Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Crazy Kind of Love by Mary Ann Marlowe

A Crazy Kind of Love
by Mary Ann Marlowe

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 297
Rating: 4

Flirting with Fame series:
Some Kind of Magic
A Crazy Kind of Love
book 3 - tba

First sentence(s):
Stalker. When you put it that way, what I did for a living sounded despicable.

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman's up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying--and delicious--dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That's a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he's seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he's also Micah Sinclair--one of rock's notorious bad boys...

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she's suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician's mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he's a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah's feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can't resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media's latest victim...

My two-bits:

Love's ups and downs amongst the paparazzi and celebrities. It was interesting to learn about some of the inside scoop of what it may be like to be on the periphery of the "it" crowd and to actually be in it as well.

This couple learn and navigate their unique relationship with the issues they each have to deal with.


* review copy courtesy of author

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winner for December

Here is the winner for a giveaway that
ended December 11, 2017

Thanks to all contestants!


Have You Met Nora?
by Nicole Blades
-Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | Giveaway

Winner: Mary Preston


* I will email winners for mailing addresses within two weeks.
Winners, feel free to contact me with your info if you don't get my email
or if you are just too darn excited and want to let me know -- like NOW ;-D

* contest policy

* if not this time, maybe next time

--> check out the current giveaways and upcoming events on my sidebar

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 12.9.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Been spending time holiday making and watching films moreso than reading these days. Just not in the mood. Also, I am finding it hard to carve out some quiet moments to just sit and read. Thus, so sorry to say that I am behind on some reviews. ACK!

NOTE TO SELF: do not accept requested book reviews due in November and December

Current happy things:

1. Eggslut's Fairfax Breakfast Sandwich (here) - used Sir Kensington's Sriracha Mayonnaise which was just as good - YUM

2. Holiday/christmas movies. I am going through this writer/book themed list created by Entertainment Weekly (here):

A Christmas Cruise (ION, Dec. 16)
an aspiring novelist finds love at sea

The Mistletoe Inn (Hallmark, Nov. 23)
a romance novelist attends a writing retreat in Vermont

A Joyous Christmas (HMM, Nov. 26)
a best-selling author returns to her hometown for a book event

Snowed Inn Christmas (Lifetime, Dec. 16)
centers on two online journalists given a holiday writing assignment

The Christmas Train (Hallmark, Nov. 25)
tracks a journalist who encounters an ex on a cross-country train ride

Christmas Getaway (Hallmark, Dec. 23)
focuses on a freshly single travel writer who has to share a cabin with a toothsome widower.

3. Everyday is Christmas! by Sia on YouTube. I like how they are original songs that are pretty catchy. The corresponding videos are a hoot too!



JOURNALS with writing prompts have captured my attention for inspiration on leading a more creative life. No Goal Was Met Without A Little Sweat is a guided fitness journal | Amazon. Experience Passport: 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizon suggests ways to explore the world around you. | Amazon.

For Review:

by Helena Hunting
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Amazon | Goodreads

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: If you celebrate Christmas, do you feel the need to stop reading anything but Christmas-themed romances as the holiday season starts?
(submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)

THIS is something I have wanted to do, but because of requested reviews (in the past) and holiday festivities and outings I have not had a chance to actually do holiday reading. I do have a stack of holiday romance novels on my nightstand in case I get some free time. I seem to get at least one to add to the stack each year - such festive covers.

AND watched: in theatre

Lady Bird (2017)
Director/Writer: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Odeya Rush
-Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.

LOVELY coming of age story based in the town of Sacramento which is a portrayed as a character as well.

Alice in Wonderland (2017)
Director: Christopher Wheeldon
Based on book by: Lewis Carroll
Stars: Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae, Federico Bonelli, Laura Morera, Christopher Saunders, James Hay
-Drama, Fantasy, Music, Ballet | imdb | my rating: 5

Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s exuberant ballet, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book. At a garden party on a sunny afternoon, Alice is surprised to see her parents’ friend Lewis Carroll transform into a white rabbit. When she follows him down a rabbit hole events become curiouser and curiouser…. As Alice (Lauren Cuthbertson) journeys through Wonderland, she encounters countless strange creatures. She’s swept off her feet by the charming Knave of Hearts (Federico Bonelli), who’s on the run for stealing the tarts. Confusion piles upon confusion. Then Alice wakes with a start. Was it all a daydream? Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland first burst onto the stage in 2011 in an explosion of color, stage magic and inventive, sophisticated choreography. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary sound worlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative, eye-popping designs draw on everything from puppetry to projections to make Wonderland wonderfully real. This production, to be recorded live in 2017, shows The Royal Ballet at its best, bringing together world-class dance with enchanting family entertainment.

FUN, beautiful and romantic rendition of the Alice story. The music was wonderful.

AND watched: on Netflix

Big Eyes (2014)
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Stars: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston
-Biography, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A drama about the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

COOL kitschy pop art story. Amazing woman. Makes me want to revisit Keane Eye's art gallery at Ghirardelli square.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Writers: Jason Filiatrault, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier
Stars: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer
-Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Christmas | imdb | my rating: 5

Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

GOOD amount of Christmas and horror with bits of folktale, ghosts, Santa and contemporary elements. Loved Shatner.

AND watched: online

The Mistletoe Inn (2017)
Director: Alex Wright
Writer: Richard Paul Evans (based on a book by)
Stars: Alicia Witt, David Alpay, Lucie Guest
-Comedy, Drama, Romance, Christmas | imdb | my rating: 5

Kim Ross (Witt), an aspiring romance novelist, finds herself unceremoniously dumped by her soon-to-be-published romance novelist boyfriend, Garth. She decides to take a leap and signs up for a romance writing retreat at a quaint Vermont Inn shortly before Christmas. There, a top romance novelist is scheduled to attend. Shortly after Kim's arrival she meets Zeke, whom she finds to be intrusive. As luck would have it, he ends up being her assignment partner and worse yet, the ex-boyfriend is also at the retreat. Despite various bumps Kim manages to step outside her comfort zone, surprising herself. Even more surprising is the unstoppable attraction that seems to be building between her and Zeke, that will change her life in ways she never imagined.

I read this book in 2015 and loved it back then. I love this movie version as well.

AND watched: on DVD

Creed (2015)
Director/Screenplay: Ryan Coogler
Screenplay: Aaron Covington,
Based on characters created by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
-Drama, Sport | imdb | my rating: 5

The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: fifteen. outlander. Graham McTavish

GREAT hero coming into his own with a formidable mentor.

In the Line of Fire (1993)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writer: Jeff Maguire
Stars: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo
-Action, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-two. veep. Gary Cole

INTERESTING perspective of the president's secret service team with romance thrown in.

Brideshead Revisited (2008)
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writers: Andrew Davies, Jeremy Brock
Based on the novel by: Evelyn Waugh
Stars: Matthew Goode, Patrick Malahide, Hayley Atwell
-Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

A poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: three. the crown. Anna Madeley

I haven't seen the 1981 tv series. So can't compare. I enjoyed this sad tale with its updated look. The scenes and costumes were beautiful. Great cast.

Paterson (2016)
Director/Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Poems by: William Carlos Williams, Ron Padgett
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie
-Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

For post-Fall Film challenge bonus round: five. elementary. Chasten Harmon

Beautiful, quiet and poetic film. Makes me want to read some William Carlos Williams.

Get Out (2017)
Director/Writer: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams
-Horror, Mystery, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 5

It's time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

PERFECTLY smart, creepy and twisty-like.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 12.2.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Spent the week wrapping up the month of November to make way for December and its holiday festivities. The first holiday party happens next Friday.

Also, been thinking of what I want to do with this blog in the next year. I want to read more books from my shelves. There are so many good books there that I have neglected. Which means I may have to do less requested reviews.

Reading is slow going. And may continue to be so until January. Too many fun things to do.

Current happy things:

1. Yin Yoga - a slow-paced style of yoga with postures, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time
2. Warm evenings for night walks
3. Pizza with BBQ chicken topping -first time to try this combo and it was delish :-)



Murder Under the Fig Tree
by Kate Raphael
-Mystery, LGBTQ, Palestine
Amazon | Goodreads

LIKED the first book in this series and wanted to read more with this female detective.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
-SciFi, Cyberpunk, Dystopia
Amazon | Goodreads

WANTED to read this as it inspired the making of the film Blade Runner.

For Review:

A Crazy Kind of Love
by Mary Ann Marlowe
-Contemporary Romance
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE premise sounds fun.

Beautiful Redemption
by Jamie McGuire
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Amazon | Goodreads

LOVED the first book in the series and looking forward to reading more about the other characters.


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

NOVEMBER Box includes:
theme: Castles, Courts and Kingdoms

- Owlcrate spoiler card (not pictured)
- The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
- Signed bookplate, letter and Gemstone Tattoos from author
- Harry Potter “Expecto Patronum” Winter Beanie
- A Court of Thorns and Roses – “Don’t Let the Hard Days Win” Notebook by Stella's Bookish Art
- The Grisha Trilogy inspired Brooch from Juniper and Ivy Designs
- Game of Thrones theme Lip Balm from Geek Fire Labs
- Elven Bread Soap (Hobbit theme) from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary

The Glass Spare
by Lauren DeStefano
-Fantasy, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh.

Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: What is your favourite Christmas-themed read?
(submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

NONE. I do not have one. Yet. I have not read enough in the genre to come across a book that I came to really love.

AND watched: on Netflix

Mudbound (2017)
Director/Screenplay: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams
Screenplay: Virgil Williams
Based on book by: Hillary Jordan
Stars: Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

REALLY got the setting, location and feeling of being stuck/unstuck.

AND watched: in theatre

Darkest Hour (2017)
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Stars: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas
-Biography, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 4

During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

HISTORICAL bit that pairs well with the film Dunkirk which came out this summer. Gary Oldman captures Winston so well.

Bright Star
Written and composed by: Steve Martin, Edie Brickell
at the SF Curran Theatre
-Musical | my rating: 4

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1945-46 with flashbacks to 1923. The musical is inspired by their Grammy-winning collaboration on the 2013 bluegrass album Love Has Come for You.

GREAT gothic southern storyline. There was not any particular song that stuck. Loved the instrumental pieces though with the banjo and mandolin solos.

AND watched: on DVD

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore
-Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

A middle-aged husband's life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: fourteen. ncis. Liza Lapira

LOVED the scene where everything clashes. Got some on-screen chemistry between Ryan and Emma which is renewed in La La Land.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
Director/Writer: Seth MacFarlane
Writers: Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson
-Comedy, Romance, Western | imdb | my rating: 3

As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: two. the big bang theory. Kaley Cuoco

CUTE take on western movie stereotypes.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Director: George Roy Hill
Writer: William Goldman
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
-Biography, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: seventeen. dr. quinn, medicine woman. George Furth

THIS one has charismatic outlaws with a kind of bromance thing going on. Such loyalty to each other. The Raindrops song was an odd choice, but I loved that bicycle scene.

Annie Hall (1977)
Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Writer: Marshall Brickman
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
-Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-five. the young pope. Diane Keaton

WELL made analysis of a couple's relationship.

Chef (2014)
Director/Writer: Jon Favreau
Stars: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony
-Adventure, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

A head chef quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: nineteen. sex and the city. Amy Sedaris

HAPPY doses of father/son bonding, road trips and foodie scenes.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Director/Screenplay/Story: Tony Gilroy
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy
Based on the novel series by Robert Ludlum
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
-Action, Adventure, Mystery | imdb | my rating: 3

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

For Fall Film challenge bonus round: twenty-one. the unusuals. Jeremy Renner

LOTS of action scenes which Renner does well. Not my favorite Bourne film. Probably because I was missing Bourne. But got to know more about the "project".


* checkout the sidebar for current giveaways

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy Release: Perfectly Summer by Robin Daniels (with giveaway)

Perfectly Summer
by Robin Daniels
-Romance, YA
Release date: November 28, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Summer vacation is Levi London’s favorite time of the year. Each summer, he and his brothers are shipped off to Florida to stay with their grandparents. For ten weeks everything is perfect. He has freedom, fun, and Summer West—the cute and spunky girl across the street—for whom he’s planned to confess his giant crush. Right before the London boys are scheduled to leave, a scandalous family situation causes their mom to accompany them on vacation. Not only does Levi’s fun quotient promise to take a nose dive, but all the drama has him feeling less than his normal happy self. Summer decides that Levi needs a distraction, in the form of a prank war. But he gets more than he bargains for when his older brother Lucas is both better at pranking and determined to date Summer too. Levi is a peacekeeper, but he isn’t sure he can mediate his family’s struggles or strike the right balance between mischief and romance. Especially when Lucas keeps reminding him that all is fair in love and war.


“So, your birthday is coming up soon. The big 1-6. We need to do something epic. I’m thinking a huge party…” I trailed off, knowing she’d shoot me down. There’s only one thing she’s ever wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. That was to go on her first date.

Summer’s parents only had one formal rule—that I knew of, at least. No dating until you’re sixteen. I was surprised the first time I heard it, because her parents never seemed to care that I was always in her bedroom. I mean, we didn’t shut the door or do anything dodgy, but still. Hunter broke that rule all the time, but Summer had stayed obedient. She’d yet to go on an official date. I think the reason she didn’t push it the way Hunter did was because she was scared and a little naïve. But, regardless of the reason, the waiting had built up a lot of anticipation for her sixteenth birthday.

“You know me better than that by now.” Summer smiled. “I don’t want a party.”

I winked at her. “I know you don’t. The real question is, who do you want to take you on your very first date?” I tried to play it off like I didn’t care, but I already knew the answer. “Let me guess, you want me to pull some strings so my dopey older brother will ask you out?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s never going to happen.” She waved me off, then got quiet, like she was nervous. Summer looked down at the stuffed animal she was holding. “Actually, I was hoping you’d take me on my first date.”

“Me?” I was beyond surprised.

Summer grinned and said, “Yes, you. Who else would I want to take me?”

Something exploded in my chest, and my body got warm and tingly. I’d been out on plenty of dates, kissed my share of girls, too. But the thought of doing either of those things with Summer made my emotions do a happy dance. She wanted me to take her on her first date. Maybe by default because she didn’t think Lucas was an option, but I’d take it. This would be the perfect opportunity to show her why Lucas sucked and I should be the man of her dreams.

“I’d be honored,” I replied coolly, trying to hide how giddy I was. I didn’t want to look like a desperate chump. “Do you have anything specific that you want to do?”

“Nope. I trust you to make it amazing and unforgettable.”

“Geez, no pressure or anything.”

Summer laughed. “Of course not. No pressure at all. I’ve only got a full page reserved for the event in my scrapbook.”

“Do you really?”

“What do you think?” she countered, but I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. Forget one page. Honestly, I could see her making a whole “first date scrapbook”.

“I’m invoking my right to plead the Fifth Amendment on this matter.”

“I think you’re smarter than Lucas gives you credit for,” she replied.

About the author:

Robin Daniels is married to an amazing guy and has five equally amazing but crazy kids. When she’s not chasing children or writing books, she’s probably coaching volleyball or working with her church youth group.

She tries to read as much as possible, especially if she’s got housework to do. And if she’s not home during the day, you’ll likely find her hanging out at her sister’s house—where they mostly talk about writing and reading books. Robin loves long naps, yummy food, Diet Coke and being outside in the Arizona winters.

Find out more about this book and author:

--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN a signed copy of each book in the Perfect Series along with a Christmas/Holiday card containing a $20 Amazon gift card. Winner can keep for themselves or choose to gift the prize.

Offer ends: December 10, 2017

Signup to win (here).

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