#100HappyDays ROUND 2: Days 11-20

Hey Everybody!I’m back today with my latest update on #100HappyDays. It is going quite well at the moment with this challenge, although I really am stretching at times to find something specific to photograph and record. Of all the skills I possess, I have to say that photography is not one of them. It is such an enviable trait, but alas, not for me. Anyway, here is my rundown of what went down in days 11 – 2011

Day 11: The humor in Harry Potter is so fine. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the antics of Ronald Weasley in The Half-Blood Prince. Gosh, I’m having such a great time working through these books again!

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Day 12: I’ve been having some really bad toothache lately and finally forced myself to go to the dentist. I have a pathological fear of them since on broke a tooth in my mouth as a teen and had to extract it twice. The news was not good, and I will have to return. I vented my irritation out in the shops, and at least got myself a nice new toothbrush and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. That sentence there is some insight into the joys of getting old, kiddos. I also bought L’Oreal’s Extraordinary oil, and it is the best hair treatment I’ve ever used at home. Thoroughly impressed!

1314Day 14: I bought Stars of Fortune for R60 bucks on a sale. I’ve been somewhat avoiding this book, sure it would be on the same (bad) level as the Dark Witch series. I am enjoying the last of the three books in The Guardians Trilogy now, and I’m still having the greatest time.

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Day 15: I went out for sushi with my sister. It was so delicious!16

Day 16: I have such love for this doggo. She’s the best and I love spending time with her.

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Day 17: Everyone celebrated International Women’s Day and naturally I was game. I do feel the need to mention though that the plight of the female empowerment should not be an activity for one day, but for 365 days per year.

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Day 18: I’ve been having a real little sulk after finishing Daredevil. I want more, and I want it now. So I essentially forced myself to watch a film, and chose Southpaw. I’m really against Gyllenhaal as a general rule – don’t ask me why, he’s just irritating, but I really enjoyed the film and will send my bill for emotional trauma to the director. 19

Day 19: I really usually do eat a large amount of junk. In a desperate determination to not go up a dress size, I’ve gone cold turkey on all things carb and junk related. I’m actually doing really good right now, and celebrated reaching the end of the week by not eating an entire slab of chocolate and grabbing biltong instead. It was delicious!20

Day 20: I confess that this is one of the times where I really didn’t have a pic ready. We spent some time together as a family and it was really enjoyable.

There you go. Till next time friends!

Watched, Read, Loved: February 2017

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February being so short is all fun and games (particularly since payday is closer for a lot of people) but then suddenly you are in March and I don’t know about you, but I’m really like where the actual f is this year going? February was rather quiet compared to January’s movie intake, which I will blame on the shortness of the month and the fact that I got hooked on Daredevil, which certainly took up the majority of time I would usually have spent watching movies. But do you see me complaining? Nope. It changed my life, the show is THAT good.

On a personal note the start of February was rather sad. I kept thinking whether I should do some sort of separate posting about it, but decided against it as it seemed too morbid to post exclusively about death. One of my oldest friends committed suicide late January, and her birthday was on the same date as my father’s, who would have been sixty this year. In the past the weekend close to the 2nd of February would have usually been a massive amount of party juggling is now only a sad remembrance of two amazing people, and that is really just very sad to deal with.

Furthermore work was also a little crazy. I received a job offer and went through all the hoops to get a formal proposal. I ultimately decided to stay with my current company, a decision which I question daily. The pros and cons kept me awake for nights on end, and while I’m mostly happy with my decision the thought of a few things still make me wonder. It is not always easy here, but I have realized that the field I am in is rarely easy, so if I truly want to change I will do so after my degree and rather just change careers completely.

On the Tinder and dating saga: February is the month of Lurveeeee. I am very much past the point where Valentines actually holds meaning to me. I hate to be on the overly-negative-bandwagon, but it is a commercialized chaos and I am very uninterested in furthering every shop in town’s agenda. I just realized that I really have so much to say about this that I should do another Tinder and dating post. It has been a merry ride with asthma attacks during dates, single events, people who actually use the term hella cool and people who seem to think I’m dumb and don’t have basic knowledge of things.

Looking at everything I just wrote on there I am not surprised I didn’t reach my January high of movies. Here they are below, let me know what you’ve been up to as well in the comment section!

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Movies:

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): 8.5/10

I started February off with a bang and finally got to Hunt for The Wilderpeople. I reviewed it already because I loved it too much to keep it contained for too long. It is really far out of the type of movie I would usually choose to watch. This actually can’t be classified to a genre. Full of quips, this film is designed to warm your heart and make you think long and hard about the sanity of New Zealanders.

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The BFG (2016): 6/10

Wow, I really get why people didn’t like this! Long and overindulgent. Ugh.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince(2009): 6.5/10

Can a movie ever really do justice to the book it was created from? The answer is always no unless it is Lord of The Rings. I’m not sure whether I’ll even do a review for this. I had it in my head to do a series at one stage, so maybe I will just write it up and get to it one day in the distant future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004):6.5/10

I watched this with my mom, and we both enjoyed it. It is mostly about an old man finding his groove again, and I liked it by the end. It is also not about cheating and I was very suspicious about that, which made me pleased in the end.

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Notting Hill (1999): 6.5/10

I apparently really like the 6.5/10 rating. It seems like a fair score if I liked it but it wasn’t amazing. Notting Hill is a passable film but it isn’t my favorite in the genre. I still think Julia Roberts is one of the most beautiful women to have ever worked in Hollywood.

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How to Be Single (2015): 6.5/10

This is a second watch for me. I really like a number of things about this movie – Rebel Wilson and Dakota Fanning do great work together. Dakota Fanning is a really talented lady, so I hope she does more work other than that BDSM crap. The message of this film is also really important.

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Books:

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Not sure if I should even list it on here as I read the last twenty pages in February, but there you go. It was quite enjoyable although it certainly wasn’t as captivating as the first book.

After You (JoJoMoyes)

After Me Before You, the touching book and the slightly less touching film, After You comes along. Lou is dealing with her grief, her inability to convey to strangers how she loved a man so quickly and powerfully in only six months and the judgment of every ass available. It is written in typical JoJoMoyes style and so far it is really enjoyable although I can’t see how she will reach the emotional highs of her first book.

Tribute – Nora Roberts

I enjoy Tribute on a loop every year at least. All I know from reading this book again is I want a Spock.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

Everything. This book is everything. It makes me so happy and content. It is such an important book in the series, and there are scenes in there that fills my heart up with so much happiness and light.

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Series:

X-files Season 2 – I’m a bit at a snag right now with X-Files. I enjoy it but it is so procedural I can drop and pick up without too many holes in the conversation.

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Daredevil Season 1 and 2 – I’ve been postponing this for ages now. WHY? It is amazing. It is 10 000% better than that awful Jessica Jones BS I subjected myself too. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is AMAZING. That introduction.The tone of the series.The action.The simple badassery. I am so involved in this. WOW. I will post both reviews and JJ soon, and you will see the remarkable difference.

What have you been up to this month?

July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to 🙂

Watched:

At home:

Proposa

The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

Wedding planner

The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

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Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

 Runaway_Bride

Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

 Ugly truth

The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

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27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

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I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

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Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

Book Review: Honest Illusions (Nora Roberts)

honest illusions cover

Plot: The daughter of a world-renowned magician, Roxy Nouvelle has inherited her father’s talents—and his penchant for jewel thievery. Into this colorful world comes Luke Callahan, an escape artist who captures her heart—and keeps secrets that could shatter all her illusions…

Rating: 7/10

After the immense enjoyment of The Obsession, I quickly plotted devious ways to get my hands on this book. I thought it was a new release by Roberts, but it sadly turned out to be a reprint of one of her very old book. It wasn’t bad though, but I did feel a bit bereft.

My biggest issue with this book was how long it took to get to the main story. It is naturally important to provide a bit of backstory on any set of characters, because how else would anyone ever root for them? I do think that three hundred pages of portraying the past amounted to a bit much though.

Luke and Roxy made an entertaining pair, and despite my bitching about the large past, I loved how they grew up with each other and couldn’t stay apart. I really also liked the supporting characters, especially Roxy’s father, with Mouse and LeCerq being their family and friends too.

It seemed a bit preposterous that the villain managed to become a US Senator after being a young criminal on the streets, but I’m not going to go too much into that as believably isn’t something I insist on in light reading (lol)

The book was good, but I do think that the author wasted a lot of ink on the growing up phase of our two character’s lives. It’s eventual conclusion lacked drama, which sucked, and I thought we deserved a more bitter ending for Sam Wyatt. Pfft.

Book review: The Obsession (Nora Roberts)

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Plot: (not included – I literally couldn’t find one that didn’t spoil the entire book!)

Rating: 8/10

So I gave in to my obsession (hehe) and bought this book in a world where books have become so expensive I’m not that surprised that people aren’t reading anymore. It was worth the cost and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Roberts seemed uniquely inspired in The Obsession, because let’s face it, the woman recycles her stories. The outright creepiness of this story was a brilliant way to go, because it is something that we always witness in the news but it remains so shocking and terrifying. It pleased me to no end that Naomi and her brother were raised by her gay uncle and his partner, that they weren’t portrayed as extravagant or stereotypical – they were the best thing that happened to Naomi and her brother, and that their sexuality was merely a characteristic and not an insult, which is something a lot of authors get horribly wrong.

The development of the book is great. Nora Roberts has a talent when it comes to describe certain phases of her character’s life, providing in-depth insight to a character. I liked the following of Naomi’s discovery, her adaption to her new life and the eventual present day for her, where she has to ultimately fight the demons of her past. It was really good. I had some issues with the end – not that it wasn’t satisfactory, but I couldn’t understand how a four hundred page book had it’s final scenes within twenty pages. My other (only) major complaint is that it is becoming clear that a Roberts book only properly develops until the first sex scene. It feels disloyal to say this from one of my favorite authors, but we get a fantastic villain, great character development and gorgeous scenery, until the first sex scene and then all we get is steamy showers with a final rushed ending. It deducts from the impact from the book.

If it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, that’s wrong, because I had the best time. The characters are great and I laughed so much with the prototype male the hero was – who couldn’t just love that? I also really loved the dog, and wanted to pet and adopt all the dogs in the world.

This mammoth book was one of my latest favorites from Roberts – there is a sense of refreshed uniqueness that she’s been missing. It ticks all the boxes, except perhaps the rushed end. It is a definite for fans, and she might even get a couple of new fans from this!

June 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Hello! You might have noticed my blogging has been terribly limited lately. I planned to only blog three times a week for a few months, because life is truly speeding at this point and I barely have breaks. I haven’t even really managed three times a week for the past month and that depresses me a little, but I might have a bit more time for a few weeks so that will mean more time to spend on blogs. I’ve missed you!

This is pretty much a roundup of what I’ve been up to – entertainment wise and life wise. As mentioned, life has been hectic this June! I was away for two weeks on study time for my degree, and it always feels like such a time warp. It really is difficult removing myself from my life and living in another town for such a long time – it isn’t holiday so there is no relaxing and very little partying. I mostly end up missing my life and responsibilities, typically having moaned about them only weeks before!

In some more educational news, I passed both my semester exams! I danced and sang and danced some more. I actually got a distinction for this one lame ass subject, which is probably quite exciting when I really think of it, but I was way happier about the cardiovascular physiology that I also passed – I assure you that present me would go back a few years and stop past-me from choosing physiology as one of her majors #whatWasIThinking. I studied myself silly for that subject and it was good to be rewarded for it.

I’m also back to eating healthy – I was starting to slip back into my awful habits of eating all the nonsense out there. It’s hard, but I’m hoping it gets easier within a few weeks – I am assured that it will

I ended up watching a ton of movies that I’ve wanted to see for quite some time. I also got to watch Finding Dory in cinema, and I absolutely loved it.

A list of movies I really want to see in cinema:

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Warcraft – I don’t think I’ll make this one, but I am definitely interested in seeing what is going on there.

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Me Before You – it falls in either the hate or love camp at this point. I think there is some valid outrage and that disabled people really have a point, but I thought the book was done well enough and explained more eloquently what Will Traynor was about, and the movie

That is pretty much it, but there are a couple of great films also coming out (they will hopefully be great), including in particular Suicide Squad.

Movies watched at home:

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Furious 6:

I’m finally done with the Furious franchise (although it might be running for a while still on the blog), and I need to properly rank them. I think my favorite remains Four, regardless of what IMDb thinks. Five is good but seriously unbelievable, and six and seven are so over the top I was rather a bit annoyed with it. Not nearly as bad as Tokyo Drift or 2 Fast 2 Furious (DON’T get me started), but I think they went way too far now.

Furious 7

As I mentioned above, they are going too far. I thought the tribute to Paul Walker was very sweet, but that is about the only thing I truly loved. I also think that the end was better than killing him off in the franchise. As with Mr. Darcy I would rather have him dead than not committed to the cause.

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Pretty Woman

It is the first time I ever saw this film, and it ranks so highly now on my list of movies that I love! It is definitely not a film in the 2016 climate where everyone is offended, and that really contributed towards my love of it.

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The DUFF

The DUFF was surprisingly hilarious and cute, and I really loved how it went to great lengths to not put the character through yet another makeover cameo that reinforces the belief that you should not be yourself.

The Guest

Second time watching this, and completely loved it again. Man, that Dan Stevens.

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Laggies

I actually managed to review this film here. It was horrible, with a completely unrelatable character.

QoS

Quantum of Solace

QoS got a whole lot of hate online, and I’m not sure why. It’s not as good as Casino Royale, but it isn’t that bad.

Thor: The Dark World

I think I was pretty harsh on this film when it came out. It isn’t nearly that bad. Sure, it doesn’t come close to the other Marvel films but it was a fair bit of fun.

Series:

I am still working through The Vampire Diaries, and it is going painfully slow. It is not a reflection on the quality of the show, it is a reflection on the amount of time I actually have to watch the show. It’s still good though, Damon is as compelling as ever, Niklaus is endlessly fascinating and even Stefan isn’t as annoying this time around. I hope to get through all the seasons I have and do reviews on them, but I need to actually finish them up for it to happen!

I’m going to try and catch up with GoT at some point – however, I’ve accepted that with this show you either need to watch it immediately or accept that you will see spoilers. It is just too big at this point and the information is everywhere.

I also really need to get to Vikings. I loved the first season, and somehow ended up never even touching the rest. It is a damn shame.

Books:

I reread Whiskey Beach from Nora Roberts. It was one of my least favorite new releases from her when it came out, and I really thought it lacked essential things like good writing. I am revising that because this time around I felt a lot more charitable to it and I actually really enjoyed it.

I’m currently reading The Obsession by Nora Roberts and having the best time with it. I am really happy right now that I spent the cash on it, because I’ve been pining for this book for MONTHS.

I am also currently reading a whole lot of books at the same time. There is A Respectable Trade from Phillipa Gregory, which is really good when I actually sit down to read it, and a book by an Irish author (who I should write down), which is fine but pretty basic. I also really want to get to the sequel of You Before Me, and see how that goes down. I also got New Moon on a special at my local book store, which means I will get to that some time too (don’t judge). And there is another vampire novel. And I should finish this list. I should just read forever, really.

What have you been up to lately??

Book Review: Skin Deep (Nora Roberts)

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O’Hurleys #3

Plot:

Regrets. Even movie stars have them. Chantel O’Hurley’s family was far away, her mansion was empty, and when she was threatened, there was no one to turn to. There was certainly no comfort in Quinn Doran. He looked like he’d been carved out of stone and he was just as intractable. But in that hardness was a promise: “I will keep you safe. I will bring you home.” But could she get him to stay?

Rating: 6/10

Usually the book with the extremely beautiful woman in irritates me the most in the Nora quartet/trilogies, but I enjoyed this one. I think Chantel O’Hurley was decently written and NR took such lengths to make her more than a pretty face. I thoroughly enjoyed Quinn’s extremely abrasive attitude and thought it well suited to his role in the book. The stalker Chantel had was creepy but I thought that didn’t end too well – I hate the whole he’s-ill-lets-forgive-him routine. Such silliness. If someone stalked me, I would NOT be that nice. The book was enjoyable and a lot more probable than its predecessor. Good times!

Book Review: Dance to the Piper (Nora Roberts)

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O’Hurleys #2

Plot:

They both knew what would happen….

She moved in perfect harmony to the music that ruled her life both onstage and off. He dealt with the world with ruthless expertise. Music was his business and he was all business. That is until she lit up the stage.

The attraction was instant…and impossible.

Because he ruled his empire from glass towers high above the vibrancy of her world, and coming too close to hers was risky business. But she was a woman who dared to dream, and she had dreams big enough for them both.

Rating: 5.5/10

Running as the most improbable book in the series, I couldn’t help but wonder what made NR choose her two leading characters’ professions. Hooking up a Broadway dancer and a CEO of a massive company seems like a romance headed to the divorce attorneys. I enjoyed Maddy as a character – so VICACIOUS, but her romance to what’s his name was so unrealistic. The book was fun, but SO improbable. For reals.

Book Review: The Last Honest Woman (Nora Roberts)

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O’Hurleys #1

Plot:

When journalist Dylan Crosby starts digging up the past for the book he’s writing about her infamous late husband, Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell is determined that she will do everything possible to keep the family’s secrets under lock and key.’ to ‘The truth could not be told. Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell was a desperate woman. Journalist Dylan Crosby was going to start digging up her past for the book he was writing about her infamous late husband. It was just research to him, but to her it was a painful reality that had to be kept under lock and key for the sake of her children. Abby would do anything to keep their world safe – no matter how compelling Dylan’s promises might be…. What was she hiding? When Dylan Crosby came to grill Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell about her famous late husband, he expected cool white mink, icy diamonds. What he got was dusty dungarees and womanly warmth. Why would socialite Abby pretend to be a hardworking country mom? Worse, why did he believe her loving lies?

Rating: 6/10

The Last Honest Woman was a recommendation by a family member, one who knows that I read a lot of Nora Roberts but that there is little time to pay all her titles attention. I can say that I enjoyed TLHW, but that it was flawed in multiple aspects. Let’s start with how the man always suspects that the woman is lying. It is unlikely that someone can lie all the time. Who has time for that?! Dylan thinks Abby is a bimbo brained brat from the start and only when he starts having desires he is willing to consider that she is not anything like his initial impression. SIGH. No wonder the women of the 80’s and 90’s took so long to tell men where to stuff it if they can’t learn how to treat a lady properly. Anyway.

The book had a sweet element to it. I even enjoyed the children characters, which is quite rare. O thought Abby was a bit one dimensional but she was not insufferable. It is clear throughout that her first husband was a spineless coward. I enjoyed the whole O’Hurley set-up. Most of the family were entertainers and even though Abby completely deviated from what her family thought she would become, she was still well loved.

TLHW is exactly what it advertise – stereotypical romance. Don’t expect more and you will have a great time.

Book Review: Sacred Sins (Nora Roberts)

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Plot: n the lazy days of summer, a merciless heat wave is the biggest story in Washington, D.C. But the weather is knocked off the front pages when a young woman is found strangled to death. A note left behind reads Her sins are forgiven her.

Two more victims soon follow, and suddenly every headline is devoted to the killer the press has dubbed “the Priest.” When the police ask top-notch psychiatrist Dr. Tess Court to help with their investigation, she comes up with a disturbing portrait of a twisted soul.

Detective Ben Paris doesn’t give a damn about the killer’s psyche. What he can’t easily dismiss is Tess. Tall, dark, and good-looking, Ben has a legendary reputation with women, but the coolly elegant Tess doesn’t react to him like other women he’s known — and he finds the challenge enticing.

Now, as the two are thrown together in a perilous quest to stop a serial killer, the flame of white-hot passion flares. But someone also has his eyes on the beautiful blond doctor … and Ben can only pray that if the madman strikes, he’ll be able to stop him before it’s too late….

Rating: 6/10

Yep, another improper title that makes you wonder what exactly is going to go down in this book. I swear, if Roberts only had better titles she would get more conservative readers on her side, because then they wouldn’t think her books are porn. That is what kept me steering clear from this particular novel for some time – I thought it was from her Mills and Boon days.

The book is okay. I had major issues with the waving–the-white-flag end, but otherwise I enjoyed it. I even had a few chills about the serial killer – the Priest – his sections were chilling and his stalking of Theresa made me check if my windows were sealed shut. I even enjoyed the –sigh- cop – hero, who managed to be entertaining but not terribly layered.

The book had a good amount of chills and a surprisingly little amount of cheese and improbable romantic gestures. I enjoyed the vibes around the police station and the interaction between COP and BEST COP FRIEND. (I forgot both their names at this point). I just hated the end – no drama and really the equivalent of the widely hated end Breaking Dawn provided.

If you can get over wimpy ends and typecast characters, then read this book. Else, there are much better Nora Roberts books to pick from.