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The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe
Friday, April 28, 2006

Like a classic Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn/Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie-but with plenty of steamy heat-Lucy Monroe's debut novel introduces a pair of delightfully sparring opposites whose undeniable attraction is about to take them beyond the edge of reason...and right into the throes of delicious passion...
The most important thing in Amanda's life is negotiating a successful merger between her company and Brant Computers, a family-held competitor. It should be a done deal: Company president Eric Brant is on board with the idea. But when Amanda arrives in Eric's office, it is his cousin Simon Brant who greets her-and Simon is anything but agreeable. He's not about to give up control of the family company or lay off loyal workers. Squaring off against the sexy, brilliant, sexy, obstinate, sexy, eccentric, not to mention sexy Simon is completely frustrating-and a total turn-on. And when he walks out on her presentation, sidetracked by another one of his brilliant ideas, Amanda is shocked...and intrigued...no, furious!...and...and...and so attracted she can barely enter data into her Palm Pilot...
Simon has never met a woman as passionate and driven as Amanda, or as devastatingly attractive. He can't decide if he wants to put her on the next plane home-in the cargo hold-or kidnap her and spend a long weekend showing her exactly the kind of negotiating he likes best. Come to think of it, if the lady wants war, maybe they should engage in full-on battle...in the bedroom...and see who will be the victor. But when intimacy leads to an explosive passion, it might be time to think of a different, more permanent kind of merger...one that's less about business and all about pleasure...

This is my first LM book. I was really excited to read this from reading the book description, mostly because I love stories about computer geeks. Honestly, I didn't think this was that great. It had plenty of good steamy scenes, but the problem I had was the story. Basically, it's simple. Amanda's job is to convince Simon to agree to a merger with her company. She tries to meet with him several times, but only manages to capture a few minutes of his attention at a time. So she ends up staying at his huge, lovely home; which just so happens to be secluded in an island.

I just thought the scenario was so unrealistic. I think in the "real" world, Amanda would've been fired after failing to speak with Simon after the first 3 attempts. The fact that she resorted to sleeping over at his place just seemed a bit ridiculous to me.

Simon also wasn't as sexy as I thought he would be. This has nothing to do with his physical characteristics. I was expecting more smart, sexy, flirty conversation from him. Instead, he barely spoke to Amanda, he just kept working away in his lab. And when he did talk to her, he just seemed so... unfamiliar with women.

I guess I'm gonna try another Lucy Monroe book, but this one just didn't really do it for me. I give it a 2 out of 5.
posted by Daphne @ 6:42 PM   1 comments
What memory makes you smile?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I was driving to work today. Typical morning traffic on the freeway. As I was sitting there, I glanced at my rearview mirror and caught a glimpse of a really hot guy wearing sunglasses in a truck. Immediately I started to smile, to the point where I started laughing. Not hysterically but just a little chuckle. Thankfully I had my sunglasses on so I didn't have to face embarassment when he switched lanes later on and moved beside me.

Anyway, for the rest of the ride to work, I kept thinking about this memory I have of the summer after graduating high school. Some of my gal pals from colorguard decided to take a mini trip to San Diego where we have our colorguard summer camp every year, and visit the old squad and new members. We were cruising along the highway, singing to Nsync and Spice girls... when all of a sudden, my friend calls out "dude, look to your right, there's a really hot older guy in a truck next to us." I remember all the girls immediately whipped their heads around, and I was probably the only one too shy and embarassed to look. I heard lots of "woohoos!" and finally curiosity got the better of me. I slowly turned to look, and man oh man, let me tell you, this man was smokin hot. He was wearing sunglasses, but you could just tell he was sexy. His arms were toned, he had a nice tan, and his hair was dark brown, short but still a little wavy and sexy.

I remember like it was yesterday... he must've sensed we were all looking at him because he suddenly looked over. We all gasped in the car, some of us ducking, others giggling. One of the girls lifted her hand up and gave a weak wave. Mr. Sexy then slowly lifted his hand up and waved (one of those up and down movements with his fingers) and gave a very sexy smile back (he must've thought he was the bomb, but shoot I don't blame him). I swear, I remember my heart stopping at that point and I think all the girls were speechless. Finally we lost him due to our lane moving faster. I remember grinning like crazy and practically squealing in excitement.

To this day, this memory is something that always puts a smile on my face. *dreamy sigh*
posted by Daphne @ 10:54 PM   6 comments
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Sunday, April 16, 2006

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"

This was a pretty good light read for me. I wasn't sure what to expect, considering it's one of those books for the masses, something most people have read because it was listed as a NY Times bestseller. My brother told me it was emotional for him, so I was thinking I'd be very touched by it and maybe even cry.

Well, I didn't cry and I wasn't totally moved by it, but that doesn't change the fact that it was an enjoyable read. I literally read this in about an hour and fifteen minutes, I didn't put it down once. To me this book was something that can inspire people in a very easy going simple writing style. What I got out of reading this is simply that life is short, and we must never take our "little experiences" for granted. Even a fraction of time can make the biggest difference in multiple lives. I'm not too big on "woulda coulda shouldas" and reading this book all the more makes me want to die witout any of them. Sure I've had some bad experiences in my day, but I feel like in the end, they will have served a purpose, be it to teach me a lesson, or make me appreciate the positives in my life.

I'd give this one a 4 out of 5, mainly because it's something a wide variety of readers can enjoy. It's not too heavy, or overdramatic. If you accept that it is just another idea of what the afterlife might be like you can appreciate what this author is trying to accomplish.
posted by Daphne @ 10:28 PM   1 comments
Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage's protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone...

This is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Primarily because we don't have to go through all of the characters again, it just sorta picked up where the first book left off.

I really loved the hero in this book, Rhage. Again, I still don't really find vampires attractive, but Rhage was still awesome. I loved how strong he was, and how he just knew what he wanted and went for it. In this case, he wanted Mary; not really my favorite heroine but not bad either.

Mary was a little annoying at times. As soon as I read she had a history of cancer related problems, I thought "Oh great here we go." I knew Mary was going to feel like she didn't deserve someone as gorgeous as Rhage, and I was okay with it at first. But gee, after they made love the first time, I woulda thought she would be over that insecurity. Nope. She had to really push Rhage's buttons. I was feeling Rhage's frustration and anger. I wanted to shout at Beth. How dare she say those things to him!

I'm a little sad we didn't get to see more of Butch and Marissa, but I still love Butch. He's so great. And I loved the transition into Zsadist's story. I think he and Bella are cute together. Actually, all of these brothers are really growing on me. I still don't like their rap music-thuggish ways, but oh well. It makes me laugh whenever I read those scenes.

Rhage's sacrifice in the end made me almost want to throw the book against the wall, but thank goodness it turned out the way it did. For a second there I thought Mary was a goner, or that they would never see each other again. I guess I was a little slow and actually believed Mary wasn't the one for him, considering V made the prophecy about Rhage's destiny being a Virgin.

I'm giving this one a 4 out of 5. Can't wait for the next one!
posted by Daphne @ 10:14 PM   1 comments
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

This is the first time I've read something in this genre (dark paranormal type stuff). I thought I'd give it a chance since I've been getting bored with my usual stories. I'm gonna admit, at first I didn't like this at all, but now this series has grown on me.

I'm not really swooning over Wrath but I thought the story was very entertaining and just a fresh read. I honestly don't think I can be completely attracted to a vampire. I hate vampires. Even though these guys are portrayed as "good guys" and don't feed on humans, it's still....creepy! Whenever I see the word fangs, I cringe just a little bit. And the creepy scenes with Mr. X.... I always skim over those because they are pretty gross to me. The way he and Omega kill/torture people just give me the heeby geebies.

Wrath's first encounter with Beth was just...WOA!! Slow down, talk about raw animal attraction. While I thought the scene was hot, it just seemed too soon! I'm really not about having sex with people you barely know. Considering Beth almost got raped in an alley, you'd think she would be smarter than to have sex with a random guy who just mysteriously broke into your house. Ugh.

Then there's Wrath's whole blindness thing. The whole time I was picturing him like Ben Affleck in the movie Daredevil. But it still seemed a little unsexy to me that he wore sunglasses 24/7. J.R. Ward's writing also made it seem like he wasn't blind at all. I can understand if she would say "he felt her presence in the room" but she would always just say he could "see things." It was a little weird for me, and had she not flat out said he was blind, I never would've guessed.

There was a secondary romance in the book that I absolutely loved. This of course was between Beth's human friend Butch and Wrath's shellan, Marissa. I felt so bad for Marissa at first, for being Wrath's shellan for hundreds of years, but never experiencing any reciprocating passion from him. But the more I thought about it, the more I think she brought it on herself. You'd think after all those years, she would have spoken up. I felt bad that she had to see those visions Wrath had of Beth. But in the end I'm glad she accepted their situation, and moved on. I can't wait for her romance with Butch to continue.

I'm going to give this one a 3 out of 5.
posted by Daphne @ 9:59 PM   1 comments
Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Annabelle is tired of being the lone failure in a family of overachievers. She's endured dead-end jobs and a broken engagement. Even her hair's a mess! But that's going to change now that she's taken over her late grandmother's matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City's hottest bachelor as her client, and she'll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town. Nothing is going to stand in her way -- not the drunk lying comatose under her car, not her family's disapproval, and certainly not the lingering effects of a broken heart.
With his money green eyes and calculated charm, Heath Champion is the best sports agent in the country. He's wealthy, driven, and gorgeous, so why does he need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she's entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of his success -- the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Thin, rich, utterly fabulous Portia Powers has spent her career making matches for everyone but herself. Her take-no-prisoners attitude has built Power Matches into the top matchmaking agency in Chicago. So what if she has more enemies than friends and she's one breath away from a nervous breakdown? Neither an upstart like Annabelle Granger nor Heath Champion's menacing, but oddly intriguing, bodyguard, will keep her from getting what she wants -- a Power Match for Heath ... the city's very own Jerry Maguire.
Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, right down to Annabelle's overprotective book club. When the matchmaker promises she'll do anything to keep her star client happy ... does she mean anything? If Annabelle isn't careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town -- a man who's beginning to ask himself: Exactly how perfect does perfect have to be?

This is an overdue blog, so I can't remember too many details. But for the most part I enjoyed this book. It's not as great as some of SEP's other works (i.e Nobody's Baby But Mine, This Heart of Mine)... but it was a cute read.

The story seemed a bit unrealistic and predictable to me, but I still love how SEP is able to tell a story, in a way that makes you feel like you're watching the scenes play out. There were a couple of things I didn't like about the story:

1. The side-romance with Portia and Heath's bodyguard. Their whole affair just seemed too creepy for me. It was just downright dirty sex. Hmm, no thanks.

2. Heath not sticking up for Annabelle in front of her family. I've had back and forth debates about this one, and even though Heath didn't have a family and thought it was great Annabelle had one, he failed to see how upset she was. That's a big no no in my book.

3. Phoebe Calebow: since when did she become such a b!tch?? In her first book, It had to be You, Phoebe seemed so sweet. A little spoiled, yes, but still nice. SEP just turned her into a serious businesswoman with no feelings in this book. I did not like that.

It was very predictable that Heath would eventually realize that his idea of a perfect woman just did not exist, and that his true mate was Annabelle. But even so, I enjoyed reading how he finally came to realize this. I'd give this one a 3.5 out of 5.
posted by Daphne @ 9:44 PM   1 comments
Sexy shoes
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I bought some new shoes in Vegas. Basically I packed in such a hurry and left straight from work...that I had no shoes (other than the work shoes I was already wearing). I noticed in the hotel gift shop a huge sign that said "shoe clearance" and thought.. oh what the heck. Everything was either too big (9 or 10) or just bleh whatever. Then my girl Holly points out these silver really high heeled shoes. There is no way I woulda picked that out myself, I've NEVER bought/owned a pair of shoes like these. It's just not...me. ya know?
Well they were on sale... $15. I figured what the heck, it's not like I can be picky here. So we get dressed for the evening and I'm very hesitant to put the shoes on. As soon as I stood up, I felt....different. For starters I felt taller. And I felt.... well basically... pretty. Who would've thought shoes could make me feel like that? I've never been a shoe person. I think my brother owns more shoes than me. But man... it felt good to get some compliments. Will I be wearing these shoes again? Who knows... they hurt after a few hours, but we'll see. You only live once right?
posted by Daphne @ 9:36 AM   4 comments
Who Is Daphne?

Name: Daphne
Home: California, United States
About Me: I love to read, especially romance books. I love to play, especially computer games and puzzles. I love to dance, especially lindy hop. I love my family and friends.
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