Book Review: Rapture by Jacquelyn Frank

So the other day I wrote about another book by Jacquelyn Frank called Pleasure.  This book, Rapture, is actually the 2nd book in a 3 book ‘series.’  I put series in quotations because although these books do tell one larger story, they’re also super easy to read independently of each other.

Reading Rapture after reading Pleasure was a bit odd because I already basically knew what was going to happen – I just didn’t know how.  I still found the book compelling and I definitely got sucked in wanting to know what was going to happen next.  Rapture is actually a bit darker than Pleasure.  There’s more sinister activity going on. 

Again – this book, just like Pleasure, is heavy on the romance part of paranormal romance.  The sex scenes are vividly described and last for several pages.  Again, just like I said about the book Pleasure, I get it if that’s not your gig.  And the same thing still goes… even if she had taken out all the sex stuff, I think the book still would have been good (although to be honest it would have been hard to write this particular story without the sex stuff). 

So far, I have definitely enjoyed this series and I’m more than likely going to purchase the first book in the series (it wasn’t in my Half Price book box that the Husband got me). 

Here’s the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:  The Shadowdwellers live in a realm of darkness and sensuality, where order is prized and sin must be punished. Yet for Magnus, the head priest of Sanctuary, salvation rests with the one woman who can entice him to break every rule…

She Was The Ultimate Temptation

Magnus is a man of contradictions—a spiritual leader in a warrior’s body. To him, laws are for enforcing and visions must be followed—even if that means freeing a beautiful slave and making her his reluctant handmaiden. Betrayed once before, Magnus can barely bring himself to trust another woman. Yet Daenaira’s fiery innocence is drawing them both into a reckless inferno of desire.

 Have you read anything good lately?

September and October Date Nights

Yes – I realize we’re nearly through with November.  I’m a bit late.  I’ve had too many other fun things to write about. 

So for September we didn’t really do an actual date night (and we never do) because both the Hubs and I celebrate our birthdays in September.  Two birthdays plus a date night would just be too much.  So we just celebrate birthdays.  We went out with friends for Italian food and then out to this place called Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar.  We had a lot of fun and even managed to get into a drunken bar brawl (no I’m not joking, no that’s not typical for us, no it wasn’t our fault and no, no one in our group was hurt).  All in all it was a fun and interesting evening.  If you have a Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar in your town you should definitely go.  It’s a blast.  And I promise the likelihood that you’ll get in a fight is little to none.  🙂

For our October date night I’d purchased a Groupon and/or Living Social deal to a Murder Mystery Dessert* Theatre called Murder by Chocolate (http://murderbychocolate.net/) .  It was definitely one of those ‘do it once’ type things but it was quite funny.  It’s good clean fun.  I’d totally take my mom and her girlfriends for her birthday or something.  There were even some tweens there enjoying themselves.  What the Hubs and I didn’t realize was that this is an interactive theatre performance.  As in several people in the ‘audience’ get a role to play.  Of course, lucky me, I got selected.  You’ll never believe what the name of my character was… (if you know me personally this will be even funnier)…  Lotta Mouth.  Yep.  That’s right.  You’d think the guy type cast or something.  Lol.  Truly it really was a lot of fun.  The Hubs and I grabbed dinner at Outback Steakhouse on the way and just made a night of it.  I definitely would suggest this as a super fun date night with your hunny. 

*note there’s also an option for a full dinner theatre at an Italian restaurant if that’s more your style.

Image not from the place we went. Click image for source.

**they even have one of these set up in a castle people!  No joke!  Check it out here.

Side note:  I need your help.  I’m totally and completely out of Groupon / Living Social date nights and have nothing planned for December.  Any ideas????

Window Shopping Wednesday – Tasha McKelvey Handmade Clay Goodness

Hi friends.  So are you guys enjoying my Window Shopping Wednesday posts?  I’m only asking because I want to know if I should continue with them in 2013.  Let me know!

This weeks featured shop:  Tasha McKelvey Handmade Clay Goodness

This is the product that first attracted me to Tasha’s talent.  It’s called the Love Birds Bowl.  It comes in a variety of sizes and colors and I just think this would be so sweet as part of a wedding present (I’d fill it with edible goodies of some kind).

These Aqua Leaf Bobby Pins are fantastic – just enough classy + quirk for my taste.

I think this Wood Grain Tray (comes in several colors) would be really adorable in a bathroom as a place to put your rings while you wash your hands.  AND since it’s wood grain, I don’t even think many men out there would be sad to see this in their bathrooms.

These Feather Earrings are so versatile that you could easily dress them up or down.  I wear a lot of cardigan sets in the winter and I think these would be the perfect touch to go with them.  They come in several colors, but my favorite is white.

If you like to give beautifully crafted ornaments to your friends and family for Christmas you really should consider this Santa Claus Ornament.  What a beauty.

Thanks for shopping with me today!

Please support local or independent shops for your Christmas shopping this year.  You can find incredible goodies on sites like Etsy! (this is not a sponsored post)

Movie Review: Alex Cross

So I suppose I should preface this by saying that I have not read the book Cross by James Patterson (the book from which this movie is based).  I have, however, read several of James Patterson’s other books. 

Here is the synopsis of the movie from Rotten Tomatoes: Alex Cross follows the young homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry), from the worldwide best-selling novels by James Patterson, as he meets his match in a serial killer (Matthew Fox). The two face off in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, but when the mission gets personal, Cross is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits in this taut and exciting action thriller.

Here is the synopsis of the book (Cross) from Barnes & Noble: Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, DC, Police Department when an unknown shooter gunned down his wife, Maria, in front of him. The killer was never found, and the case turned cold, filed among the unsolved drive-bys in D.C.’s rough neighborhoods. Years later, still haunted by his wife’s death, Cross is making a bold move in his life. Now a free agent from the police and the FBI, he’s set up practice as a psychologist once again. His life with Nana Mama, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex is finally getting in order. He even has a chance at a new love. Then Cross’s former partner, John Sampson, calls in a favor. He is tracking a serial rapist in Georgetown, one whose brutal modus operandi recalls a case Sampson and Cross worked together years earlier. When the case reveals a connection to Maria’s death, Cross latches on for the most urgent and terrifying ride of his life.

So not to give anything away that you either haven’t already figured out from the synopses above and/or from any trailers you’ve seen on tv but the long and short of it is this – in the movie, Alex’s wife Maria is killed by a crazy man and he, in turn, goes a wee bit crazy himself and goes after the killer.  That’s the basics. 

The one and only good thing I can say about this movie is that Matthew Fox was incredible.  He absolutely honed in on the ‘crazy vibe’ that he needed in order to accurately portray this character.  He gets two giant thumbs up in my book. 

I cannot say the same for Tyler Perry and to be honest, I was skeptical from the beginning.  I didn’t really think that he would be able to make a seamless transition from playing characters such as Madea into the highly educated ‘high thinker’ that is Alex Cross.  And… he doesn’t.  He just cannot channel the necessary qualities to be a believable Alex Cross. 

There have been two previous movies based on James Patterson books: Along Came A Spider and Kiss The Girls.  In both of these movies, Morgan Freeman played Alex Cross.  Freeman was a much better choice from a psychological standpoint however if you have actually read any of Patterson’s books you know that Cross is a physically imposing man generally in his 30s or 40s (depending on the book).  Freeman is hardly physically imposing nor is he the “correct” age.  Perhaps Denzel Washington would have been a better choice?  He’s relatively the right age and a bit smaller than Cross is portrayed to be in the book but if he buffed up a bit then it’d definitely be believable.  Plus, he has several action/dramas under his belt so at least he’d be relatively familiar with the character (The Book of Eli, Déjà Vu, Man on Fire, and The Bone Collector to name a few).  A coworker who has much more knowledge regarding African American male actors who might fit the bill suggested Michael Jai White.  The point being, Perry was an unfortunate choice for this movie. 

All in all – had Cross been played by a more worthy actor and had the screenplay been closer to the book then perhaps this would have lived up to it’s potential.  In reality, it falls miles short. 

Have you seen this movie?  Did you like it?  Have you seen any of the other James Patterson movies?

What’s your interior decorating style? Take this quiz to find out!

Recently, I have been asking myself this question ALL.THE.TIME.  In fact, it’s sort of driving me a little nutso.  If you read my blog you know that we’re in the middle of renovating and have already started on the master and the living room.  Even though we already have some furniture pieces for these two rooms I’m still struggling to see the end results.  And I feel like I’m losing my mind.  Truthfully it’s much easier for me to tell you what I don’t want rather than to tell you what I do want. 

Enter Home Goods Stylescope.

Do you shop at Home Goods?  I do.  It’s amazing what you can find there sometimes.  I’ve purchased several goodies there as of late.  Anyway, they have this super nifty little quiz on their website called Stylescope where you pick out 5 images that ‘speak’ to you and they, in turn, tell you what your interior decorating style was.  I have to tell you, I was a bit surprised by mine. 

Here are the options of what you could be…

Boho

Classic

Farmhouse Glam

Modern Metro

New Country

Sassy

Set Sail

Socialite

Spa Life

The Traveler

Urban Funk

Vegas Baby

My results?  New Country with a touch of Boho. 

If you’d asked me beforehand I would have told you Farmhouse Glam with a touch of Traveler. 

What stylescope are you???  Were you surprised by your results?  Are you surprised by mine?

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

bloom

hhpweekendlinkparty22

One Artsy Mama

I Heart Nap Time

UndertheTableandDreaming

cit

Book Review: Pleasure by Jacquelyn Frank

So I pulled this book out of the Half Price box o’ books my husband bought me.  I’d never heard of Jacquelyn Frank and let me tell you, if you like paranormal romance that’s heavy on the romance, this writer is for you.  The sex scenes in her books are vividly described and frequent.  It’s more like romantic erotica.  I get it if that’s not your thing.  To be honest, this is the first book that I’ve read in the paranormal romance category that is so focused on the sex.  All that being said however, the story line itself is quite good.  Had she left out the romance (or even just shortened the scenes) I think the book would still have been just as good of a read.  If you’re looking to get your fire burning though then I suggest you pick up a Jacquelyn Frank book today.  She’ll get your motor running. 

This story actually has dual stories running at the same time.  One is between Guin and Malaya and the other is between Sagan and Valera.  In truth, I wish that the Sagan/Valera story had been fleshed out a little further.  I would have liked to know more about them and well… how things were going with them I guess.  There is some light humor in Valera’s character which I appreciated because it’s about her cats and her love for them and let’s just say that I share the same love of furbabies that she does. 

The story between Guin and Malaya is a bit frustrating just in the fact that you wish that Malaya would catch on already!  Truthfully I don’t know that any woman is really that dense. 

There’s definitely some shock factor in the book regarding twists and turns that you don’t see coming.  It’ll keep you on your toes. 

I enjoyed the read enough to pick up another one of her books which I’ll tell you about in a later post. 

Synopsis from Jacquelyn Frank’s website:

Beyond our world lies a land where darkness reigns—the land of the virile, sensual Shadowdwellers. Yet their mysterious abilities are no match for the power of desire…

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE…

As Chancellor of the Shadowdwellers, Malaya’s first duty is to her people. Her bodyguard, Guin, knows this only too well. For tradition’s sake, Malaya must marry, and the thought of this lush, vibrant, woman in a loveless union is impossible for him to bear. Guin loves Malaya—not as a subject loves his queen but as a man craves a woman. And even if he cannot keep her, he’ll show her everything she stands to lose…

Discipline. Penance. Order. A Sanctuary priest’s life revolves around such things. But when Sagan is taken captive and thrust into the Alaskan wilderness, he encounters a woman who challenges his faith and his self-control. Valera is a natural born witch who almost lost herself to the lure of dark magic. By rights, Sagan should shun her, but convention will count for nothing in the face of a passion that could change the realms of Shadowscape forever…

What are you reading these days?

Happy Turkey Day!

Hope that wherever you are you’re enjoying good food with people that you love and giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings of this life.

Window Shopping Wednesday – Fossil (watches for men)

Can you guys believe Christmas is just right around the corner?  I kind of hate that most of us seem to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas and treat Thanksgiving like the red-headed stepchild but that’s an issue for another day…

I was thinking about my husband today and although we’re not going to exchange Christmas gifts this year because we’re pooling our money to buy something we both want for the house (hint: you can find it in this post) I still like to look at different gifts I’d like to buy for him at some point.  I love buying gifts for other people.  There’s something so satisfying for me in finding the perfect something for someone.

One of my husband’s favorite things is watches.  He loves them.  He covets them.  He strokes them affectionately when he sees one he wants.  A couple of years ago I purchased him a Fossil watch that he loves.  It’s more the casual/funky side.  On our wedding day I presented him with a lovely dress watch from Citizen that he wears whenever he wants to dress up and feel snazzy.  I’d love to get him some more watches and in time, I’m sure I will.  In the meantime though, let’s peruse the Fossil website for all sorts of goodies shall we?

This weeks featured shop:  Fossil watches for men


Ansel Leather Watch – Black


Franklin Leather Watch – Brown


Cuff Leather Watch – Tan


Ansel Automatic Stainless Steel Watch – Black


Mechanical Twist Leather Watch – Brown


Keaton Leather Watch – Grey

Would your husband be a watch junkie if you let him?

Movie Review: Gone

Synopsis (from Rotten Tomatoes) :
In the new suspense thriller Gone, Jill Parrish (Amanda Seyfried) comes home from a night shift to discover her sister Molly has been abducted. Jill, who had escaped from a kidnapper a year before, is convinced that the same serial killer has come back for her sister. Afraid that Molly will be dead by sundown, Jill embarks on a heart-pounding chase to find the killer, expose his secrets and save her sister.

So the hubs and I watched this movie the other night and we were relatively excited when it came in the mail because we both thought it had a great storyline.  I mean, you’ve gotta admit – it’s got wicked potential.  I was really looking forward to seeing Amanda Seyfried outside of her ‘normal’ passive role and kicking a little bit of kidnapper ass. 

This movie clips along at a relatively quick pace which is nice because it keeps you from getting bored.  It also keeps you guessing regarding who the bad guy really is because there are several shady characters in the movie.  Sadly – that’s where the good things end.  Yes, it clips along at a good pace but then it comes to a screeching halt at the end, without actually leaving you fulfilled.  She confronts the bad guy, but it’s rather anticlimactic and (spoiler alert) you never figure out exactly who he is or why he was hunting her in the first place. 

It’s a significant letdown that after all Jill’s running, and all the guessing Seyfried makes us do, the climactic confrontation plays like an uninspired afterthought.  ~  Tom Russo / Boston Globe

You’ll sincerely dislike cops by the end of the movie because of the inept way they handle her case, or, more accurately, don’t handle the case they think she’s faking. 

In truth, Seyfried’s character seems to handle the entire thing a little too calmly.  I’d expect more freaking out, or more desire for vengance.  Perhaps I just think it’s strange because I’d act differently.  Who knows.  I’ve seen her do much better acting in movies like Letters to Juliet, Dear John, Mama Mia, and Mean Girls

It’s one of those Hollywood movies that goes in one eye and out the other.  ~  Derek Malcolm / This is London

If you’re looking for a thriller that isn’t really all that thrilling (and there’s no gore, just in case you’re worried about that) then this is your movie.  If you actually want something to give you a good mind twist may I suggest sticking with classics like Silence of the Lambs. 

A psychological thriller lacking in both psychological complexity and thrills.  ~  Simon Weaving / Screenwize

Have you seen this movie?  What did you think?

Recipe Review: French Onion Pan Rolls

Did you grow up eating bread with nearly every dinner meal?  I’m fairly certain this is a regional thing but here in the south it seems as though a lot of families serve some sort of bread with dinner.  My family, however, was not that way.  My husbands family though is a different story.  When we first got together he would come over several nights a week and I would cook dinner.  I remember him asking a few times ‘where’s the bread?’ and I kept thinking ‘what bread?’  I finally told him that my family didn’t serve bread with every dinner unless it was Italian food – that almost always came with garlic bread.

Occasionally I’ll try to incorporate bread into whatever I’m cooking for dinner but usually only if it calls for it.  Spaghetti with garlic bread, chili with cornbread, etc.

The other day I mentioned that I made Bean and Pasta Soup (which was delish) and I decided to serve these nifty rolls to go alongside.  It was a great pairing!

You can view the original source of the recipe here.

French Onion Pan Rolls

Yield:  20 rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • ½ cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Divide the bread dough into 20 portions; shape each into a ball (note: grease wax paper or foil to ease sticking).  In a shallow bowl, combine cheese and soup mix.  Place butter in another shallow bowl.
  2. Roll each ball in butter, then in the cheese mixture.  Arrange in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  3. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from dish to wire rack.  Serve warm.

THOUGHTS

  • You definitely want to put your parmesan cheese and onion soup in a food processor and pulse until ground up.  You get a much more even coating this way.  (Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor you can double bag in a sandwich bag, squeeze out the air, then beat it with a meat tenderizing hammer).
  • If you’re not a baker (ahem, mom) you can still totally make these since you’re using pre-made dough.  All you have to do is allow enough time for your frozen bread to thaw.  Check the packaging!  It takes about 5 hours so this is super important!
  • These cook up nice and soft with this cheesy crust on the outside.  Absolutely delicious!  They were just as good the next day wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven for a few minutes.  Husband is already asking when we can have these again!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Bloom Designs
Chef in Training
Delightful Order
Ginger Snap Crafts
Home Stories A to Z
I Heart Naptime
My Girlish Whims
One Artsy Mama
Skip to my Lou
This Gal Cooks
Uncommon Designs
Under the Table and Dreaming