Friday, April 05, 2013

Friday Lit Pop #7 - Two Book Special

I slept in an odd position last night. Yeah, I know what you're probably thinking, har har. But no. No sexy fun time for Cora. I think I slept while doing a headstand or something because my neck has been killing me ever since I climbed out of bed on Thursday morning. I can barely turn my head to the left, and when I sneeze it feels like my head is going to drop off my shoulders and roll under the desk. I should be so lucky.

I'm tired, whiny, unmotivated, and ready for the weekend - a weekend where there will be wine and fresh baked cookies aplenty. A place where I'll have nothing else to do but lounge around in my pajamas, play Neopets, and write when I feel like it. Sounds like Heaven, doesn't it?  If you do happen to find such a place, please be sure to let me know where it is.

Hubby is working this weekend, so it's going to be me, Mini Beast, and the critters. The first order of business will be grocery shopping so we don't starve. As it stands, our cabinets consist of coffee, tea, half a box of potato flakes, and a can of beanie weenies.  The second order of business will be tending to the mountain of laundry in the hallway. On Wednesday, the dogs decided to mire themselves in the mud like a pair of piglets, which called for emergency baths for both of them. That also made for an instantaneous boost in the number of dirty towels. All the other laundry got set aside so I could take care of the post-mud-bath towel mountain. Sigh.

Moving along, moving along... My Friday lit pop is a little different this week. I want to talk about a few of the books I've read lately. They are both books I liked enough to recommend. (Although I will be pointing out some of the elements about them that I didn't like). Expect some spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

Beguiling the Boss by Joan Hohl

My least favorite type of book cover:
The Ode to Bobby Ewing of Dallas look.
Very dated, and comprised of ten 
gallon Stetson hat, tie, and sport coat 
with jeans. 

Where I come from, real cowboys who
muck stalls and haul hay do not 
dress like this. Neither do CEOs.  

I immediately associate this look 
with the pastor of small, 
country church, or a middle-aged man
looking to sell me a used truck from 
the shady dealership across town. Either 
way, it's a turn off. This look
is smarmy, not heroic. 

Beguiling the Boss is a wonderful
book that deserved a much, much
better cover than this. 

Harlequin, please
stop making covers like this! 
For Western cover inspiration, look
to B.J. Daniels's books, and Vicki
Lewis Thompson's Last Chance
series books. Yum!
The first book on my list is Joan Hohl's Beguiling the Boss (Harlequin Desire, March 2013). The story revolves around a socialite who moves in with a rich "rancher" in order to be his personal assistant and housekeeper. There is a twist relating to why she wants the job - a strange subplot and motivation - but I don't want to spoil it, so I won't say what it is. You'll have to read the book to find out.

This is a Desire, so of course, the hero hires someone to maintain his ranch for him. He doesn't do the manual labor. To maintain the Western atmosphere, there are horses and a riding into the sunset scene. Don't expect too much of that, though. Technically, Jennifer (the heroine) takes a job as a personal assistant for a man who primarily works out of his home. This is how the author creates the atmosphere of close proximity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the set up of this book, the way the author handled the characters. I also liked how the author managed the level of sexual tension. The book is fun and flirty from the first meet up. Jennifer and Marshall share an instantaneous attraction for one another, and I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting.

The only thing bad about this book is the cover. In fact, I literally frowned at the Pastor Jeb Zoolander cover on the shelf. Typically I pass over the books which feature heroes with a combination of ties and Stetsons, and I very nearly passed on Beguiling the Boss. After some debate, I bought the book based on the intriguing back blurb. The author's voice saved the day.

As I said, the cover of this book is pretty awful (a faux cowboy making a duck face), but don't let that dissuade you from giving this story a chance. The story contains several awesome scenes of passionate romance, and there wasn't a slow or tedious part to speak of.

There were a few noticeable typos clumped together in the back-half of the book, which made me think they rushed this book to get it ready for print. I didn't mind it at all. I'm simply mentioning it in the event someone buys a book based on my recommendation and decides to write me an angry letter: "How could you Cora? Didn't you see the typo on page eleventy-seventy?" Or something like that. But I digress... Overall, this is a very enjoyable book. One of my top picks for March. That said, I'll definitely be looking for more books by Joan Hohl.

Buy link:

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The other book I read recently is The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. This was required reading, but I love this type of self-improvement book so it was no trouble at all for me to read it.

The Talent Code is written in an academic style that's fast-paced and easy to understand. If you're like me, interested in how people learn and how our brains function and acquire knowledge, you'll probably find this book fascinating. There is no overly scientific language or complicated gobbledygook to sift through, and since the concepts are explained mostly through a series of narrative recollections and vignettes, a wide range of readers may find this book enjoyable.

The Talent Code isn't very long (my kindle edition had 257 pages, I think), but it poses several interesting questions about how talented people learn, and how the brain reacts to certain circuits being stimulated through a method the author has described as "deep practice." (pp. 16-24)

In the end, I walked away with a few questions left unanswered, but at the same time, the book offered insight into staying motivated while pushing yourself to the next level of your abilities.

Buy Link:

There you have it, my Cora's Picks for the week. Please note I do not get any compensation for recommending these books. Both books were paid for out of my own pocket.

That's it for now. I hope you have a fun weekend. Until next time, happy reading!

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