Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{BOOKS} What have I been reading?

I've been reading a lot lately. Well, more than usual. So, what have I been reading? First, let me preface this by saying I was having 50 Shades withdrawals!

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire - This is what Amazon has to say..."The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match."

So, this book took a bit to get into, but once I started I could not stop. However, I must say that it follows the same formula as Twilight with a damsel in distress and wanting the wrong guy. It was a super easy, entertaining read, and I recommend it. It was only $4 on Amazon Kindle.

Gabriel's Inferno/The University of Edward Masen by Sylvain Reynard - Book description from Amazon - "Gabriel's Inferno" -- semi-finalist for Best Romance in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards "This is not only one of the best debut books this year, but Reynard is one of the best new authors this year. 5 stars." - Donna of Offbeat Vagabond "It's not very often that I am left so affected by a book, but this one took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions ... This novel is thought provoking, entertaining and beautiful. 5 stars." - Nix of Scorching Book Reviews "This is one of the most romantic and sensual stories I have read ...the words he writes will sing to you. 5 stars." - JJ of JJ iReads "I was seduced, entranced, and completely satisfied ...The narrator, and its characters were equally charming and sinful. 5 stars." - Tigris Eden's Garden of Books Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption. When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide. An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, "Gabriel's Inferno" is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man's escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible...forgiveness and love."

I started reading the free excerpt of Gabriel's Inferno from Amazon, and I liked it, so I was about to buy it when I decided to read the fanfiction that it was based on, The University of Edward Masen (U of EM). And once again, the book, based off Twilight, has the same themes running through it. No surprise there but the background story is different. Now, I don't know if it was because I was reading the fanfic, but this book had some serious lulls throughout. I had a hard time getting through them only to be brought back in by some new twist. I also wasn't a fan of all the poetry used throughout out the book. Again, I don't know if it's the same for the actual book. So, I don't know if I'd actually recommend U of EM, but I wouldn't mind reading Gabriel's Inferno to see the difference between the two.

Things worth mentioning, these books are similar, however there is NOT a lot of raunch like 50 Shades, which I liked. Are these books the greatest? No, but they're entertaining and well written. I would totally recommend them for a decent read, you'll definitely know what you're getting with these reads.

Next on my list to read is Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. I actually found the movie first and decided to DVR it, but read the book before I watch it. We'll see how it goes!

Riding the Colorado River!

We recently took a trip to Laughlin, Nevada to go sea-dooing along the Colorado River. We stayed at this awesome casino & resort along the river. However, when I heard the word "casino" I was not too thrilled, but this place was very family friendly. There were quite a few families with children of all ages.

I seriously had the best time on this trip! And so did everyone else. The kids did remarkably well on the car trip to and from, and I was more prepared from our last impromptu car trip to San Fran. This time I brought backpacks for each kid filled with things to do. Also, a HUGE savior was the iPad to watch movies and the iTouch to play games. Oh, and lots of snacks! I think they ate most of the time.

We had one day on the river and I wished we'd had at least two! Isabella loved just sitting on the beach playing with the sand and water. She played for hours! Jacob LOVED sea-dooing! He went out at least three times and could not get enough. Jess and I took a trip out onto the CO river together and we were out for over an hour! It was sooo much fun! We're thinking about going back before the summer is over. Or at least making it a yearly tradition! I can only hope!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Class of 2012!

A few weeks ago, actually it's been almost a month, we celebrated my niece's graduation. And you can bet I was all over it! Her school colors were navy and gold (yellow) and we ran with the black in a typical graduation celebration. I designed the invites and also took the pictures used for the invite. We had the ubiquitous candy bar, and like before, it was a hit! Well, it was a hit because we always use candy that people actually like! Not just the nasty candy that matched the color scheme. Yuck.*Side Story* When my sister and I went to buy the candy for the table, we saw this lady buying matching candy for a party, a baby shower to be exact. And we asked her, do people eat all of that candy and she said, "no not really...It just looks nice." Um, hello! I'm not going to spend tons of money on candy that no one's going to eat! And it's one thing I noticed in A LOT of candy tables, nasty candy. So, here's a hint, get candy that people like! Okay, off my soap box. The candy table had several different candies, cupcakes, and memorabilia my niece collected throughout her school years. The cupcakes were hilarious! There's a TMI story in there about the cupcakes but the food coloring in the blue cupcakes left the guests with blue mouths! Not good, LOL! But they were tasty nonetheless. My sister had a taco guy, the same one we've used for all of our huge parties, and he gets rave reviews every time. Yum! The centerpieces were yellow roses wrapped in ribbon. And here are the pictures!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Mouse & A Whale

The summer is flying by and you know what they say - Time flies when you're having fun! We've had out-of-town visitors for the last few weeks, and we've been on vacation. We've gone to quite few places. California Adventure was one of them, and a given especially with the opening of Cars Land! It was adorable! It looks just like you're in the movie! There are 3 new rides but we only went on the most fun one, Radiator Spring Racers. It was a lot of fun and, thankfully, we didn't have to wait in the 3 hour long line! Yup, I said it. Three. Hours.

Later that day we made our way to Disneyland and went on a few rides there too. And we watched the kids' favorite show, Fantasmic. They adore that show and I love watching their faces as they watch it along with the firework show!

We also made a trip down south to San Diego for Sea World. The kids, again, loved it! I, on the other hand, did not. I hadn't been in years, and the shows seem so different. For one, the Shamu show was the one I noticed to be the most different and understandably so. You can no longer walk up to the tank and touch it, and also, the trainers do not enter the water with the whales. Because of this, the show is short and a little less entertaining. Sea World is also moving to be more theme parky with its move to add more rides. It's no longer one giant aquarium. But the Sesame Street bay of Play was great for the kids. Jacob had fun climbing and Isabella had a ball splashing around. An after touching dolphins and seeing a slew of animals, needless to say, the kids did not want to go home! And That's all that counts!