Sunday, July 28, 2013

What I Read This Week:

My brain has a tie-tie and I can't with the words. Pretend I told you about my week - which was mainly vacation days I used to call caterers and bridal salons.
  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, August 2013 - This was a good one - and I'm not just saying that because it had a cupcake on the cover. The article on sugar was fascinating; I had no idea how that crop influenced history. I also loved the articles about lions and painted elephants. The pretty pictures also helped.
  • Books
    • I finished one! I spent some time by the pool and used it to read Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It wasn't my favorite Gaiman, but it did have his usual timeless charm.

Friday, July 26, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Azure

I love blue. Tis my favorite color. Blue nail polish is also a dazzling color - too bad it's a pain to get off.

This shade is Chanel Le Vernis in Azure.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Variations on a Theme: Romance Recommendations

I've decided it's time to use this feature to focus on romance. It had to happen sometime. I love romance novels so much that I will focus this month's Variations on a Them to those that I have read and highly recommend.

Diana Gabaldon

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. Her husband is two centuries away, she is related to her lover's mortal enemy, and her neighbors think she's a witch. In this unforgettable novel of time travel, Diana Gabaldon fuses wry, modern sensibility with the drama, passion, and violence of eighteenth century as she tells the story of one daring woman and the man who loves her. 
The Lady Lies (and the related books in the trilogy)
Samantha Saxon

Lady Celeste Rivenhall lives a double life, a British agent posing as a French spy. Then Lord Aiden Duhearst is delivered into her hands as a prisoner of war—and she will risk anything to save him. Anything but the truth. [My review]

Pam Jenoff

ineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma's husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city's decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob's Catholic cousin, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile. Emma's already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety—and her marriage vows—in order to help Jacob's cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma's relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves. [My review]

Voices of the Night

Lydia Joyce

Desperate to escape the underworld's treacherous grasp, Maggie of King Street finds a patron in Charles Crossham, Lord Edgington, who must transform a street girl into a lady to win a high stakes wager. Charles has never met anyone like the fierce and ardent Maggie, and Maggie's defenses are useless against the seduction of the jaded lord.Their association quickly ignites into a consuming obsession. But both passion and the bet are threatened by a ruthless villain from Maggie's dark past, who has plans for her that imperil everything she's ever cared for-and her very life. [My review]

The Dangerous Gentleman
Julia London

It was strictly business as Adrian Spence claimed the woman his brother desired. A hasty wedding, and Lilliana Dashell was his—sweet revenge on the father who disinherited him and the brother who let it happen. Their wedding night is a revelation as passionate, innocent Lilliana ignites fires Adrian tries desperately to deny. By day he is a stranger. By night he is the lover of her dreams, and she a shameless wanton in his arms. But Adrian is determined that no woman will ever possess him. And Lilliana knows that her only hope of taming this very dangerous gentleman is to unlock his deepest mysteries and open his shuttered heart to love. [My review]

Ride the Fire

Pamela Clare

Where was only one rule on the frontier - survival. So when a wounded, buckskin-clad stranger appeared at the door of her isolated cabin, Elspeth Stewart felt no qualms about disarming him and then tying him to her bed. Newly widowed and expecting her first child, she had to protect herself at all costs. And Nicholas Kenleigh threatened not only her safety, but her piece of mind. The terrible scars on his body spoke of a tortured past, but his gentle touch and burning gaze awoke longings she had never expected to feel. Bethie had every reason in the world to distrust men; the cruelty she had suffered at their hands had marked her soul, though her blonde beauty showed no sign of it. But little by little she found herself believing in Nicholas, in his honor, his strength. As he brought her baby into the world, then took both mother and daughter into his care, she realized this scarred survivor could heal her wounded spirit, and together they would... Ride the Fire. [My review]

Other Recommended Romances
As a change, I've linked to my reviews instead of to the Barnes and Noble website.

A Visit From Sir Nicholas - Victoria Alexander
Let It Be Love - Victoria Alexander
Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh
What the Librarian Did - Karina Bliss
The Spymaster's Lady - Joanna Bourne
Surrender - Pamela Clare
Devil Takes a Bride - Gaelen Foley
Lady of Desire - Gaelen Foley
Lady of the Knight - Jackie Ivie
Highlander in Disguise - Julia London
Fire Me Up - Katie MacAlister

Links and Stuff: July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I Love... Buying Books in Pairs

Maybe I'm the only one, but I love to buy books in pairs. Unless I am bee-lining it for a single title or picking up a gift, I find it most difficult to leave a bookstore with only one book.

I've pondered this habit of mine, and I think I've finally figured out why I do this. I use to claim it was so that "the books wouldn't be lonely in the bag" with a giggle, but that's not the case. I buy books in pairs because I always like the idea that if I finish one, there is another one waiting for me to start right away. Having that small pile on my nightstand, or on my shelves means that I will always have something to read. To a biblophile that is the bestest thing. 

I don't often buy books anymore (I truly owned more books than I could read in half a decade) but I still grab books from the library in pairs. As long as I always have just one more book waiting for me then I'm a happy girl.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What I Read This Week: July 21, 2013

I was a horrible reader this week. So horrible in fact that you should move along because there is nothing to see here.

To at least make this post a little bit worthwhile, I will say that I have two books waiting on my nightstand. I've heard wonderful things about Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. When I saw it on the new books display at work, I decided to swipe it for myself. The second book is a loan from Lady K. The Heretic Queen is the "sequel" to a previous summer read, Nefertiti.

Also, this happened again. I need to stay away from the magazine rack.

Friday, July 19, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Sprinkles

Sprinkles are the accessory of summer food. They go on ice cream (which I needed desperately in this 100 degree multi-day heat wave). They look awesome on cake. Heck, they are even (sorta) in watermelon. Sprinkles rule.

This week, I give you sprinkle-like polish.

This is It's My Birthday by Model City.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

What I Read This Week: July 14, 2013

I very nearly forgot to write up this post. Whoops!
  •  Work
  • Magazines
    • Brides, June/July 2013 - I mainly flipped through all the pictures, but I did pull the list of website ideas. That might come in handy later.
    • Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2013 - This magazines had some lovely images but very little advice. I did, however, love the chocolate dessert spread. Yum.
  • Book
    • I finished my romance novel, A Woman of Virtue. I was not in the mood for this kind of book, so I rate it a "meh!"

Friday, July 12, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Citrus

Something about summer just screams CITRUS! to me. Since my favorite citrus is an orange, I decided that this week's fashion find should honor that fruit.

This is OPI's Take the Stage.

In related news, my pedicure still looks awesome. I've never gone this long without a chip. Clearly that means I will mar my nails later today.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Links and Stuff: July 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why I Love... Buying Books for Baby Showers

I'm attending a friend's baby shower in August. I was tickled pink (or blue since they're having a bouncing baby boy) to see that there were books on the registry. While I do give bibs and really cute clothes (tiny boots!), I always give the future parents at least one book.

I give books because reading to kids when they're young can be a soothing bonding experience for both parent and child. Reading can become a shared ritual that creates long lasting memories. Who here doesn't love re-reading their favorite childhood books?

Early childhood reading also helps develop a child's mind. They might not be able to read the words on the page, but the kids still learn. The more parents read to their kids, the more the kids will want to read themselves. It's a good habit to develop. And reading is a lifelong skill that should start early. (I vote even in utero.)

I must admit that my intentions are not without bias. I selfishly like the idea that these young book lovers will, one day, visit their local library. Gotta train them while they're young.

Luckily, my friends are readers so books are always welcome. Also, small kids with books is the most adorable thing ever.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

What I Read This Week: July 7, 2013

I love short work weeks that end with long weekends. Since we both had the Fourth off, the Fiance and I took advantage of the (finally!) good weather and headed over to the pool. I managed to both not nap and knock out a few chapters in my book.

More summer please!
  • For Work
  • Magazines
    • Food Network, July/August 2013 - This issues was chock full of summer food and party ideas. I particular enjoyed the bits on corn, BLT creations, and potato salads. I pulled two recipes to try. Methinks I need to host a barbecue soon.
    • Bridal Guide, July/August 2013 - Before I finish off the rest of my bridal magazine stack, I need to remind myself that this type of magazine is mainly pretty pictures and ads. At least this issue had some decent tips. I enjoyed the brides who shared what they would do if they got married again. I also liked the bar tips and budget mistake pieces.
    • The Atlantic, July/August 2013 - Might I recommend that you just read this issue cover to cover? It was one of the best issues of The Atlantic I've read. At this time, I must spend extra words recommending the articles on junk food and obesity, the special ideas section, the piece on how long you can wait to have a baby, and, last but least, the meditation on modern masculinity.
  • So far I've put a third of my current book, A Lady of Virtue, behind me. It's not great - but I'm really not in the mood for a book of this type at the moment. I just don't know what I want to replace it with.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Book 15: Love and War

TITLE: Love and War
AUTHOR: Patricia Hagan
STARTED: June 9, 2013
FINISHED: June 17, 2013
PAGES: 532
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: The sky was gray and overcast.

SUMMARY: [From] Beautiful and spirited Southerner Kitty Wright is torn between Rebel Nathan Collins and Yankee Travis Coltrane, the dashing Cavalry officer who can melt her heart with desire while sending fury coursing through her veins. As war erupts, Kitty is abducted and ravished by a war-crazed Rebel. Rescued by Yankees, she is held captive and thrust into the battlefields to help tend the wounded. But from the first moment Travis Coltrane ignites—and satiates—the wild, raw desire in her that she never knew existed, she realizes her heart is imprisoned as well as her body. Hating Travis for his Yankee loyalty, while loving him despite their different worlds, Kitty struggles with her guilt over Nathan, the Rebel to whom she is promised…all while struggling to survive as the world explodes around them all.

THOUGHTS: I picked up this book because I was in the mood to read something so utterly awful that it was fun. This book was PERFECT! At least in the respect that it was a complete piece of trash.

This book fits every trope of the romance novels that came out of the 1970s.
  • Bodice ripping? Check! This heroine's clothes are littered all over the east coast. 
  • Heroine who wants nothing but true love but is TSTL? Check! She is so inside her own head I'm surprised she remembered how to walk.
  • Heroine who is so headstrong it causes problems? Check! Woman could not get out of her own damn way. I'm all for strong female leads, but only if their strength is used wisely.
  • Absurdly dramatic situation? Check! Civil war. Nuff said.
  • Dogbone thrown to the "modern" audience? Check! Don't worry, our heroine may be from the south, but we know by page 3 that she despises slavery. Continue reading without feeling like you must hate her.
  • Rape? Check. Check. CHECK! Seriously, I lost count of how many times the heroine was raped and by how many men. The author must have hated her female lead because she seems to be raped at least once a chapter. It was outright disgusting. Thank goodness I was in the mood to laugh at the utter horribleness of this book.

I spent the vast majority of this book laughing and scoffing. The situations our heroine finds herself are absurd and repetitive. This woman couldn't stay out of trouble to save her life. She is also a horrible judge of character. In fact, most of the characters in this novel are horrendous human beings. Save for a secondary character here and there, I did not like anyone in this book. In some ways, that was a good thing - it made laughing at them easier.

The one valid good point of this book is the graphic descriptions of battlefield wounds and surgery. They were uncomfortable to read because they were so vividly written. I do have to give the author some credit where it is due.

This book was just plain wrong in every way. I loved it.

RATING: For the book - 2/10 [Awful], For the entertainment value - 9/10 [Excellent]

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Slick

This week's Fashion Find is brought to you by the word "slick." It's been raining for weeks, and I've wiped out nearly a dozen times on wet painted concrete and/or brick. Stupid slick surfaces.

At least this nail polish is a good kind of slick.

This is Rococo Nail Apparel Metallic in City Slick.

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Monday, July 01, 2013

A Preview....

About a week ago, I popped into Rite Aid to pick up some bread. I left with the bread... and a stack of bridal magazines. Oops?

So, fair warning, expect these to pop up in my What I Read This week soon.