Donna Reads: Lock & Key by Cat Porter

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lockGrace Quillen has been away for sixteen years. She’s on her way back home to South Dakota because her sister is dying. Miles from home she meets a man in a bar named Miller. Although she’s not known for having one night stands, she’s very attracted to the tall, dark, enigmatic Miller. A few drinks, some dancing, and one thing leads to another. In the light of day, early the next morning as Miller lies sleeping, Grace sees the tattoo on his back indicating he’s a member of the One Eyed Jacks motorcycle club. She quickly dresses and runs out.

For sixteen years Grace has been on the move. Once known as the most famous biker’s old lady in South Dakota, she’s been on her own since the murder of her husband. She never expected to get sucked back into club life with the One Eyed Jacks. She never expected to find love again.

This book was intense and stirred up a range of emotions for me. I don’t normally care for or read books that make me cry. When Grace visited her husband’s grave for the first time, I sat and sobbed. The backstory and chapters telling of her love and life with Jake “Dig” Quillen were moving. I also enjoyed her developing relationship with Miller “Lock” Flies as Eagles, the half Native American man she met on her way home.

There were parts of the story that I hated and parts I skimmed through because they made me cringe. I kept reading anyway and by the ending, I understood why some of the less appealing parts had been included. Ultimately, I did not care for the way the club “used” Grace, but it was necessary to achieve their objectives, and I understood why they felt they had to handle things that way.

This was a moving read. It’s definitely the type of book that will stay with me. I’ve already downloaded book two in the series, the story told from Grace’s late husband, Dig’s point of view.

Donna Reads: Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

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egomaniacDivorce attorney Drew Jagger returns from vacation to find his New York City office occupied by a strange woman. His office space was being renovated and he returns to check on the progress and finds the intruder. Emerie Rose, a psychologist from Oklahoma, is new to New York. Taken in by a swindler who has taken all of her savings in exchange for the office space, she finds herself out of money and with nowhere to go. Drew lets her stay and share the space in exchange for her help with the phones while his secretary is recovering from surgery. Drew and Emerie are opposites and spend most of their time arguing until they begin to be attracted to each other.

When I first began reading this book, I laughed a lot. It had a lot of laugh out loud moments, and the insults they exchanged were hysterical. As the characters developed and other characters were introduced to the storyline, it wasn’t as funny, but it was still a good read. Drew has more of a tragic backstory to explain what makes him so sarcastic and often bitter. There are several flashback chapters inserted to tell his history (Drew has an ex-wife and a little boy). Emerie’s life was more straightforward although there was an ex-boyfriend of sorts lurking around who proved to be a bit of an annoyance more than anything else.

I enjoyed this one although it was easy to put aside. Once the character development began and the sarcastic interplay between the two main characters cooled and the hot and heavy romance began, it lost a little something for me. I did pick it back up and finish it, but I missed the initial zing that had been there between Drew and Emerie.

Well, They Are Almost Sixty Years Old

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Yes, the eyes have it. I saw the eye doctor today for a regular checkup. I haven’t been in two years. I haven’t had a lot of issues with my eyes other than a bit of dryness and lots of overuse. Doesn’t everyone sit at the computer most of the day these days? Doesn’t everyone look at a screen of some sort or another most of the day? Between the computer, smartphone, Kindle and television mine get an electronic workout.

The doctor did tell me that most people overuse their eyes. Unfortunately, it was one old age comment after another today. I finally commented, “Getting old sucks”. He agreed with me. Sigh. How the hell did I get this old?

fullsizerender-2Feast your eyes on these peepers. Yep, that’s my eyes in all their unadorned glory, without makeup and without glasses. Not a state you’ll see me in very often. The pupils are dilated for the various tests the doctor puts me through. These days I also get the extra special photographic session of the inside of my eye. Yes, three camera flashes to each eye to get an image of my retina and the drusen I have growing there.

My doctor told me about the drusen two years ago when he took the first photos. They are yellow deposits under the retina made up of lipids, a fatty protein. He told me he would just keep an eye on them. They are part of aging and could lead to macular degeneration if they change or grow. Good news this visit is that they look the same as they did last time around.

I also found out this year that I have pinguecula on the white part of my eye. A few months ago I found this obnoxious little bump on the white part of my left eye on the side nearest my nose. When my eyes are feeling the driest, it’s worse. I can feel it against my eyelid – it feels like something in my eye. He told me these little gems are also part of aging, and to not be shy about using the artificial tears.

So good news is my eyes are healthy. They’re just aging like the rest of me. I spent most of this weekend suffering from what I thought was the flu. I had aches and pains and a low-grade fever. I was a bit better yesterday but sneezing like I had a cold. Today I’m better still, but now feeling a bit down about the aging thing. Most days I don’t feel my age. Today I do.

Maybe it was the doctor’s comment about “fewer tomorrows than yesterdays” that got to me. Hell, I was telling everyone I was old when I was in my 30’s. I have video proof of my oldest son as a toddler telling the daycare provider, “my Mommy’s old” like it was some big secret. He’d been hearing me say it often enough day in/day out. So now that I just turned 58? I don’t want to be old!

img_3096Yes, that’s me wearing my hair longer and wild kind-of like I did in my 20’s. I wear skin tight leggings and heavy metal band concert t-shirts. I listen to loud metal music. I have four tattoos with more planned. I dance around and sing to my music. Yep, I’m going down kicking and screaming.

Just try and stop me.

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

Donna Reads: Falling for Boston by Leslie Kate

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bostonTyler Vaughn is new to Boston. He’s a famous football player, new to the New England Patriots. He meets Dylan Riley at the TV sports show/station where she works (I can’t remember the specifics of her job situation other than that she works in and lives for sports pretty much 24/7). He literally runs into her in the hallway, and it’s love at first sight for him. Dylan is rough around the edges, just one of the guys.

This one is difficult for me to review. I enjoyed the book except for the heroine. It is well written, told in opposing points of view, and it reads quickly.

I loved the hero. I loved everything about Tyler. I loved his personality, his sense of humor, and his sensitivity. In many ways he had the more “feminine” characteristics in the storyline. He’s described as a hopeless romantic. He was sweet. I kept waiting for the other woman story angle to crop up because he’d been described as gorgeous, he was a famous football player, and he was such a nice man. However, he wasn’t a player, and he wasn’t a jerk. There was no angst with former girlfriends or crazed groupies/fans getting in the way, and that was refreshing in and of itself. Too many sports romances have the hero portrayed as a sex-crazed pig. Tyler was not. I loved his interactions with his family and his best friend, Robb. He was human, and he was real.

The angst here for me was solely with the heroine. I can’t help it; I hated her. She was a dude, pure and simple. She had no feminine side, no softness, and no sweetness. She was fairly close to her family, and her mother was a positive character in the story. Where was her mother’s influence?? Dylan was selfish and mean, many of the things the typical alpha male romance novel hero is. Her three brothers didn’t act that way. Why was she such a jerk? I didn’t “get” Dylan at all. I grew up as a tomboy and a sports nut myself, and I’m independent and strong and live with three men. I was never any of the things this heroine was. She didn’t ring true for me.

One of the things I hated the most about her was the fact that she calls the hero by his last name the entire book. I don’t think she ever called him Tyler once. That irritated the heck out of me. The chapters in his voice are even titled, “Vaughn”. Why give him a first name at all if we’re going to refer to him by his last name? His family and friends all called him Tyler. She called him Vaughn. How romantic. It just reinforced for me how obnoxious a character Dylan was.

I had to force myself to finish this (it took me a month) because I disliked Dylan so intensely, and that was the only reason why it dragged on for me. When she chose a job over love and dumped Tyler I wanted her character out of the story altogether. She was so clueless and over the top mean I wanted him to find someone else. Even after the HEA, I wanted better for Tyler.

I hope I’m in the minority here because other than the problems I had with the female lead, it’s a good book. It had humor, romance and great cast of supporting characters. Dylan just didn’t do it for me, and that’s a shame.