24 April 2014

Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner

I found a great addition to your summer reading list:

Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner by Lisa Wingate is a charming Texas romance complete with a dreamy cowboy, a large, soulful dog that just won't go away, and a cast of quirky Texans to help our unhinged heroine along her life-changing journey.

While I could cook up my own summary, this one on the back cover is what drew me in:

Big Lizard Bottoms--where getting hitched is a local industry--is not any place Lindsey Attwood, a play-it-safe paleontologist who's sworn off romance, ever expected to find herself. She's here posing as a horse psychology student to help recover dinosaur tracks stolen from a local guest ranch. After only a day at the ranch, things start spiraling out of control. Her horse-therapy horse hates her, she's been adopted by a huge stray dog with a bad reputation, and there's this local rancher who has her all moonstruck. After years of digging around in the past, Lindsey's wondering if it's finally time to see what the present has to offer.

Doesn't it sound like PG fun? Sometimes you just need a light-hearted, kissing only, cowboy love with a mystery thrown in for good measure. Lindsey's character is frustratingly overprotective and borderline neurotic about her 8 year old daughter being in Mexico with her father, but I had to keep reading because I wanted to watch Lindsey let go and evolve. The large, smelly dog that won't leave Lindsey alone is reminiscent of Barnabus from The Mitford Series and adds some light hearted fun into the mix. 

Overall, the story is anything but unpredictable - which I didn't mind as I was hoping for a relaxing read - and the ending wraps up almost too neatly. However, the writing is clever, easy, and enjoyable, though I doubt a lot of the dialogue would translate well to film. Yet Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner is the perfect summer book and has made me a definite fan of Lisa Wingate.

11 February 2014

Vision In White: Book One of The Bride Quartet series

I'm back. Like a Hollywood film serial killer that just won't die no matter how many times you shoot, stab, or burn him, eventually turning the poor psycho into an actual monster from Hell, I have returned.

To review a book.

How anti-climactic.

Yet I felt it a borderline necessity to write my review of Nora Roberts's romance Vision In White asap because Friday is Valentine's Day. I mean-- duh.

(thanks for the photo Random Website)

Because of repeated wanderings throughout the library staring at books, judging their covers, checking them out and then not reading them, I went to Facebook and whined for something fun and romantic to read. I'm an emotional reader and could not figure out what book would fit my mood. I got a few great titles that I will review at a later date (you know-- WHEN I'VE READ THEM), but Vision In White - courtesy of my friend Kellie - stood out. Mainly because I like the shoe on the cover.

First of all, Vision In White popped my Nora Roberts cherry.

Her books are EVERYWHERE and I knew she wrote mysteries as JD Robb, but I thought the Roberts books were smarmy romance novels. And even though I secretly want to read a smarmy romance novel despite 50 Shades of Grey making my eyes bleed, Nora Roberts never entered my brain.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when all of my misguided, ignorant prejudices were proven wrong with this lovely little romance between a wedding photographer and a professor.

Mackensie (Mac) Elliot grew up in a broken home thanks to divorced parents comprised of an absentee trust fund baby father and a beautiful, selfish, dramatic mother. She and her three best friends now run a wedding business out of the estate owned by her best friend Parker Brown. Mac loves her job and friends, enjoys men, but does not believe herself capable of true love or wanting true love thanks to Mommy Dearest.

Enter Carter Maguire. Bookish, handsome, clumsy, awkward in a charming way, and sufferer of a major crush on Mac in high school. At this point, we still have the plot to a bad porno but with sweet characters and witty dialog. There are no surprises in this book. And that's not the point. You like Mac, you want to see her evolve into a woman who will finally stand up to the nightmare that is her mother and realize that she deserves happiness, however messy. It's about the journey.

The witty flirtation between Mac and Carter made me smile, as did Carter's total inability to smooth talk Mac - it was cute. I'm excited to read the other three books in The Bride Quartet series and watch the other three women meet the men of their dreams. Mac is a very relatable character, making up for Carter's unrealistic perfection……. which makes him a great guy for female readers to fantasize about - I mean, he rescued a three legged cat and named him Triad! *swoon*

I also enjoyed the sex scenes. Well written, not too detailed, and focused on "making love" versus "having sex," a rarity these days. The most annoying part about the book - and I have a feeling this applies to many of Roberts's works - is the blatant product placement. It never occurred to me that brands would purchase advertising space in books, but when you're an author as popular as Nora Roberts, that's not a half bad idea.

I found it tacky.

Overall, Vision In White is like reading your favorite romantic comedy film with a bit of good sex, some cheesiness, and a character study for good measure. A good book worth curling up with a blanket, glass of wine, and chocolate to read on Valentine's Day.

04 October 2013

P&P September Post (late as usual....)

Okay but I have an excuse: I've been CRAZY job hunting and just started a new job at a Christian bookstore. We also celebrated Michael's birthday on the 24th with tasty Mexican food, cocktails, and cherry pie!!!

And I beat Diablo III..... so there's that.

Anywho, I DID manage to read and finish a P&P JAFF book: Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris.

At the wedding breakfast celebrating the nuptials of Mr. & Mrs. Darcy-- and of course the Bingleys-Caroline Bingley does her damnedest to steal Elizabeth's thunder by announcing her engagement to a rich, friendly American. Keeping in line with Caroline's theme of "whirlwind romance," they plan to be married in a week, resulting in both the Bingleys and Darcys delaying their honeymoons in order to attend the event. Unfortunately Caroline's marital happiness is short-lived after several incidents of bizarre behavior frighten her betrothed, family, and the Darcys. Is Caroline Bingley really going insane, or are far sinister motives at work? It's a mystery only Mr. & Mrs. Darcy can solve.


I enjoyed Bebris's writing, capturing both Elizabeth's wit as well as the newlywed dynamic between her and Darcy. And by that I should clarify that I don't mean sex though there's some cute flirting; it's the feeling out of each other's personalities and learning to work as a husband/wife team. The story itself was a fun, easy read with a few eerie moments and a couple intense scenes... not to mention a bit of murder and intrigue! Putting the Darcys in a mystery is a clever idea and worked well.

However, it was predictable which is a problem I run into a lot with JAFF. There was one supernatural twist at the end that threw me because the book doesn't have a supernatural tone, and I'm curious to see if Bebris carries that over into the rest of the series. That's right: SERIES. There are 6 total books in this mystery series, each one involving characters from every Austen novel. I've begun Suspense and Sensibility and so far I'm enjoying the direction of the plot. I'm hoping Bebris's storytelling matures as the I continue through each book.

23 September 2013

2013 Emmys Fashion

The 2013 Emmys were one of the better award shows I've seen in the last several years. It was nicely paced, touching, sometimes funny, and overall entertaining.

Unlike the Fashion.

This year's Emmys were brought to you by the color RED.

Carla Gugino & Michelle Dockery

Lucila Sola & Christine Baranski

Jennifer Westfeldt & Sofia Veragara

While Sofia Vergara's dress is pretty and she's a beautiful woman, Sofia's ample cleavage looks as if it's going all "Hulk Smash!" through her dress. 

                                   Winner                                                                  Not the Winner
Kaley Cuoco & Kelly Osbourne

Kaley Cuoco stuns in her structured maroon Vera Wang with a subtle pointed sweetheart neckline, sultry matching eye shadow, and lovely hair. Whole package right here folks! 
Then there's Kelly. Too much pleating, terrible cut of the sleeves, and the back is bedazzled, but what mercilessly murders the dress is Kelly's horrific hair.

Don't forget "Pregnant Red"

Brooke Anderson & Gail Simmons

Did a memo go out to all the pregnant attendees?

Obviously Morena Baccarin champions Pregnant Women Everywhere for choosing a gown that's the right cut, shade, and material for her body... and not pairing it with purple shoes, *hint hint* Brooke Anderson. Congratulations Morena you win Bragging Rights!!!!

Maybe it's the stylists, maybe it's the designers, or maybe I'm sick of solid colored gowns with slight trains and spaghetti straps. I mean, come on! These actresses get to wear this stuff for free or have the money to spend on expensive dresses and they come up with prom bombs like these two:

Elisabeth Moss's dress looks cheap (and that lipstick!!) while Anna Gunn is looking a little "Mother of the Bride." I'm sure these dresses cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney, yet Sarah Silverman manages to outshine both these women in a $60 dress:

She isn't even close to "Best Dressed," but Silverman looks great and gets extra points for balancing in those atrocious heels - her feet look like horse hooves. 

You're starting to see it now, aren't you?

Speaking of cheap [looking] dresses...

Amanda Anka & Brooke Burke-Charvet

Okay, so Amanda's dress would be cute on a 20 year old. The strapless hi-lo dress ages her and is just barely saved by those pointed toe heels. 

Can I just say: I do not like a curved heel, I don't care how "en vogue" it is - it looks dumb.

Brooke's gown needs different styling. That messy do contrasts too much with the clean lines and structure of the gown, not to mention she's drowning in eye-makeup and silver accessories. Simmer down, Brooke!

So who did Black & White right?
A 19 year old. Way to go Morgan Saylor! But please.... find a new hair stylist!

And now...

Battle of the Broads!

Beautiful women facing off against one another in a Red Carpet Showdown.

(omg it's so intense)

 Amy Poehler vs. Robin Wright - High Necks and Capped Sleeves
There's an intensity about Robin Wright in this dress: it's classic black... but from the future. Smokey eyes and the longer pixie cut pair nicely. Amy is shapely and fit with a tight, pulled back part but the detail at the hips is distracting.
Winner: Robin Wright.

 Vnecks and cutouts 
Host Shaun Robinson vs. Host Cat Deeley
There's something about Cat Deeley's fashion choices that's always a bit off, in this case it's the sequins and cut of the dress. Shaun looks lovely but that beehive seems like it'll topple over any minute.
Winner: Shaun Robinson

Host Giuliana Rancic vs Host Maria Menounos
Giuliana is grossly thin. I'd rather see her covered up than stare at every uneven surface of her bones. Maria is lovely and rocking quite the elegant fishtail braid and beyond gorgeous bling.

Christina Hendricks & Alfre Woodard 
Alfre chose the wrong color combo and the dress hangs limp. Christina is champion of working those curves. Winner!!!

Lena Heady and Julianne Hough
Sheer is hard to pull off no matter what, but Julianne is just a friggin' mess, as if she was interrupted from disrobing when they opened the door to the limo as she arrived at the red carpet. Lena is edgy in general so it's not surprising she'd go for a risque look.... but compared to Hough she's a church nun.

 Those added details...
It's as if someone who loved hot gluing crafts got hold of Aubrey Plaza's boring dress and began adding fake flower petals for a touch of color then stopped. On the other hand, the detail on Kerry Washington's dress creates a lovely, whimsical gown.

Sandrine Holt looks as sad as that stringy material hanging on her body. Kate Mara has made white interesting but there's a lot going on. Neither win.

 Tiny Necklines
Why women insist on necklines that make their busts appear teeny tiny I will never know. Cobie Smulders in blush still looks beautiful while Zosia Mamet looks as sad as that tie dyed mess of a dress. It's cool if you want to be different but show some damn pride in yourself!

Blue Mermaid
This is one of those times Tina Fey decided to look good for the show - and she does but it's nothing special. Rocsi Diaz is smokin' and the dress reminds me of flower petals.

Beige is boring - that is all.

Sister vs Sister

Though Sarah Hyland is the stylish on-screen sister of nerdy Ariel Winter's character in Modern Family, her over-tanned body and mannequin like, botox injected face (fake boobs too?) cheapen the lackluster green gown. Whoever is telling these young starlets to get plastic surgery and botox needs to shut their faces and rethink their priorities
Ariel in contrast looks fresh, young, and elegant in pink chiffon - hands down winner.

Off-screen sisters Zooey and Emily Deschanel each put their twist on dusty blue gowns. Emily looks classic in lace and a loose up-do while Zooey's 60's inspired hair and makeup add glamour to an interesting gown. DRAW.

 Hot Messes

Gia Coppola
Besides the unkempt hair, terrible structuring of the dress, and poor color choice, the shadow on the material makes it look like she has.......... an erection.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Jessica Pare and the wrinkled material dress that appears to be eating her!
(but the shoes are fab)

Some people wrap themselves in gold foil and call it a dress. That's cool.

Then there's this....
I don't..... um.... I really have no idea what to say.  
Just say no to drugs, kids.

I think Lena Dunham's choices might be part of ironic comedy... I hope. This is just terrible, made worse by that makeup and horrible haircut.

Hey Claire Danes! Nice sternum! 
Seriously, how can you wear no bra yet still have boob spillage? Nothing is right about this.


On a positive note, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as beautiful as ever. This woman does not age!

Rose Byrne - who is beyond TINY (written in all caps makes that ironic!!) - is simply amazing.

 Guess who's having a bad hair day?

Betsy Brandy and Vera Farmiga!

 These heads belong on different bodies: 

(A little dark Game of Thrones and True Blood humor for you all) But seriously, the dresses are nice, the hair and makeup are nice.... they just don't belong together.

So Close and Yet...

Julie Bowen looks nice but the peach color washes her out and the material on the bottom is swallowing her tiny frame. Malin Ackerman is okay... but the color is wrong.

On TV I didn't mind Connie Britton in this dress because I didn't notice the crushed velvet. Ugh.... crushed velvet looks good on NO ONE.

So now it's time for Best and Worst Dressed.


Congrats Julianne Hough! You are the Worst Emmys Dresser of 2013!!! Your dress makes me sad and you like you're wearing granny-panties. Learn from this.


Zooey Deschanel!
Everything about her is elegant, vivacious, and still unique to Zooey. Well done!

So that's that. I hope you've enjoyed this Fashion Post as it's taken me hours to write the damn thing! Leave comment and tell me your hits and misses on the Emmys Red Carpet... or just say hi.