Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You'll Need More Than Your Lucky Charms to Woo This Lass Boyo!

Straighy Up by Deidre Martin was this week's read-n-ride challenge. In honour of the Irish setting for the book, I needed a little Luck O' the Irish myself to get it completed on time....but I did!

♥♥♥ 1/2
Pages read 340
Riding Time 3hour 9minutes
Calories Burned 1,336
Distance Peddled 55.19 miles

Back Blurb

Even a man on the run can enjoy the thrill of the chase...

After getting on the bad side of New York's Irish mob, Liam O'Brien thought he could weather the storm back in Ireland. Working as a bartender in his parent's old village of Ballycraig, he's not looking for any trouble. But he could use a bit of fun.

Aislinn McCafferty has already been scorned by a man once at the wedding altar. Now, any man who tries to woo her is quickly and coldly dispatched. The unknowing Liam soon learns this the hard way--and is immediately intrigued.

Eagerly accepting a wager from the pub's owner, Liam begins a determined pursuit of the stubborn and beautiful Aislinn, who in turn uses all of her wiles to rid herself of the charmingly determined Yank. But neither of them expects this donnybrook of the sexes to turn into an unlikely love...

For My Thoughts

I can honestly say that Aislinn McCafferty – or “The McCafferty” as the townsfolk like to refer to her as “because it’s nicer than calling her the Bitch” is unlike any female lead I’ve read in a long time.

She’s a sheep farmer for goodness sake. She is one hard-working, fiercely independent, prickly as a porcupine tough cookie (hence the nickname from the townsfolk) and should come with a “Beware The McCafferty” sign. She speaks her mind to the point of being harsh and the people who hang out at the local watering-hole she frequents are often on the receiving end of her biting, caustic tongue especially the three local men she refers to as the “Holy Trinity of Arseholes”. And now the new bartender in town, Irish-American Liam O’Brien has arrived to try her patience, but he’s going to need more than his lucky charms to woo this lass. The scenes at the pub were among my favorite in the book.

The first half of this book was great. There was a sense of impending doom as the anticipation just kept building. A bet made by Liam and then a bad decision on his part due to his pigheadedness had me waiting for the other shoe to drop. You knew it was coming and that it was just a matter of time before the fireworks or “The McCafferty” exploded. And she didn’t disappoint.

Watching Liam try to woo Aislinn back and redeem himself while he enlisted the help of the locals as well as Aislinn’s sister Nora was at times comical. I did find this part dragged on just a wee bit too long for my liking. The last half of the book just didn’t pack the same punch for me as the first half did.

Straight Up is a good, solid read with lots of laughs and was worth it just for all the new words I learned: goolies (use your imagination), eejit (idiot) – this was used a lot, wellies and lots of other quaint Irish expressions. I am pretty sure the voices in my head were speaking with a lovely Irish lilt while I was reading this book.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Workout Wednesday: Rules Were Made to Be Broken

Rachel Gibson's Nothing But Trouble was the book of choice this week for the read-n-ride challenge. Love, love, love me some Rachel Gibson. How excited was I when I got home from work last Thursday to find my nice, white little envelope from the Book Depository and me in need of a new book to start at the gym (ummmm not like I don't have a 100 to choose from in the TBR pile O_o).

Here are the results:

Pages read 354
Riding Time 1hour 20minutes
Calories Burned 550
Distance Peddled 25.93 miles

Wait a minute...something seems fishy with these results?

Ok, ok I confess. I cheated! I broke my own rules! Revoke my bicycling privileges why don't you!
I had good intentions, I swear I did. I started out reading the book at the gym and I finished it at the gym. It was the in between part where I stayed up til 1:30am when I had to get up for work the next morning at 5:45am that I got into Nothing But Trouble.

For My Thoughts

Did I mention that I love Rachel Gibson? I am a sucker for a sports-themed, contemporary romance and Gibson delivers on all counts.

First of all I must say it's pure Marketing genius to release a book about a hockey player during the height of the NHL playoffs, but you don't have to be a fan of sports or hockey in particular to enjoy Nothing But Trouble because there is very little actual "hockey" action contained within this book.

Mark Bressler, ex-captain of the Seattle Chinooks had it all. Fame, fortune and a brilliant career as a superstar hockey player and in an instant in a life-altering car crash his life was forever changed. He's got a huge chip on his shoulder at the bad blow life has dealt him. His wife left him for greener (as in money) pastures, he walks with a cane, pops Vicodin like they're Tic-Tacs and worst of all he'll never play hockey again. He's pissed at life and is quite content to wallow in his self-pity and isolation and be a big old (albeit HAWT) Mr Crankypants. How can you help but feel empathy for the guy?

Perky, aspiring but out of work actress Chelsea Ross with her blond/reddish/pink hair, colourful clothes (or like she just got off the boat - Mark's words not mine) and big honkin' boobs is not what the Doctor ordered as far as Mark is concerned . He thinks she's his new health care worker, but she's actually been hired by the Chinooks to be Mark's personal assistant. Chelsea's twin sister Bo works in the Chinooks front office and was instrumental in getting Chelsea the gig.

Mark wants an assistant like he wants another hole in his head. He's managed to run off the last few "assistants" the team has sent over to his home in record time and Chelsea isn't going to be the exception if Mark has anything to do with it. He's a man on a mission to get rid of the latest intrusion in his live and the sooner the better.

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to make ends meet. And with a bonus of $10,000.00 on the line if she can stick it out for 3 months, Mark can do his worse, because Chelsea ain't going nowhere!

Chelsea is obsessed with her boobs. Big honkin' Dolly Parton boobs. I am qualified to work at Hooter's boobs! And they are mentioned again and again. One of the reasons Chelsea agrees to take the job as Mark's assistant is so that she can save enough money to have breast reduction surgery. This is something her family is totally against and can't comprehend. Surprisingly once Mark finds out about her insecurities concerning her large ta-tas and her desire to have the surgery - he is actually very supportive (might also be because while he can appreciate her fine assets, he is actually a leg man). It was just one more reason to fall a little bit more in love with him.

This book could have been entitled Hello House (as in the Fox TV show starring Hugh Laurie) meet Dolly(Parton). That's kind of what the character's reminded me of while reading it.

There are some very funny scenes between these two especially one in which Mark sends Chelsea on an errand to the drugstore to purchase some "items" for him. I have been reading romance novels for alooooong time and one of these items I did not even know existed or that it was possible to buy it from a drug store and not a specialty sex shop. Another very funny scene occurred when Mark was giving Chelsea the silent treatment. She continually bombarded him on his cell phone even though they were in the same house, a few feet apart just to bug him about the most mundane things. I couldn't help but laugh.

Mark and Chelsea are great together...funny and sexy and as mean as he tries to be, she knows just how to handle him and keep him on his toes. My only complaint about the book is a personal one. I need more than a few pages at the end of a book for such a deserving couple to get their HEA. I felt cheated and I wanted and needed to read more.

Rachel Gibson is an auto-buy for me and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Nothing But Trouble delivers nothing but a fun, sexy, funny romp. Run (or BIKE) don't walk to get your copy!

From Goodreads:

Chelsea Ross's acting career has been a total bust. The closest she ever came to stardom was her brilliant performance as "Pretty Dead Girl #1." But leaving Hollywood to become the personal assistant to a famous hockey player could be her stupidest career move ever.

Injured superstar Mark Bressler's glory days are over. The one time bad boy jock could at least be civil to the pint-sized, pink-haired bombshell who the Seattle Chinooks hired to be his P.A. If Chelsea didn't need the money, she'd be skating away from the world's biggest jerk-on-ice as fast as her feet could carry her.

Chelsea can deal with Mark's rotten attitude and dark moods. The problem is those biceps and that red-hot hockey-toned bod! And when the bad boy starts to put the moves on her, Chelsea knows it's time she banished him to the penalty box...if only she could resist the kind of trouble he has in mind!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mamma Mia! It's Mother's Day!

To all the Mothers everywhere hope you have the best day ever!

I am extremely lucky and very blessed to have 3 very special "Mother's" in my life.

Each of these women throughout my life have always been there for me. To teach me, support me, encourage me and most importantly to love me unconditionally. Their love has helped and inspired me and I hope they are proud of the woman I have become today. So on this very special day, all I wish to say is

To My Mother, My Step-Mom & My Mom-in-Law

A Mother's Blessing
Of all the special joys in life,
The big ones and the small,
A mother's love and tenderness
Is the greatest of them all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Workout Wednesday: A Taste Sensation to Tantalize Your Tastbuds

Yes I am grinning from ear to ear like the Cheshire cat cuz I squeaked in my book just under the wire again this week!

The results are in:
Pages read 309
Riding Time 3hours 35minutes
Calories Burned 1620
Distance Peddled 76.86 miles

Recipe of Love series Book 2

Who picks a book chock full of scrumptious, mouth-watering descriptions and recipes about food while trying to burn a few calories at the gym? This was my reading challenge this week as visions of food danced around in my head as I put the peddle to the metal. Well at least if I got the urge to eat while reading On the Steamy Side , I was a captive audience and couldn't just get up and go to the fridge for a snack no matter how tempted I was. So maybe it wasn't such a bad choice after all?

For My Thoughts

Country bumpkin and one time High School drama teacher Lilah Jane (Lolly for short and yes I kept thinking of a lollipop every time someone called her that) leaves the comfort of her small town life in rural Virginia and heads to the Big Apple looking to shake up her safe, staid, boring life and do the opposite of everything her Aunt Bertie has always taught her to do.

Devon Sparks is a world renowned celebrity chef, star of his own successful TV show, egomaniac, narcissist and all around bad boy. He is so far out of Lolly's league they may as well have been from different planets.

This book started out with a banging...I mean a bang...ok, no I really mean a banging. Devon and Lilah Jane cross paths one night in a dive bar and before you say "fry me up some catfish" they are headed off to his penthouse for a hot, sweaty bout of anonymous sex. The "sparks" were literally flying off the pages during a very steamy, very hot shower scene *fans self*.

Fast forward to the next morning and we return to the familiar stomping grounds of "Market" and all the familiar faces (Frankie, Jess, Adam) we met in Edwards first book Can't Stand the Heat. Lilah has just landed a job there bussing tables thanks to her good childhood friend Grant and guess who's going to be the guest Chef at Market for the next 2 weeks - yes you guessed it...Devon Sparks! So much for one night of anonymous sex. Things are really going to start cookin' in the kitchen at Market now that Devon and Lilah are going to be working together..or maybe not.

Let me just say at this point I really did not like Devon - he may have looked like Curtis Stone (but with sable hair and without the accent, but hey that's who I envisioned while reading), but his attitude reminded me that obnoxious Gordon Ramsey from Kitchen Nightmares. Devon acted like a spoiled brat Prima Dona, yelling, swearing and screaming like a trucker and treating all the employees at Market like second class citizens including Lilah Jane.

When Devon is unexpectedly thrust into the parent role (yes he's been an absentee father), one he's so ill-prepared to handle when his nine year old son Tucker is suddenly without a mom (she's headed off to drug rehab), we get some insight into Devon's insecurities. Boy has some major daddy issues and to this day has a tempestuous relationship with his father. Like father, like son...1st class A-hole. Watching Devon discover the joys of fatherhood and embrace his relationship with his own son I started to like him more. He was still a tool, but at least he was trying.

Since Devon has no idea what to do with Tucker, he fires Lilah Jane from her job at the restaurant on the spot, only to rehire her as a nanny, but she's no Mary Poppins. And she's also not interested in being Devon's playmate at least not at first -but her resolve didn't last long and really who can blame her because really... he made her girl parts tingle.

On the Steamy Side is about relationships, new ones, old messed up ones, disappointing family ones, but most importantly that the best relationships are attainable if you're just brave enough to reach out and hold on for dear life before it's too late.

If you are in the "Market" for a good "foodie" book with memorable characters who will tug at your heartstrings, then On the Steamy Side should be on your TBR pile.

Back Blub:

When Lilah Jane Tunkle fled her dull life in Virginia for the bright lights of New York City, she didn’t expect to wind up a nanny to a gorgeous celebrity chef’s ten-year-old son. Working for the delectable Devon Sparks is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, especially after Lilah gets a tantalizing taste of his perfectly seasoned kisses …


Devon’s not sure he can handle one more surprise ingredient in his life—he quit his popular TV show, his culinary reputation is on the line, and now the son he barely knows is back for seconds. Lilah’s Southern sass is supposed to keep the boy in line, but soon enough she’s teaching Devon a thing or two about homespun food…and turning up the heat.