected eldest daughter of Cosmo Fortune. But she's kinda written off dear ole dad, who’s never really been a part of her life...until he turns up missing. Next thing you know she‘s got a hot, petty jewel thief sticking to her like glue, two previously unknown young women who turn out to be her new half sisters and 10 million dollars in missing gems. Now bad people are after Cosmo and the gems he‘s supposed to have in his possession and if they have to go through Iris and her new found sisters to get to him - well then that’s what they’ll do. Ohh Daddy Dearest this latest escapade you’re embroiled in could get somebody a hurry!

Lying Eyes had a humorous, light, fun feel to it. Even though it’s a romantic suspense and lives were threatened numerous times, I never felt anyone was ever really in danger. I know you’re not supposed to like the bad guys, but the bumbling, buffoon henchman Jock and Pebbles provided a lot of comic relief (they reminded me of the bad guys in Home Alone getting bested by Macaulay Culkin). And who names a goon Pebbles? He was nothing but a big ole simpleton oaf with a soft spot for animals - especially the magician’s 20 lb white rabbit Edgar who always seemed to have his little twitching nose right in the thick of things. Try pulling that rabbit out of your hat O-O!

What I liked best about Lying Eyes was the love story between Iris and her scruffy, petty thief with the swashbuckling grin she can’t stop thinking about...ohhhh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey! Hey Mickey! We all know he’s not really a thief out to kill her dad or steal the jewels, but it takes Iris a lot longer to figure him out and unmask the undercover agent.

Mickey’s great at playing the part of a thief, but his feelings for Iris are real and true. Their relationship is cute, fun, flirty and sexy and for most of the book - she has no idea who he really is. At one point when things were looking pretty grim for Mickey and Iris he comes out with this line:

“Who’s joking?” He lifted his face, his gaze roaming over her. “If this is my last night on this Earth, I sure as hell want to spend it with you.” Ohhhh Mickey *heart melts*.

If you want a fast-paced, madcap, sexy romp then you can’t go wrong with Lying Eyes. I really enjoyed it - Fortune family drama, Russian royalty, missing gems, rabbit and all!