Monday, March 30, 2015

In Bed with the Bachelor by Megan Crane

Our latest bachelor has enough family in Marietta to qualify as an honorary native, but hails instead from Seattle, WA, which is where he’ll fly you for a glamorous weekend on the shores of the sparkling Puget Sound. Jesse Grey will treat you the way a local boy turned construction tycoon should: five star accommodations, gourmet dinners, and celebrated Washington wines. We just can’t promise he’ll smile much. Or at all.
Sold to the highest bidder!
Jesse Grey, notorious bachelor and one of Seattle’s foremost construction tycoons, has been roped into participating in the Marietta Bachelor Auction thanks to an expertly executed guilt trip laid out by his family.
Michaela Townsend already has a fiancé and certainly doesn’t need another man in her life. So when her family buys her surly, sexy Jesse at the auction and wrangles him into driving her from Montana to Seattle, she’s appalled yet disturbingly attracted.

As far as Jesse is concerned, Michaela is forbidden fruit. Even though he knows her fiancé isn’t all he seems, Jesse would never take what didn’t belong to him. But how long can he resist the one woman he shouldn’t touch?  

Series: Bachelor's Auction # 5 | Publisher: Montana Born | Source: Publisher | Rating: 2.5 Cups

Michaela Townsend’s family buys Jesse Grey’s date as part of her bachelorette party but rather than going on the date, Michaela’s family ropes him into driving her from Montana to Seattle, where hail both are from.

Due to the snowstorm, they end up trapped at a hotel. While both are attracted to each other, Jesse refuses to act on his attraction because Michaela—even though she claims she’s in an open relationship—is engaged.

I’ve loved this series, but I just couldn’t get into this book. It was a little weak and I found Michaela to be a bit annoying with her constant babbling.

I’ve always had a soft spot for broody guys—they’re my weakness—so Jesse was right up my alley. He’s gruff, broody, and barely cracks a smile. There’s a reason why he’s broody, but I won’t tell you what it is. It’s also the reason he refuses to act on his feelings for Michaela.

The chemistry between Michaela and Jesse occasionally popped up but there was so much internal dialogue that it bogged it down. Don’t get me wrong, I like to know what the characters are thinking but page after page of internal ramblings pulls me out of a book and makes the characters feel disconnected.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of Michaela’s view on relationships. She seemed like she was a smart cookie but, blimey, the fact that she allowed herself to believe what her fiancé was spewing about relationships just to justify his cheating done my head in. Seriously, if I hadn’t been reading this on my Kindle, I so would have chucked the book at the wall.

Overall, I think I would have liked this book so much more if the heroine would have been different and more external dialogue would have been added.

Bachelor Auction Series
Book 3: The Bachelor's Baby
Book 4: What a Bachelor Needs
Book 5: In Bed with the Bachelor

Friday, March 20, 2015

Perdita by Hilary Scharper

Marged Brice is 134 years old. She’d be ready to go, if it weren’t for Perdita . . .
The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…
Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.
Everyone knows about death. It’s life that’s much more mysterious…

After a tragic accident, Garth Hellyer throws himself into conducting research for the Longevity Project where he discovers Marged Brice. She’s claiming to be 134 years old and while she’s ready to die, she can’t for fear of leaving Perdita, a mysterious presence that can only be revealed through her journals.
Although he’s skeptic, he elects to take home Marged’s journals and with the help of his childhood friend Clare, they slowly uncover the mystery of Marged and Perdita.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Perdita. As a fan of gothics, I knew I had to give this novel a go. I was intrigued by the mystery of whom or what Perdita was, so I was a slightly disappointed by the fact that she’s mentioned early on in chapter 1 then disappears until page 349.
The novel drew me in but occasionally the journal entries bogged down the pacing and gave it a sluggish feel. And while Marged’s story, through her journal entries, is fleshed-out the modern day story of Garth and Clare needed to be equally developed to round out the novel.
If you’re looking for a novel that ties up the ending in a neat little bow, this isn’t one of those novels. Several loose ends are left at the end and questions are answered with more questions.
The gothic aspect of this book was interesting. Inflections of Emily Brontë are found throughout Scharper’s prose. Although whereas Brontë’s use of nature was through an atmospheric approach used to heighten the readers senses, Scharper elected to bring forth nature as another character in a literary style her husband coined as ‘eco-gothic’. While the styles of Brontë and Scharper both draw heavily upon nature, Scharper, while brilliantly painting a rugged wilderness, loses the atmosphere that I associate with the gothic style. 
Overall, Perdita was an engaging read. The beginning was slow, but it’s well worth sticking it out.


Book Details
Title: Perdita
Author: Hilary Scharper
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781492602446   
Release Date: 1/20/2015
Formats: E-book & Trade Paperback
Source: Printed Arc from Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Cups

Review also featured on Royal Reviews

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DYI: Dragonfly Necklace

Hello lovelies, I have something a bit new for you today and I’m so excited!
When I was writing down my blogging goals for 2015, one of the most important things for me to focus on this year for Simply Angela was incorporating more of what I do and who I am into the blog.
Since a huge part of my free time is devoted to designing and creating jewelry, which I absolutely love, I thought a DIY Jewelry Tutorial would be a fun post to start with. As this is my first jewelry post, I’m going to start with something simple that doesn’t require a lot of steps, materials, or knowledge of jewelry making. Future posts will vary in skill level.
So. Today I will be showing you how to create a lovely little Dragonfly Necklace. The steps are fairly simple, although if you have any questions feel free to pop me an email or leave them in the comments.
Skill Level: Beginner, Time: 40 minutes
1—2 inch Silver Head Pin
1—2 inch Silver Eye Pin
1—4 inch piece of gold wire
3—4 mm jump rings
2—11 inch pieces of chain
1—Spring Clasp and tab
4—3 or 4 mm round gemstone beads (I used turquoise)
5—3 or 4 mm round silver beads (I used Bali Silver)
2—Teardrop-shaped gemstone beads (I used 13x10 mm blue magnesite)
3-in-1 Pliers (contains wire cutters, flat pliers, and round nose pliers in one tool)
2 pairs of Needle Nose or Round Nose Pliers to open the jump rings
First, we’re going to start with the chain.

For this, you’ll be using 2 pairs of Needle Nose Pliers, 2 11-inch pieces of Chain, 1 Jump Ring, 1 Spring Closure with tab.

Step1—Open the eyehook of the Spring Clasp with a pair of needle nose pliers
Step 2—Add 1 chain and close the eyehook
Step 3—Open the jump ring and slide on the tab (make sure you use the small hole)
Step 4—Add the second chain and close the jump ring
Step 5—Connect the tab to the Spring Clasp as you would when fastening a necklace and set aside
Now were going to assemble the body of the dragonfly.
For this, you’ll be using the 3-in-1 Pliers, the Head Pin, 5 Round Silver Beads, and 4 Round Turquoise Beads.
Step 1—Make sure your head pin has a circular flat head
Step 2—Start adding your beads starting with a Silver bead (S) then add a Turquoise bead (T). Your pattern should be STSTSTSTS
Step 3—With your finger, bend the remaining wire in a 90° angle
Step 4—With your round nose pliers bend the tail of the wire into a loop. Set aside.

Now we’re going to build the wings.

For this you’ll need 1 Eye pin, 2 Magnesite Teardrop beads, the beaded body from the previous step, and round nose pliers.

Step 1—Make sure that the loop of the eye pin is closed
Step 2—Add 1 of the Magnesite Teardrop beads. Make sure you have the rounded bottom of the bead flush with the loop of the eye pin
Step 3—Slide the eye pin through the loop of the beaded body
Step 4—Add the last Magnesite Teardrop bead. This time make sure the ‘point’ of the teardrop faces inward. With your finger, bend the remaining wire in a 90° angle then form a loop with the round nose pliers. Set aside.
At this point, your Dragonfly should look like this. To get the look of the curved tail, slightly bend the tail between your thumb and forefinger.

We’re going to make the antenna’s now.

If you have a pile of scrap wire (or a box, in my case), this is the perfect time to dig into it. What you’ll need for the next few steps is a 4 inch piece of Gold Wire and Wire Cutters.

Step 1—Cut a 4 inch length of Gold Wire
Step 2—Bend the wire into a V-Shape
Step 3—Open the wire slightly

Okay, lovelies, we’re nearly finished. We just have to attach the antenna to this wee beauty. What you’ll need for this is a pair of Wire Cutters and Needle Nose Pliers.

Step 1—Hold the ‘V’ of the antenna against the middle of the wings
Step 2—Wrap the wire twice between the loop of the eye hook and the teardrop bead. Do the same with the left side
Step 3—Trim the wire to 1/2 inch in length
Step 4—Using the round nose pliers, curl the ends of the wire, then twist the wire together at the base

So, your wee lovely should look like this. Isn’t it darling?

Now we’re going to attach the dragonfly to the necklace.
You’ll need 2 Jump Rings, the Chain, and Needle Nose Pliers.
Step 1—Open the Jump Ring—NEVER open the loops of the eye pin, it will make the beads too loose—and add the loop on the side of the wing, the bottom of the chain, then close.
Step 2—Repeat step 1 on the opposite side
Now your wee dragonfly is ready to wear!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan

Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…
It’s been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of “just breathe” pep talks she’s given herself. And that’s before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…
Ryan knows all about secrets. And it’s clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won’t let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he’s going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else’s hands?

When Emily Donovan finds herself as the guardian of her orphaned niece, she knows keeping Lizzy safe means moving to Puffin Island. Yet Emily’s fear of the ocean is nearly as paralyzing as her fear of falling in love although one kiss from Ryan Cooper has Emily revaluating her fears and her future on Puffin Island.

Ryan Cooper knows what it’s like to have the responsibility of caring for a child thrust upon him unexpectedly and he’s made it his mission to never get involved with someone who has children, but when his friend Brittany calls in a favor to look after Emily, Ryan starts questioning his own rules.

I loved First Time in Forever. It was achingly sweet and tender with a bit humor thrown in as an added bonus.

Emily’s been through a lot. Not having family to turn to, she immediately bonded with two girls in college and they made a pact that if one of them was in trouble they would flock to Brittany’s cottage on Puffin Island. She knows it’s her best option of keeping the paparazzi away from her niece but she’s terrified of the ocean and there’s a sound reason for her fear and it also goes hand-in-hand with her fear of falling in love.

I liked that Emily was willingly to try to get past her fear. It showed amazing strength and courage. I also liked the fact that while she showed weakness, she wasn’t a weak heroine. She was ready and willingly to fight for what she wanted.

Ryan Cooper was a tad bit nosey. I don’t think that I’ve ever read a hero as nosey as he was but it was and endearing quality and went along with his character. He also was a layered character and there is a lot more to him that meets the eye. He’s had a lot of burdens and responsibilities thrust upon him as a teenager and it’s made him yearn for freedom which has played havoc on his ability to form long-lasting relationships with women and had made him vow never to have children.

It was really fun watching him maneuver a new form of relationship with Emily. I could feel his hesitation, confliction, and his yearning as he grew closer to Emily and Lizzy.

Ryan and Emily had amazing chemistry but because of their situations, they were both slow to start any form of a relationship, which made the sexual tension all the more apparent and entertaining.

The plot had a steady flow and I breezed through this book. What truly drew me was the author’s amazing ability to make me feel as though I was right in the center of everything. The book truly felt as though it came to life.

Another thing that made this book so endearing was the glimpses of the secondary characters. Brittany and Zach (their story is coming in book two) had a very brief marriage and now Zach is back on Puffin Island. Skylar and Alec (book 3) she’s a wild spirit that’s never fit in with her family and his recent divorce has left him jaded and leery of beautiful woman. I cannot wait to read more about these characters.

This was my first time reading a romance by Sarah Morgan and it most certainly will not be my last. I cannot wait to read more from the Puffin Island Series as well as her other books.

Overall, I found a new favorite author! First Time in Forever is one of those rare magical books where you instantly fall in love with the characters and the setting.

My favorite book so far this year!


Book Details
Title: First Time in Forever
Puffin Island Book 1
Author: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: HQN
Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 978-0-373-78504-9
Release Date: March 2015
Format I read: Mass Market Paperback ARC
Source: MLM Media Relations
Rating: 5 Cups

Monday, March 16, 2015

30 Day Tea and Teapot Challenge Day 10

A friend challenged me to do a 30 days of Teas and Teapots challenge.  So, for the next 30 days, I will be posting the tea that I am drinking as well as the teapot I am using.
Feel free to play along and post the tea you are drinking and/or the teapot you are using. Just add your link in the comments or join in on the blog’s Facebook page Simply Angela. On Twitter, use the hashtag #SimplyAngelaTeaChallenge

Tea/Teapot Challenge DAY 10: Lemon Twist Tea and Polka Dot mini-teapot

Today has been a crazy busy day. I’m having furniture delivered, so I spent the morning getting rid of my old furniture, dusting, sweeping, washing down walls, and panicking over whether or not I measured correctly. I also had a few jewelry orders that needed to be shipped out.

Tea: Lemon Twist from Twinings

When I picked today’s tea, I wanted something without caffeine as I’ve been up since 5 and already downed way too many lattes. So I decided to go with Lemon Twist. It’s an herbal infusion or an tisane so there is actually no tea in this blend.

I like this tea. It’s a shame that the US branch of Twinings stopped selling it. I would liken this tea to a pink lemonade. I never use sugar in my tea, so it’s slightly tart, yet pleasing and fresh.

The Teapot: Nostalgia Collection from Hobby Lobby.

This is actually for espresso. It’s nice an small and comes with a demitasse cup and saucer. I think the smaller set is perfect for the tisanes and herbal infusions because you don’t want to drink large quantities at a time.

The Master by Kresley Cole

A need colder than Siberian winter meets an attitude hotter than the Florida sun in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kresley Cole's sultry new Game Maker novel.
Everyone fears the master...
Rich, irresistible politician/Mafiya boss Maksimilian Sevastyan prefers tall, obedient blondes to fulfill his...complicated desires. That is until the icy Russian encounters a disobedient brunette whose exquisite little body threatens his legendary restraint.
Except her.
Catarina Marín was a well-off young wife until her world fell apart. Now she's hiding out, forced to start working as an escort in Miami. Her very first client is beyond gorgeous, but when he tells her what he plans to do to her, Cat almost walks out of the door.
If pleasure is a game, play to win.
After their mind-blowing encounter burns out of control, the lovers crave more. If they escape the deadly threats surrounding them, can Maksim overcome his past--to offer Cat his future? Only then will she tempt him with what he really wants: her, all tied up with a bow.

As a rich Russian mafiya boss/politician Maksimilian ‘Maksim’ Sevastyan is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is a tall blonde who will fulfill his desires, no questions asked. So when Cat, an outspoken and highly defiant, brunette arrives at his hotel Maksin isn’t quite sure what to do with her. Although he’s not about to let her.
Catarina Marín isn’t an escort, but when you’re running away from a murderer and short on funds, one night with Russian doesn’t seem so bad. However, Maksim is unlike anyone she’s met. He wants to bend her to his will and she’s going to give him a fight he’s not soon to forget.
Oh, Maksim, you beastie thing you. Why do you have to be so bloody alluring? Seriously, I’m still searching for that ‘claim your own sexy Sevastyan’ sign-up sheet. Having read The Professional, I was expecting Maksim to come off a little more forceful than he did but I think it was his firm yet gentle approach that made him so lovable.
I would love to be friends with Cat. She’s strong yet vulnerable and heaven help anyone who gets in her way. She was ready and willingly to go against Maksim’s wishes and it made this book such a fun read.
The chemistry was amazing. It practically sizzled off the pages. And I liked the suspense aspect. It felt a little more fleshed out than the first book. I also liked that both of the characters had secrets of their own.
 This is BDSM book. With that being said, the BDSM is very light as is the kink.
Unlike the first book, the mafiya aspect of this book is toned down. While it’s still apparent that Maksim’s a mafiya boss—or a vor—, it’s not as in your face as the first book.
While I enjoyed this book, I felt a bit of the start, especially some of Maksim’s traits, was repetitive from the first book. Thankfully, the book finally came into its own.
Overall, Kresley Cole delivers another fantastic addition to her Game Maker Series. I cannot wait to read the third book from this series.

Book Details
Title: The Master
The Game Maker Series book 2
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery Books
ISBN: 9781451650075
Release Date: 2/17/2015
Format I Read: Trade Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Cups
Meet the Professional.
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss's long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksandr will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
He makes the rules.
Grad student Natalie Porter has barely recovered from her first encounter with the dark and breathtaking Siberian when he whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures.
In the game of obsession, two players are better than one. 
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Aleksandr spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-rich in Paris, the two lovers tempt each other’s boundaries to discover whether their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies really can come true...


Friday, March 13, 2015

What a Bachelor Needs by Kelly Hunter

Your date with ski champ Jett Casey is an either/or deal. He’ll take you off-piste for the ultimate Montana ski adventure or he’ll put his handyman skills at your disposal for a week.
Single mom Mardie Griffin has a run-down old house in need of fixing and a memory of Jett Casey as her saviour in a time of great need. So when her friends acquire Jett’s services at a bachelor auction and send him to fix up her house, she sets aside her mistrust of men and lets him in.
Elite athlete Jett Casey has the world at his feet and no desire for stability. But there’s one woman he’s never forgotten and if he can help make her safe this time, maybe she’ll stop haunting him.
No strings, no sex, no commitment. Just fix things. Surely it can’t be that difficult…

Series: Bachelor's Auction # 4 |Publisher: Montana Born | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

Each time I pick up a book from the Bachelor Auctions series I know I’ll be in for a treat.

Jett Casey aided Mardie Griffin during one of the worst moments in her life and neither has spoken to the other since. When Mardi discovers that her friend purchased Jett’s handyman skills for her benefit, Mardie’s a bit hesitant yet she knows her house could do with more than a sprucing up.

Jett’s always wondered what happened to Mardie. When he discovers that she’s now a single-mother working hard to make her own way, he’s more than willingly to help her out. Yet once he spends time with her and her young daughter, he starts to wonder if roaming the world chasing ski championships is worth it.

I loved Mardie. She’s been to hell and back yet she came out fighting and hasn’t stopped since. Her past has made her leery of men yet she knows that she can trust Jett.

Jett was the perfect hero. He knows what Mardie needs, what scars she carries from her past and he’s willing to work to make her and her daughter’s future as safe as possible.

This is the first time that I’ve read a book where the hero was a professional skier, and it was interesting to see how it shaped Jett’s character traits.

I loved that they knew each other in high school and almost shared a ‘moment’ which neither can stop thinking about. It made their chemistry so much more intense.

My one and only flaw with this book was that it was so short. While the plot flowed and the characters were well-developed, this book was so interesting it could have easily been made into a full-length novel.

Overall, What a Bachelor Needs left me smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy. I was rooting Jett and cheering for Mardie as I read this book in one sitting.