Girl Vs Earl

March 29, 2013

Girl Vs Earl
By: Phillipa Ashley

Miranda Marshall has dedicated loving years of her life managing the St Merryns Castle. It's walls have become a home to her. Jago is the owner of the castle who has come back after years abroad. When the two meet, an instant attraction is felt by both. But what Miranda soon learns is that Jago has come back to sell the castle. Will their attraction turn into something more? Can Miranda change Jago's mind? Can they both let go of their pasts so they can have a future?

Miranda Marshall has been the dedicated manager of the St Merryns Castle for several years. Within it's walls she has come to find all that her own childhood lacked. Many of her fellow employees have become like her family.

Jago is the actual owner of the Castle- having inherited it from his father. He has finally returned after spending several years abroad. While the Castle is a place of happiness for Miranda, it isn't for Jago. When his Mother summons him to take over he decides the time has come to sell it.

Miranda and Jago first meet in the armory room. Both feel an instant attraction. However, everything changes when Miranda learns of Jago's intentions for the Castle. As Jago proceeds with the sale, the attraction between them grows. Many close calls have the two fighting their feelings to avoid the inevitable pain. For both Jago and Miranda have pasts they've been carrying with them. Their bond grows and, as time goes by, everything changes.

I enjoyed Girl Vs Earl. Phillipa Ashley tells a story you get pulled into, while giving you characters you can't get enough of. My favorite was Jago. I love a good bad boy who buries his heart of gold. He's got the whole sarcastic, charming personality that is multi-layered.  Just when you think you have him figured out, he throws a curve ball at you.

The whole Miranda/Jago dynamic was great. You could feel the tension between them and the desires they fought. As I read their scenes, I can visualize their arguments playing out; his sarcastic responses to her. I could picture them on the beach. I could see them rowing the boat they stole- complete with Jago singing funny songs at the top of his lungs. I was able to thoroughly envision the scenes where their attraction took over. They were great characters to pin against each other. It's very safe to say, I will never look at an armory room the same way again.

Phillipa Ashley has written another fun book that you will enjoy as you soak up the sun. You are in for a treat as you read the book and have the story unfold. A great book for summer, or a relaxing weekend. 

Beyond The Pasta

March 15, 2013

Beyond The Pasta
By: Mark Leslie
304 Pages

Summer is right around the corner. Many people take this season to travel to places far or near. If you're like me, who can't afford to travel, you like to read books of great places. Not only of great places, but the life lived far from my own, the people, the food, and the adventures. Well, I have a suggestion for you summer "travel" reading. 

Beyond The Pasta is the journal of Mark Leslie's 28 day stay with a family in Italy. He enrolled in a full immersion program where he lives with a family and they teach him cooking and language. In his adventure, you will learn the Grandmothers (Nonna) are the professors of cooking and the Mothers are the Professors of language. Not only that, Mark includes recipes for many of the Italian dishes he helps Nonna make.

Readers live and learn of Italian life as Mark does- often through trial and error. Some things are done differently between our two countries, and I enjoyed reading how. Navigating grocery stores is a rather eye opening experience. While in the USA, the plastic bags your groceries go in are free, in Italy they are not. Many Nonnas don't buy them since they already have plenty from past trips. Instead they buy their groceries  leaving everything lose in the cart and bag them when they get to their cars. The whole cart system is different, as well. In Italy, you pay to use the cart, but get your money back when you return the cart properly. Poor Mark learned this lesson the hard way.

For lovers of Italy, Italian food, and Italian life in general, this book may be a great book. I love reading about how Italians live and interact with one another. I love the closeness of family and friends. You get a lot of that within the pages of Beyond The Pasta. Enjoy!

The Boyfriend by Thomas Perry

March 11, 2013

I've honestly never heard about this author until now, but after I read this book I look forward to reading more of his works! I received a short synopsis about the storyline which immediately drew me in. After being approved to read an advanced reader’s copy, I immediately threw myself into the story!


It started off with the murder of Catherine Hamilton. After coming back from lunch with old college friends, she arrived at her place only long enough for her boyfriend to shoot her from behind and vanish without a trace. The police later learn that Catherine Hamilton was a high-priced escort and the amount of male fingerprints in the apartment could lead to dozens upon dozens of potential suspects. So the police put this on a low-priority case considering her occupation. However, after Catherine’s parents hire Jack Till, a retired LAPD homicide detective, to help them track down the murderer, he reluctantly takes the case (and a check for $100K doesn’t hurt!).


What Jack doesn’t know is that Catherine Hamilton wasn’t the killer’s first victim, and it doesn’t seem to be his last! Jack starts connecting the dots amount the victims, and starts traveling cross country to find this victim and stop him before another killing takes place!


Perry is an amazing story teller! Reading this book felt like an amazing thrill ride of a story that builds suspense so well it kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire read! The dark and dangerous world Thomas Perry pulls you into is wild & full of twists and turns. I look forward to reading more of Thomas Perry's books and I'd recommend The Boyfriend to anyone!


Genre Burn Out

March 7, 2013

Hi. My name is Jen, and I have suffered from genre burn out. 

Have you ever been on a reading kick with a specific genre? Couldn't get enough of the mysteries? Found yourself continuously traveling back in time with historical fiction? Isn't it wonderful?! Yeah, it's never ending happiness... until the happiness ends.

I've been known to go on one genre kick after another. I would consume as many cozy mysteries, fiction books, historical fiction adventures, and gripping bios until I couldn't focus anymore. I learned the hard way that I was on genre burn out.

Now, I try to not to overdo it when I go on a reading streak. I try not to read so many books in one genre that I burn out of it.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do when it does?

My Review Thoughts

March 4, 2013

Every blog, or website, that posts reviews has a few decisions they must make. What rules, or policies, will they adhere to? Will they talk about every book they read- good or bad? If they didn't like a book, will they still post about it? Much goes into reviews that get posted.

I thought I would tell you what my thoughts and policies are for the reviews I do. What am I willing to do? What am I NOT willing to do? How have my thoughts changed from when I first began reviewing to now?

1. In the beginning, I would post my thoughts on every book I read- whether they were good or bad. If I didn't like it, I told you. I would give it a "Buy It & Return It" rating. As time has gone by, I found that I preferred to share the books I liked more than ones I didn't. So, bit by bit, reviews of books I didn't like became less. 

2. Whether a book is liked or loathed, I think there is a polite way to discuss it. I always remembered that even if I didn't like it, others may. I also tried to remember that regardless of what I thought, someone spent time and energy bringing this idea to life. Authors have feelings. I wouldn't want someone to trash something I wrote. There is a way to say you don't like something in a positive way. Not to mention, others may not share the same thoughts on a book that you do. Your opinions are yours to have, but you can be respectful.

3. Once upon a time, I would still post reviews for books I didn't finish. I no longer do. If I wasn't able to finish a book, I wasn't going to have a lot of good things to say about it. I'd rather not talk about a book I didn't like to the point of not being able to finish it. Also, personal opinion comes into play here. Just because I wasn't able to finish it doesn't mean others will have the same issue. 

4. I do everything I can to avoid giving away important plot details in my reviews. The whole point of my reviews is to give you a little glimpse into the book and share my thoughts on it. I don't want my reviews to give the whole story away. If I did, what would be the point of reading the book yourself? I've written some very short posts in an attempt to avoid giving away story details. There has been one or two reviews where there was little I could do about it, but I try to give you a warning at the beginning of the review.

5. My reviews tend to be on the shorter side. A lot of people have busy lives and not a lot of extra time. Because of this, I try to get right to the point. I don't do in-depth reviews where I dissect every aspect of the book. I'm mainly trying to tell you whether or not I liked a book and why. I usually give you a little bit more information on the plot of the book, but without giving away crucial details.

Well, there you have it. There is a glimpse into my thoughts on how I review. My policies and ways of doing things may change over time. If so, that'll be another blog post for you to read. :) Thank you for taking the time to read this and for allowing me the honor of sharing books with you.

Until The End Of Time

March 1, 2013

Until the End of Time
By: Danielle Steel

2 couples. 2 heart warming stories. 2 examples of fate and destiny bringing people together until the end of time. With Bill and Jenny, they share a deep bond. That bond gets them through fertility, career changes, family disapproval, and a move across the country. For Bob and Lillibet, two people coming from different worlds find each other and defy the odds.

In Danielle Steel's latest book, she tells two separate stories she feels exemplifies fate bringing people together until the end of time. In the first, she brings fashion stylist, Jenny, and lawyer, Bill together. He's been unhappy in his family's law firm for awhile, but it's not until he marries Jenny that he finds the courage to leave and pursue his passion: he wants to become an Evangelical Minister. She builds a career and he gets his degree. Both want to have a child, but life has other plans. A Minister position in Wyoming is offered to Bill, but he turns it down. It takes a devastating loss for the couple to realize that is where they are meant to go.

The town welcomes both with open arms and it isn't long before they have formed a huge following within their little community. But, once again, life has other plans for the couple who vows to be together until the end of time.

Lillibet Petersen has spent every minute of her 24 years being Amish. Knowing no other life, she breaks tradition when she secretly writes a book. Fate steps in when she must run into town instead of her brothers. She comes across an abandoned book on a bench and she copies down the publisher information. Using the town's dairy as her go-between, Lillibet sends her book to Bellagio Press to consider for publishing. 

At 31, Bob Bellagio rolled the dice and opened his own publishing house. Like every other publisher, he's on the look for that one book to put his small time business among the big leagues. By chance, he notices the manuscript wrapped in clothing on his employee's desk. Curiosity leads to reading, and before long Bob knows he's found what he's looking for. 

When Lillibet finally tells her father about her book he demands she not publish it. A battle of wills ensues. Lillibet refuses to believe her father would actually shun her if she goes through with publishing her book. She finds out the hard way that he wasn't bluffing. 

I have been a fan of Danielle Steel for years. Lately, I've found her books to be hit or miss on whether they were good. Until the End of Time was good. I found myself pulled into the first story, Bill & Jenny. I was happy at every achievement, and heart broken at every loss. While I thought I would gravitate more to Bob and Lillibet's story, it wasn't my favorite. While it was good, I just felt in was incomplete in some ways. I felt their story didn't come to it's full resolution. You never see the book that was the heart of the story published.  Nor do you really get time to become emotionally attached to these characters. I would have liked to see their story developed more.

Danielle Steel weaves heartwarming stories in her latest release. Fans of hers will enjoy this book.

Why Can't We Just Get Along?

Why Can't We Just Get Along
By: Shelley Hendrix

I don't know about you, but I have asked this question A LOT lately. So when I saw this book, I was intrigued. maybe it holds the key to how to deal with different personalities that clash. While it didn't, it was a good read. Shelley Hendrix shares incidents from her life- including a "friend" who intentionally served her food Shelley was allergic to- to illustrate her points. 

The book is encouraged to be used with a group of women, or by yourself. I hope it helps you deal with difficult people.

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