The Fixed Trilogy ~ a review

ImageEvery now and then a series comes along that knocks your socks off. This has happened to me more than once. It started with Fifty Shades, continued with Crossfire and ended with the Gabriel series…or so I thought. The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige deserves to be put on the top shelf with the above mentioned reads because it is, in a word, FANTASTIC.

The series begins as most do – boy sees girl and wants her, bad. Girl sees boy and thinks he’s stunning…and dangerous and while I should run far away I just can’t. But, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. We meet Alayna Withers first – a bright and beautiful night club assistant manager with a, shall we say, checkered past. Then in walks Hudson Pierce – a stunningly handsome, successful CEO whose past is anything but normal. Alayna agrees to quite a strange “arrangement” with Hudson and the rest…well, the rest is quite amazing.

The storyline throughout these books is relatively simple – can two damaged souls find love with one another? I say ‘relatively simple’ because while the base of the story is simple, the rest is not. Alayna and Hudson have incredible walls to scale and just as soon as they make it to the top of one, someone pushes them off. The two are met with sinister ex-lovers, defiant family members, conniving co-workers, menacing media and on top of it all – their pasts sneak up to bite them in the ass at every turn.

These three books had me upside down, inside out, confused, turned-on, laughing, loving and loathing all at the same time. I also couldn’t put them down. I read the entire series in four days…that’s a new record for me. The books are FULL of swoon-worthy moments, like when Hudson tells Alayna, “I’ve never been more serious, Alayna. You’re the first person I’ve ever met who makes me believe I might not be crazy. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

But, I warn you…things are not always what they seem…

And that, right there, may be the best thing about this series.

 

If you enjoy hot, sexy, panty-ripping (and dripping) story lines – this trilogy is a MUST READ.

Find Laurelin on Facebook, Twitter and her website (where you’ll find information about “Hudson” scheduled for release in July!!!!!)

 

*Note – if you do not download the trilogy as a set, the order of reading is “Fixed In You”, “Found In You” and “Forever In You”

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On the road again…

ImageThis Saturday I’ll be running my second half marathon.  A week ago I began having pain in my right Achilles.  Yesterday is snowed 7.5 inches.  Welcome to my life ~ always interesting, rarely easy.

When I’m met with times of difficulty such as this I remember a few things: 

1. I remember I’m damn lucky to still be able to run.  I’ve been pushing my body to the extreme for years, running four full marathons while in college (during which I was a bartender and a server working all hours of the day/night), still running a few days a week over the summer, and competing in road races when I can.  My running career started as a gangly Jr. High kid (Thanks to Lor Dickes) who didn’t think it was possible to run one time around the track in under a minute and a half.  That turned into a passion for running that still lights a fire in me.  I grew into a successful cross country and track athlete through my high school career collecting medals and ribbons along the way.  It’s been 15 years since graduation – and I still find time to run…and it still comes relatively easy to me.  I’m damn lucky. 

2. Some people would give anything to run Saturday.  Or any day for that matter.  The day after the Boston Marathon bombings last year I was crabby.  I was tired.  I was stressed.  I was sore.  I did not want to run.  But, I reminded myself there were hundreds of people in Boston, and all over this great country, that would give anything to get out and log a few miles.  So, I put on my Boston Marathon shirt (nope, never ran, just got the shirt) and took off.  It hurt.  It was one of those runs that never really feels good…but you do it anyway…BECAUSE YOU CAN.  I never forget that.  During a particularly difficult mile during the Chicago Marathon years ago I looked up to see a billboard “Some people won’t even drive 26.2 miles today”.  *Smirk* That’s right, some people won’t even drive as many miles as I run.  Some people won’t run today – because they can’t – they may not even be able to walk.  I’m damn lucky.

3. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” ~ Steve Prefontaine.  Pre has been a staple in my running career since high school.  As a runner, you constantly look and listen for legends.  Some legends are made right before your eyes – like another Summer who ran for a large school near my hometown, she was blonde and fast and my hero.  I watched her fall to her knees at the State Track meet during extreme heat one May…it literally took my breath away…and reminded me no one is immune to the conditions.  Some legends you can only read about, or watch movies about, because they’re no longer with us.  That’s Pre.  He was 24 when he died, but never wasted a day of his life.  He pushed himself to the limit – always.  If anyone was going to beat him, they were going to “have to bleed to do it”.  He was a true competitor.  He never gave up, never gave in.  When I’m feeling like I don’t have what it takes, a simple “Steve Prefontaine Quotes” Google search reminds me – I’m damn lucky.

4. Hebrews 12:1 “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”  I was invited to run my first half marathon with my step-father, Mark, a couple of years ago.  We decided to register about 8 weeks ahead of time…I was not in shape for 13 miles.  Luckily, the weather at that time of year was very cooperative so I got out to run just about every day.  My mileage moved up easily and I was ready…but I was also anxious.  A few days before the race my Daily Bible Verse popped up on my phone, it was Hebrews 12:1.  I read it over and over and over until I had memorized it.  It became my motto for everyday life – and especially for the half.  The day of the half, I wrote the verse on my arm so I could look down upon it during difficult miles.  I found the verse staring me in the face during the run – on T-shirts and banners and posters.  It was everywhere.  HE was everywhere.  I was being lifted up and taken care of.  I finished faster than I could have ever imagined – 2 hours, 11 minutes.  Not to shabby for someone who only had 8 weeks to train…I was damn lucky.

So, today, I will use the RICE method on my Achilles.  I will read quotes from Pre.  I will study Hebrews 12:1.  I will mentally remind myself I CAN DO THIS.  I will run on Saturday, in the rain, in the cold, in the snow…whatever the day may bring.  I WILL FINISH.  And I will celebrate with my family and friends afterwards.  Because, I will remind myself, I’M DAMN LUCKY.

Capturing the Cowboy’s Heart – a review

ImageHot, Fast and Sexy are three words I would use to describe this book (and subsequently how I imagine I most cowboys). This is the first book of Lindsey’s I’ve read, and I’m certainly glad I gave it, and her, a shot. 

This book is the story of the meddling reporter, Lacy Dalton, and angry (in a very sexy way) cowboy Cade Tyler who lost his wife to a car accident two years previous. Cade is an ex-rodeo man who now spends his days looking after his ranch with the help of his best friend, Burk. Lacy arrives on scene to do a story on Cade, his rodeo career, and his life since he’s left riding. Her arrival is a complete surprise to Cade (well done, Burk, well done) and Cade, of course, resists. Lacy, being the stubborn reporter she is, gets Cade to do the interview by agreeing to be his ranch hand for as long as she stays…not an easy task for a city girl.

Lacy, Cade, Burk, and the resident mutt embark on an adventure that’s full of highs and lows of all kinds. Cade finds himself torn between the grief and memories of his late wife, and his new, uncomfortably real feelings for Lacy. While Lacy struggles with writing a story that could help her career, but possibly hurt Cade in the process.  Lacy not only finds her self falling for Cade, but for life on the ranch in general.

As I read about this dynamic couple, my emotions ran the gamut – anxious, curious, turned-on, sad, worried, and happy. What I think I enjoyed most about this book was just when I thought it was over, I got more!   Between Lacy’s never-ending descriptions of how hot Cade looks in his jeans, to the way Cade fantasizes about Lacy’s lips – this book will certainly turn up the heat wherever you are reading.

Lindsey does a great job of letting the characters write the story for her – she doesn’t force or manipulate situations just to add pages to the book.  Her writing is free and easy like a summer day and her “heat” is right up there with other books I’ve read – giving us a little taste of what life with a cowboy is all about. YeeHaw!!

As I said before, this is a fairly fast read and would be a wonderful beach/vacation book as we head into summertime all around the country.

Find Lindsey on Twitter, Facebook and on her website where you can read all about her other books and see pictures of toilet seat serving dishes.

Another book deal…

ImageJust a quick note!!!  One of my favorite books – and the inspiration for this blog (review below) – is ON SALE for a limited time!! 

When you go to Amazon to get your copy of “Mr. Good Enough” by Jamie Farrell, also pick up a copy of “Playing for Love at Deep Haven” by Katy Regnery which is on sale for $1.00.  For less than a cup of coffee you can get two amazing books by two amazing authors!!

You’re going to have such a great weekend ladies…especially with Trent and Zach to keep you company! 

P.S. Zach and Violet are SCOTCHING HOT…don’t say I didn’t warn you!!! {wink}

A cheap man…

ImageNow that I have your attention…FOR A LIMITED TIME you can snag the wonderful “Mr. Good Enough” by Jamie Farrell for only .99 cents via Amazon!  I was introduced to Jamie by Katy Regnery, and we all know how I feel about Katy, so I knew right off the bat I would enjoy Jamie’s work.

I have not done a proper review of Mr. Good Enough (shame on me!) so I’ll do a brief overview here.  This book is a great read full of sweet, funny, difficult and cringe-worthy moments.  It is the story of Maddie, who is doing her best to build a dating site while trying to get her own dating life in order and Trent, the high school basketball star returned from the dead.  The dead, you ask?  Am I serious?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out! {wink}

Trent and Maggie have history – mostly awkward, embarrassing history – and it’s quite fun to read about their reunion from both perspectives.  It’s not a fast read as Jamie is amazing with setting scenes, developing characters, writing about their history, and getting us really invested in every part of the story.  This is a perfect read if you have a rainy day inside or a car ride/flight ahead of you.

Trust me – you will not be disappointed in this read.  While it may have been a bit long for my taste, there was never a moment when I was bored (as has happened with other books).   And for .99 cents what do you have to lose?!  Give “Mr. Good Enough” a chance and I’ll think you’ll find it’s much better than “just good enough”.

Visit Jamie on the web, Facebook (her kid moments will make you LOL!) and Twitter.

Fire at Twilight – a review

ImageThis is a brand new author for me and I’m so pleased to say I really enjoyed this book, the first in the “The Firefighters of Darling Bay” series. This story follows the journey of acupuncturist, Grace and firefighter, Tox. (Come on ladies, who doesn’t love a firefighter?!) The two could not be more different if they tried, but they find themselves drawn to one another in a seemingly magnetic way.

Tox is rough, tough, crass and all man. Grace is an all-natural fixer by nature who is constantly working to make everyone’s lives “better”…or so she thinks. Grace and Tox are introduced in a rather embarrassing way – as the air conditioner in Graces’ clinic starts on fire, she attempts to put it out and upon finishing the job promptly passes out into Tox’s arms (not a bad place to be by all standards). Tox finds himself constantly thinking about Grace – a new feeling for him – and does his best to romance her while Grace tries to come to terms with the way everything about Tox makes her hot, and clumsy.

This story moves along at a rapid pace (which I very much enjoy) and makes for a wonderful beach/vacation read. The writing is witty, sweet, and hot in a few parts. The bedroom scenes are “closed door” making her writing very similar to Katy Regnery’s “Heart of Montana” series.

The greatest thing about Lila – she actually works at a firehouse! She’s a dispatcher! *Hey, Lila, is there a “Bring a Reader to Work day”??

You can find Lila on Twitter, Facebook (GO THERE NOW! It’s full of HOT firefighters!!) and the web.

P.S. The three book Darling Bay boxed set is available via Amazon and other online retailers. Visit her website for more information.

By Proxy – a review

ImageThis book kicks off the “Heart of Montana” series and it’s the perfect beginning to the Lindstrom Family journey – with little sister Jenny.

Jenny is the prototypical small-town girl – a smart, funny and beautiful teacher with three very big, and very protective, brothers (all swoon-worthy I may add). She agrees to stand proxy for her best friend Ingrid who is stationed overseas, pregnant, and desperate to find a way to marry Kristian who is in Afghanistan.  Enter Sam Kelley.  Sam is the prototypical city-slicker – hot, charming, and getting on Jenny’s last nerve by being late for the proxy wedding vows.

When Sam finally arrives, an hour too late to complete the vows, Jenny finds herself literally falling for him. When the pair are told they will not be able to speak the proxy vows until Monday, Sam agrees to follow Jenny to her hometown and spend the weekend.  There the pair begin a weekend that is so damn sweet it will make your teeth hurt!!

I fell completely in love with Sam and Jenny.  Their story, their banter, and their pure connection as a couple were amazingly written. Even though I knew how their story would end (because I read this book last instead of first) – I still loved reading every word of it. The other totally awesome part about this book is we get teeny tiny glimpses into the lives of the Lindstrom boys – Lars, Nils and Erik – who I’ve become to love through their own stories. It was great to read a bit about each of them before their lives were turned upside down by great women.  *NOTE – the Heart of Montana series can easily be read as stand-alone novels. 

Because this is Katy’s first book, readers of her most recent works will find this to be different – very full of sweet, and very little heat. However, it works perfectly for this story because Jenny is so darn sweet and Sam will do just about anything to keep her…including extinguishing his own fires to make her feel safe and comfortable.

This is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys a super sweet winter romance without bedroom scenes.

Read my reviews of the other Heart of Montana books (Midsummer Sweetheart and See Jane Fall) both here on my blog and on Amazon.