Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Let's face it, I'm a contemporary, category, women's fiction and romance/suspense reader.  However, this movie has something for all,  It is a romance, family saga and a drama and action you can't believe.  It's R rated for a reason.  There were some "bedroom" hard to watch but due to the storyline, necessary.  A few scenes and the subject matter I had to "brace" myself but it all fit together like a puzzle.

Excellent movie.  Went out to dinner tonight with friends and then to a movie.  Very mild New Years this year.  Now just waiting for the fireworks from the Space Needle.  Happy New Year everyone!


A sensation across Europe—millions of copies sold

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

Meet the Author from Barnes and Noble:

Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor-in-chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for his Millennium novels, a trilogy of thrillers that became international bestsellers.


Born in Västerbotten in northern Sweden in 1954, Stieg Larsson had a professional career that bears a striking resemblance to that of the protagonist of his Millennium thrillers, Mikael Blomkvist. Beginning as a graphic designer for the news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), Larsson went on to become the chief editor of Expo, the magazine published by the Expo Foundation, an organization he helped establish in 1995 to combat racism and the Swedish right-wing extremist movement.

Inspired by an old joke shared with a colleague at TT, Larsson admitted he started writing the Millennium novels -- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and Castles in the Sky (working English title) -- just for fun. Describing them as "pension insurance," Larsson said he enjoyed the process of fiction writing so much that he didn't make contact with a publisher until he had completed the first two and had a third under way. Though Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 and never saw any of his books in print, all three were subsequently published in Scandinavia and continental Europe to great acclaim. He left behind the unfinished manuscript for a fourth book in the series.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Today I feel blessed  to share this holiday with my mother and children.  Wishing you all a Happy Christmas or whatever you're celebrating this December.  Thanks for your visit to this blog.  In advance, Wishing you a happy and joyous New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lucy King - The Crown Affair (Yours, Hot and Royal)

This was such a fun and wonderful royal romance to read.  It reminded me of what I've fantasized about the British royalty William and Kate.  Throughout their wedding and the television specials, I was fascinated about how "normal" they appeared and how gracious.

So when I began the Crown Affair by author Lucy King and after reading her behind the book story at I(Heart)Presents, I was even more fascinated.  Lucy didn't disappoint me with her characters Laura and Matt.  It started out with Laura having her breath sucked right out from her when she watched this fabulous specimen of a man chopping wood.  He was bare chested, bulging muscles, and working outside of a manor she had been dying to see the inside of the place.  The manor was known for it's unique archecture.   Matt was the man she mistook for being the grounds keeper.  A man she had a one night stand with.  The very same man that thought she was a reporter looking for a story.

Circumstances in the end, had her travelling to a foreign country, the island of Sassania where she was to restore some of the crumbling palace.  Who should she run into but Matt, the actual King of Sassania.  Let's just say I could immediately tell I was going to love their story and that their romance would be a hot one!  Lucy King didn't disappoint.  She put up road blocks for this lovely couple and in the end, giving Laura her charming prince (in this case, King).  If you love royal romances, then you'll adore this one!

Back of the Book

Close encounters of the royal kind

After being made redundant and finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Laura decides it's time to take charge of her life. However, the last thing she expects is for the new Laura to end up having wild, naked fun with the gorgeous guy next door…

She virtually runs away afterward in shame—but so what? She soon gets a new job, on the Mediterranean island of Sassania, no less! But the island has a new king—aka Laura's guy next door! Now they're both in trouble, for King Matt should be focusing on affairs of the state, not on reigniting a hot affair of his own…

The amazing Lucy talks about her Royals at I(Heart)Presents.

The Pregnancy Contract - Yvonne Lindsay

After years of being away from home, can you imagine what it would be like to find out your father had died and that your home and family business no longer existed.  That your former lover now owned the business and the estate.  That you also no longer had your trust fund?  Top that off, Wade Collins, the man you once loved, the father of your child believed that you terminated your pregnancy even though you miscarried?

Emotional doesn't even describe the first chapters of The Pregnancy Contract.  It was obvious that Piper Mitchell only wanted to be loved.  When her mother died, her father distanced himself from Piper.  All she wanted was to be loved and to have a place in the family business.   However, her father in his own way probably thought he was doing his daughter a favor by pampering her.  Needless to say, he hurt her badly by putting his trust in her lover and the son he never had, Wade Collins.  In the end, Piper had begged Wade to follow her to Europe but Wade made the choice to stay and help run Mitchell Exports.  She loved him so much and when she miscarried their child, she was heart broken and alone.  A father who she felt didn't love her and the man she loved who turned his back on her.  So she left heart broken but in the end picked herself up and devoted her life to helping others whether it was nursing the sick or tending to babies and she used her trust fund to help the less fortunate.

However, upon her father's death and meeting with the attorney she found out that Wade not only owned her family home, he owned the business.  Her trust fund was gone, her father due to his illness and in an attempt to seek special treatments lost his fortune to Wade who had loaned him money.  Wade wanted her to settle her debt immediately, which of course she couldn't.  So he came up with a bizarre proposal........he wanted Piper to have his child, giving him an heir.  He was bitter because he thought years earlier that she had terminated her pregnancy and he now demanded she, at all costs, give him that child.  She could live at the Mitchell home and even work at Mitchell Exports and if she wanted, because God help him he still wanted her.

Talk about a mess and an emotional roller coaster.  They would see each other at work each day, she agreed in the end, to have his baby and she realized she still loved him.  However, he wouldn't believe her because her father had told him she had aborted their child.  I wondered what would this closeness they shared cost Piper?  Love, that's what it was all about, she just wanted to be loved but could Wade give that to her?  One thing was for sure, Piper worked hard at Mitchell's, her co-workers loved her and she surprised Wade and made him realize that her father, Rex Mitchell had done her a disservice by pampering her and not letting her work in the family business.

The ending chapters were hard to read.  Piper became pregnant but would Wade realize the mistakes he was making by assuming the worst about Piper and their shared past?  Sometimes it takes a wake up call to make sense out of things, and that's exactly what he got and then some.  Yvonne Lindsay did an incredible job, creating a "nail bitting" ending to The Pregnancy Contract.

Back of the Book

If she bears his child, he'll forgive her debt.

The proposal is unthinkable, unimaginable…yet not unappealing. Long ago, Piper Mitchell's passionate affair with her father's protégé ended in disaster. Now, in spite of his demands, she's thrilled to begin it anew—especially if it means a chance at forgiveness.

Wade Collins has longed for revenge on the spoiled rich girl who toyed with his affections. And now that Piper is back—destitute and deeply indebted to him—he'll use any means necessary to get her back in his bed. But when emotions enter the negotiation, will Piper turn the tables yet again, settling for nothing less than love on her terms?

The Trophy Wife - Janette Kenny (Bad Blood / The Nortorious Wolfes)

To say this couple both had issues is putting it mildly.  Rafael da Souza was the illegitimate son of the famous Wolfe family.  A man who came up in the technical world and was a millionaire several times over. Leila Santiago was a top fashion model.who knew what it was like to be raised in the slums of Rio.  This couple fell in love and married.  However, they put their careers before their marriage and trust me, they were going to pay for it.  Now Rafael was ready to start the family he had longed for but Leila was not ready to give up her modeling career nor her charity for young women with eating disorders.  She herself had suffered the disorder and her charity was so important to her and she didn't want to use her husband's money to finance the charity.

Talk about as dysfunctional marriage.  They so loved each other but didn't know how to function in their marriage.  They only saw each other a couple of times during the year.  Their marriage was a very passionate one but what Rafael didn't know was that Leila had suffered a miscarriage months earlier.  She was so afraid to become pregnant but Rafael was determined to have her quit her career and move to his lovely ranch and raise his family.  He had been denied his father who denied him his heritage.  However, thanks to his oldest brother Jacob, he had gotten to know his siblings when Jacob has snuck him into the family mansion.  He had issues of being raised alone and lonely as his mother worked two jobs.  He longed for the warmth and security that other children had and wanted it for his own children.  However, Leila had issues about becoming pregnant.  She also had issues with an overbearing mother who never worked a day in her life and felt deeply the loss of her father and brother.

After months of not being together, they finally had time together when they attended a film festival in France.  However, Leila's modeling took priority over spending time with her husband.  Photo shoots were her priority.  They had been married five years but hardly spent time together because their careers were priority for both of them.  Honestly, I could imagine how a marriage could survive this sort of arrangement.

To say this love story was tense, doesn't even begin to describe their marriage and I wondered how it would survive.  It was a battle of wills and emotional suffering.  Not to mention how their childhoods had shaped each of their and the emotions and battles they would need to face.  I have loved this series, The Notorious Wolfe's and The Trophy Wife has probably been the most emotional of them all to read.  Be prepared to feel their pain and emotions but you'll definitely be glad you took the journey with both Rafael and Leila.


Always an outsider, Rafael spent his life looking in on his privileged Wolfe siblings, a boy in the shadows. And so, determined to create the lifestyle and family illegitimacy denied him, Rafael punishingly worked his way to the top. His marriage to beautiful supermodel Leila was the icing on the cake of success!

Now his marriage is crumbling and the vows he took seem in vain. Rafael chased a rainbow—but made his wife feel as though she was never more than a trophy.… Now it will take all of his courage to win his wife back.…

Friday, December 09, 2011

December Recipe of the Month - Mary Burton's Sweet Charlotte Molasses Cream Cheese Roll-ups

The Italian Next Door - Anna Cleary

The Italian Next Door by the creative Anna Cleary was simply inventive. I cannot remember when I have read such an interesting love story. It’s complicated, interesting and extremely well written.

The hero Valentino (Tino) Silvestri worked for Interpol and as far as relationships went he did not do them; he was divorced, one that had caused gossip in his small Italian village. As for the Australian heroine, Pia Renferri, she was interesting as well. She not only was trying to survive a nasty break-up, she had also been held at gunpoint, suffered trauma and was not on the mend. Thanks to her cousin, she was headed to Italy and was hoping her creativity would return, as she was an artist.

Pia and Tino met in a most bizarre way at an Italian airport. As the trains and bus lines were are strike, she needed to rent t car. As things turned out there were none available. Tino overheard the conversation, began to interact with her but Pia wasn’t having any of it. In the end, he offered her a ride, along with his aunt and uncle as they were all going to the same village. As it turned out, Tino and Pia were neighbors in this quaint Italian town. However, some red flags came up to Tino. With his Interpol background, he wondered about Lauren, Pia’s cousin. How could she afford this apartment and then he definitely became suspicious due to the photos on her wall, especially when recognized a couple from Capri. The same couple who corrupted his ex-wife.

They were drawn to each other; just perfect together. However, neither was interested in permanent relationship, or so they believed. However, I wondered when everything would change, because it had to and I knew that would happen when Pia was invited to Capri. There was so much mystery about the Fiorellos, the couple from Capri who were friends with her cousin Lauren. They had introduced his ex-wife to so many things and he didn’t trust them at all. Therefore, when Pia was invited to a party at their villa, there was no way he would let her go without him.

Passion, lust, a missing Monet paining, Tino’s suspicions about the Fiorellos and a beautiful young Australian, who in the end, had stolen Tino’s heart, made for a spectacular, hot and extremely interesting romance thanks to Anna Cleary.

Product Description

The perfect holiday: sun, sand, sea and...Pia Renfern's holiday planning is easy - relaxation and recuperation are the only things on her to-do list! And she can't imagine they'll be too difficult in the beautiful, exclusive Italian village of Positano...But before she's even out of the airport Pia's heart is racing, her skin tingling and her mind filled with wild, uninhibited images of a holiday fling! The culprit? Valentino Silvestri - glorious Italian demi-god and Pia's new next-door neighbour...With him on her doorstep each day, how is a girl ever meant to wind down?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sandra Marton - The Real Rio D'Aquila - Orsini Brides

So sad to see Sandra Marton's Orsini Brothers and Brides come to an end and oh what an ending as only Ms. Marton can pen.  Fabulous!

Rio De'Aquila had not always had this name.  Yes it was his legal name now but when he was a child, the nuns at the orphanage had named him Matteo Rossi.  He was sexy as sin, had homes all over the world, was filthy rich and not too hard on the eyes.  He had a home in the Hamptons which needed to be landscaped and thanks to spending an evening with Dante Orsini and his wife, because he was looking for a landscaper, Dante's wife suggested Izzy, Dante's sister for the job, at least an interview and he agreed.

What a day for Izzy Orsini.  Everyone wanted her to help with their plants,  she had an interview, borrowed her sister's Anna's clothes, shoes and car.  And she was late. More than two hours late, had an accident with the car, her clothes, hair, everything was a wreck and she looked horrible.  Now when she came upon the estate she met an arrogant man who claimed to be the caretaker, but really it was Rio D'Aquila and he made her furious.  Earlier in the day, Rio had been digging ditches and working in the garden.  He was furious that this Izzy was well over two hours late and when she finally arrived, dirty and disheveled, he decided to introduce himself as Mateo Rossi because life as he had once know it and since she actually thought he was the caretaker, he thought it would be fun to act the part. was.  In business and the women he dated liked him for what he could give them.  However, after some hours with Izzy, and the sparks flying between them he decided not to tell her who he was and because the train station was closed and her car out of commission, he offered her a bedroom in his home.

Talk about sparks and of course, in the end, they became intimate.  It was like neither of them had ever dreamed of.  Rio felt guilty for keeping his identity from Izzy and decided to take her to his private island and tell her the truth.   Let's say everything exploded because her family got wind of what was happening and dragged her home,told her the truth and she was definitely broken hearted.

The Real Rio D'Aquila, was the frosting on the cake so to speak and the perfect ending to a beautifully crated romance and series by one of my favorite authors, Sandra Marton.  I'm so looking forward to hopefully another family saga by this author in the near future.

Book Description:

Italian by birth, this street urchin lived a life of extreme poverty until he escaped to Brazil—where he cast off his roots, took a new name and pulled himself up from the streets.

Now Rio D'Aquila is beyond wealthy, with a reputation for being uncompromising in business and incomparable in bed! But on meeting vulnerable Isabella Orsini, he feels something deep within him stir, and he finds himself pretending to be that long-forgotten man.

Passion flares and their affair spirals, but Isabella still doesn't know that her lover has lied to her. Who is the real Rio D'Aquila?

Only Us: A Fools Gold Holiday - Susan Mallery (Fools Gold Series)

Susan Mallery is a master storyteller and Only Us: A Fools Gold Holiday was just the Christmas read I needed to make me feel "warm and fuzzy". It is a real life story about trust, yes trust, and love. Mallery's Fools Gold series is about a small town community, one that takes care of each other, people who care for each other and when veterinarian Cameron McKenzie and his young daughter Kaitlyn came to town, they were embraced by the town of Fools Gold.

Honestly, with tears still streaming down my face, I adored this addition to Susan Mallery's Fools Gold series. Rina had a space in Cameron's practice, she was a groomer. She also took care of Kaitlyn and on top of that, she loved Cameron and his daughter. The story unfolds that after his baby daughter was two months old his wife left him. Now they are residents in Fools Gold and Rina due to her grooming business, sees Cameron every day plus she carse for his daughter. She loves them both and that becomes a problem, because after a year of loving Cameron, one night she confessed her love for him only to be rejected.

Would this couple find happiness? Would the love of a good woman help to heal Cameron because there was one thing for sure, his daughter adored Rina and she loved both of them so much, it hurt! It's a holiday miracle, trust me and even though it's a short read, it's perfect to put your feel up, relax after a day of shopping, baking or decorating and read this lovely story by the very talented New York Times Best-selling author, Susan Mallery.

Product Description

Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She's drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie's good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. But he's also her boss and a good friend. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever.

Since his divorce, Cameron hasn't been willing to trust his heart—or his daughter—with anyone else. For months he's pushed away all thoughts of taking Rina in his arms and kissing her, unwilling to risk their friendship for a single night of pleasure. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all...

An ebook exclusive Fool's Gold series novella.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Night That Changed Everything - Anne McAllister

I adore author Anne McAllister's Greeks especially the Savas and Antodine family sagas and this was Nick Savas and Edie Tremayne's story. A romance that sizzles off the pages, one that I wondered because of its intensity and what they had both lost (each of their spouses had died) where would it go and how would it end?

Edie was the daughter of the famous actress Mona Tremayne and her sister Rhiannon was also an actress. She was a very spoiled and self absorbed sister.  Their mother, Mona had been married several times. In fact, she had six children all by different husbands. She demanded that Edie accompany she and her sister to the Savas royal wedding in Europe at Mont Chamon. And when they she spotted her "engaged" sister flirting with a man her mother insisted Edie take care of the situation..   Edie could tell Nick was trouble with a capital "T". He was the handsomest man she had ever seen and he took her breath away.

Nick was not a saint, yes he bedded women but since he blamed himself for his wife's death, he had no interest in a relationship.  Edie had mourned her husband's death as well.  She was tired of her mother forcing her to have a man in her life, so when she saw that an old flame of hers was also attending the wedding, she was furious.  So mad that in the end, as Nick was at the castle also restoring architecture, she agreed to go to his room and check out the renovations.  Let's just saw the attraction with mutual and they ended up in a "no strings attached" one night stand.  They both went their separate ways, Nick on to other restoration jobs and Edie back home to Santa Barbara.  Yet she couldn't get Nick out of her mind and had hoped he would come for her because their one night together had touched her soul.

Surprise, surprise, Nick arrived at her door step with the excuse that he had spoken to her mother about restoring an adobe ranch house, the house she had grown up in with her brother until her father had died.  Edie was shocked and held herself in check.  Nick wanted to resume their love making and Edie held off.  It was just she and Nick at her family home and it because a challenge.

Oh, oh, in the end, she succumbed to Nick's charms and I could only see her getting hurt.  She was so giving to her family and to Nick and in the end, knew she loved him and I wondered, she's only going to get hurt and I was right.  Would this handsome Greek come to his senses and give each of them the happiness they both deserved?  Could she risk her heart and teach Nick like her deceased had taught her because love and loving were worth the risk?

Another wonderful romance by Anne McAllister, one I thoroughly enjoyed.  Nick a strong, smart and sexy man and Edie, just an incredible daughter and sibling, one who definitely deserved her happy Cinderella ending.

Back of the Book

Nicholas Savas is tall, dark and too gorgeous for anyone's good. To shield her wild-child sister from Nick's intoxicating gaze, sensible Edie steps into his eyeline instead!

Nick's fascinated by the defiant, beautiful Edie—she's a challenge, and he'll thoroughly enjoy sweeping her down-to-earth feet out of the ballroom and into his bed! But one night with Edie Tremayne is unforgettable, hot as hell—and not nearly enough…

Other Greek romances by Anne McAllister, here

Book purchased by reviewer

The Power and the Glory - Kimberly Lang (The Marshall's)

Introducing the Marshall’s…

A rich, powerful family that mixes business, politics… and pleasure.

If the US had a royal family — this would be it!

The Marshall’s series has been a joy to read and I will be very sad when the last one in the series has been written.

What can one say about the Marshall’s, a series written by the talented and gifted romance author, Kimberly Lang. These men are the height of DC society, rich, famous and the Marshall sons, not too hard on the eyes. Nathan (The Privileged and the Damned), runs the financial side of the family’s business. Brady (The Power and the Glory) the political side of his father’s campaign senatorial campaign. And Finn, the youngest and a Hollywood playboy, (Redemption of a Hollywood Starlet), the spoiled baby brother. All three are close and love to tease each other. Three strong heroes you’ll definitely fall in love with and you’ll definitely approve of the women they choose.

The Power and the Glory is “buttoned up” Brady Marshall’s story and one I will long remember. It especially hit home to me with all of the politics here in the USA plus all of the scandals. I wondered what sort of a character the author would write and Aspyn Breedlove was perfect. The daughter of “hippies” who demonstrated for world causes and Aspyn was following in her parents shoes; she was the spokesperson for The People’s Imitative and now found herself handcuffed to the sexy and handsome Brady Marshall. Like her parents, her dress was that of a “flower child”.

All of the Marshall Brother’s adore their famous Grand and Grams Marshall. Like their grandfather, their father is again, running for the US Senate. They barely tolerate their father but adore their grandparents and each other. However, it was Brady that interested me because I wondered how he was going to remedy the handcuff situation and when he offered Aspyn as job working on the campaign and listening to what the people wanted just to end the negative publicity, I knew it would blow up in his face.

Brady and Aspyn’s love story, like most couples had a rocky beginning but in the end, they were both good for each other. However, to get that happy ending, they both had to go through some pain and suffering, because in the end the falseness and lies came to a roaring explosion.

You will not just want to read The Power and the Glory; you will want to invest in all three books.

Book Description:

The Marshall’s...A rich, powerful family that mixes business, politics...and pleasure. If the US had a royal family - this would be it! Any red-blooded woman would kill to be handcuffed to political hot-shot Brady Marshall, but campaigner Aspyn Breedlove wants to raise awareness - not her own acute consciousness of those delicious, iron-hard muscles beneath Brady's expensive suit...Overnight she's an Internet sensation, and in a shock move she's made part of the Marshall re-election campaign...Aspyn hopes she can dance with the devil and create change from within. But what chance does she have when that devil is sex-on-legs Brady Marshall - and she wants to do considerably more than dance with him...?

Book sent by author

Kimberly talks about her book at I Heart Presents


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