Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Basket O' Kitties

Basket O' Kitties
So, one of the neighbor's cats had her kittens in a tool basket in our laundry room cabinet. Not knowing what to do with the kitties, since I'm 100% positive the neighbor will deny the cats are theirs (I know better), I put mom cat and her babies in a blanket lined laundry basket in my bedroom so she'd have a safe place and privacy to nurse them.

At this point, my biggest fear is she will abandon one of them. There are six kits, and they are teeny weeny. Well, mom has this habit of taking one kitten from the basket and moving it to our bed - in the middle of the night, no less, when we're trying to sleep. She does this with the fussiest, loudest kitten in the litter, and I think she started out doing this to separate it from the others to nurse her alone.

Now she simply puts the kit in the bed with us as if the say, "Here, grandma and grandpa humans, you watch this kit for me while I go about doing my cat business." *_* Um, no, you hussy. Get in your kitty rump in the basket bed and nurse your kitties.

This went on over and over last night. I'm so bloody exhausted I can barely see straight. I'm going to have to ask around if there's someone nearby I can borrow a crate from until these kitties are grown enough to be weaned. That said, a nap is definitely happening today. #zombified

Fussbudget in action. Mew, mew, mew. ♥

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Body Fantasies Vampire Midnight

I've been meaning to blog about the Vampire Midnight perfume box set since Christmas. (2012) I bought the original Vampire (red) perfume two years ago, and I use it a lot. The red version is a soft, sweet, floral kind of smell. You can smell the alcohol when you first spray it, which is common with drugstore perfumes, but the alcohol smell fades within a few seconds, so it's not bothersome. The top notes are floral (possibly jasmine or magnolia essence) and faintly candy-like. I love it. For $15 you can't go wrong.

Like I said, I'm down to about half a bottle of Vampire (red), and the red blood vial for carrying in a purse or clutch is half-full also. I wear this perfume all the time - after getting out of the bath, to go grocery shopping, when I go to RWA meetings, when visiting friends and my parents. It's a nice daily perfume. For comparison with Vampire Midnight (purple bottles), I've included pictures of the original Vampire (red) below. 

I bought Vampire Midnight right before Christmas (2012). The price is marked on the box. (Yes, I paid for this with my own money. No one sent me any products.) The gift set comes in a plastic box with an interior tray. It's easy to open. The tray slides right out. A picture of the back of the box is included in this photo set. The perfume bottle is shaped the same as vampire red - like a blood "tear shape". The main bottle is 1 FL oz/29ml, and the purple blood vial is 5 FL oz/14ml. The same size as the original Vampire perfume.

Vampire Midnight has that same initial alcohol spritz, but that wears off quickly. The top notes smell like blackberry currant and a faintly candy scent. I love it. I will definitely be getting a lot of wear out of this perfume. Just like with Vampire (red, original) the scent wears down quickly. It doesn't have a lot of staying power if you put it on your wrists. I tend to spray this stuff direction on my shirts and sweaters so the scent stays longer. Honestly, I wish this stuff came with an additional sachet for putting in my sweater drawer. I really like it. 

Unboxed. The price tag reads $14.84, doesn't include tax.
(purchased at Walmart)
Plastic slider tray straight out of the box.
Both tear shaped bottle and blood vial pop
right out. 

Vampire Midnight compared to the original Vampire.
Same size. Same bottle. Different color. The bottles
are comfortable to hold when spritzing. No clunky
sprayers on these!

The "blood vials". For carrying in your purse or clutch.
Pull the tops off and spritz. Also, the spritz tops can be removed,
so you can reuse the vials.

 I love, love, love these. Note: the blood vials aren't
available at every store. They may be an Xmas exclusive/
store exclusive. I'm not 100% sure.

That said, I've discovered not every
box of  Vampire/Vampire Midnight perfume comes
with a blood vial. If you don't see a vial through the plastic
packaging, you won't find the blood vial tucked behind the
half-graphic covering the box. 

Vampire Midnight bottle and vial compared to the
original Vampire (red). In my pictures the purple
vial appears larger than the red vial. That's just
because of the odd camera angle. The vials are
actually the same size.

From the back of the box. Toward the bottom
corner, not visible in the picture, there is a website url:

There is a webpage for Vampire perfume here: http://www.fragrancerebel.com/vampire 

The perfume can be purchased directly from the website. Please note: I am not an affiliate of Fragrance Rebel or Parfums de Coeur (tm). I don't receive anything for you clicking on my links, or purchasing through the company's website.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

On My Mind

JakeDog and Sassie McLassie
I haven't posted since last Wednesday? Seriously? I tell ya, time has been slipping away from me lately. For one thing, I've been very busy with school prep. My financial aid came through a few days ago, and I'm now trying to get everything together I'll need for pre-registration. I'm barf-tastically nervous about it all. I have this great fear I'm going to forget something important, or that I won't be able to find the books I need, or that my computer will crap out on me once classes start. I won't even get into the issues I've had with my net connection lately. That's one battle I'd rather not relive.

Mini's out this week for Spring Break, and he wanted to spend a couple of days with my parents, so I made the arrangements with my Mom and drove the boy over there this morning. I'm back home, and while I'm alone in the house, I'm trying to catch up on necessary stuff. I also want to do a big writing push this evening to move my book forward. I'm so ready to kick some of these projects out the door. Make no doubt about that.

Sometime this week I'm going to go to the DMV to straighten out some stuff with the car and Jeep registrations. Remember when I said I was having issues with the car insurance last month? I had to make multiple trips to our agent's office, and I paid my insurance bill three times before they got the darn thing right. Well, I finally got that all straightened out, but before the offices/agents could corroborate that they'd ironed out all the problems there, the issue trickled down to the Baton Rouge office. So, the state shows that I don't have any insurance on my vehicles. *head desk* They're threatening to invalidate the registrations on both the Jeep and the car because of lack of insurance. Never mind both vehicles are insured and I have the necessary paperwork in both cars this very minute. Nevertheless, I have 30 days to straighten out this crap with Baton Rouge or they're killing my registrations. Sounds like a bunch of crap to me, but it is what it is. I'm pretty sure it won't take much doing to give them everything they need to verify that I have insurance on both vehicles, it's just a major pain in the patooey to deal with the DMV. At any rate, I'm blaming the Feb/March Mercury retrograde for all this trouble. That's when this mess started, and here I am months later, still digging my way out of it.

We have an appointment in May to take Miss Sassie McLassie in to be spayed. I'm wondering how I'm going to arrange the house for her aftercare. This has been on my mind so much lately, a few nights ago I dreamed I came home from the store to find my house looking like a tornado had ripped through it. I couldn't tell one room from another.

When we had DivaDog (RIP) spayed three years ago, we put her in the master bedroom while she healed, and I did all my writing back there. I'm not sure how that's going to work out with so much classwork on my hands, but that's looking like the only option for the moment. I'm trying not to over think it, because I'll start to stress out about it, and Jeez only knows what that will lead to. A bunch of furniture rearrangement, probably. Room swapping. No. No. And no. I do not need that right now. I don't need to be the tornado ripping up my house.

That's pretty much everything that's going on with me right now. I need to take advantage of the house being quiet while it lasts. So, off I go to make a dent in my wips. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Earth Day. If you have time, check out the Google Doodle for the day. It's really cute. :o)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Connectivity, Projects, and Writing Reviews

To view more of Mike Munchel's photographs click here.

Holy cow, I'm online. For the past few weeks I've had some serious connectivity issues, but I think I've finally worked out all the kinks. Today I did some maintenance on the home network, and afterward, I was actually able to add my new iPhone to the home wireless. Once hubby gets home, I'm going to try to reconnect his iPod Touch to the network also. We were using it to test the connectivity a few days ago, and our network basically locked out his device. What a headache!

That said, now that the overall system issues are taken care of, I'm sure I won't have any issues reconnecting the iPod, but I don't have the pass for the device, so I gotta wait til the man gets home so he can bring up the settings screen for me. Anyway, for the time being, I seem to be getting booted off the net less than usual. A big yay to that. I've got my fingers crossed the problems have finally been fixed.

This week has been very busy. Honestly, it seems like it should be Thursday, or even Friday, already. Then again I've been chomping at the bit waiting for Spring Break to arrive. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Earlier today I finished a series of peer reviews I had to write up, and tonight I have to play catch up on several lectures as well as a create a sketch for my next project draft. My own personal writing projects are going okay. I have to schedule my time more carefully, but I'm still managing to get in a word count every day. Yesterday I wrote 2k words on TVP, a work in progress that I started late last year. The book is currently sitting somewhere between 43-44k words in length. I'm going to write at least 1k on this story before bed tonight. If I have time, I'm also going to make a pass over one of the short stories for Twilight's Edge.

Moving along... Let's talk a little about books. When I get a spare minute to think through everything I want to say, I'll be reviewing the How to Write Erotic Fiction and Sex Scenes (Lister, A.) guide that I recently rated 5 stars on Goodreads. (I'm kind of bogged down with assignments right now!) Hey, ya know what? That reminds me...

Speaking of reviews, I had someone ask me recently why most of my reviews are 4 or 5 stars, and the way they phrased that question made it seem like I am not being honest in my reviews. I want to take a moment to address that head on while I'm thinking about it.

I buy and read a lot of books, both print and digital. I'd say the majority of those books never get a mention on my blog or on my Goodreads. Of course there are books I dislike. I have written about a few of them. Very few. I used to review books and let the dirt fly because it was expected of me to do so by the company I was reviewing for. However, since I'm no longer reviewing professionally, I eventually came to the decision that I'm not going to spend all my hard-won free time writing negative reviews about books I didn't like - especially since I don't have to.

To quote Shit My Dad Says - "You don't go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit." That's exactly how I feel about book reviews - both when reading them and writing them.

I'm not saying negative reviews don't have a purpose. I'm saying after all these years of buying books online, I came to the realization I personally don't go to review sites looking to find a shitty book. I want to find a good book, and that's why I look for reviewer names I recognize and trust and read their positive reviews. If people who I know have the same taste in fiction as I do rate a book positively, I know chances are that I'm gonna like that book too. That kind of review helps me make a purchasing decision. That's the only reason I'd read a review in the first place.

That said, if I'm going to write about a book on my personal blog, why would I continually write about books I don't like, especially when I can just toss a bad book aside and read something else?

So, yes. Most of my book reviews - both here on my blog and on my Goodreads - are positive. Call me lazy, but I have very little desire to waste my time writing about a book that isn't worth recommending to my friends and readers.

Moving along, moving along...

I'm currently reading the Kindle edition of Relentless Seduction by Jillian Burns (Harlequin Blaze, Dec. 2012). I'm not very far into the book yet, but I kind of wish I'd bought the print version for this book so I could leave annotations in the margins. Yes, I'm one of those evil people who write in their books.

I say I should have bought the print version, because I have this accidental habit of highlighting passages I don't intend to highlight on Kindle, and I have no idea how to remove the marks. Me and technology. What more can I say?

I'll post again when I have new news. As for right now, I'm hungry, and Mini's waiting to play a board (bored) game. That's all for now. Candyland here I come!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hanging On For The Ride

I have class in the morning, and I'm kinda dreading it since I have to start thinking about the next project assignment. Sigh. Yes, already. This class is a tad disorganized, and I sincerely hate the way these projects are overlapping - but, it is what it is. Honestly, as helpful as this class has been, I'm ready for it to be over.

On a happy note, Spring Break is next week. I won't be out, but Mini will be, and that will lighten the responsibility load somewhat. I won't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to get the bear on the school bus. Too, he can keep me company while I sit through all these boring lectures I have scheduled. He's great company, and I'm sure we'll find some fun, crafty things to do while he's home. I have a whole case of sheet foam we haven't used yet, and a brand new pack of pastels to color with, so I'm sure we'll come up with something. 

I've been primarily studying and reading in my down time, but I'm still writing every chance I get. I've made efforts to maintain a daily word count, even if the count is small. I recently checked the word count for one of the novels I'm currently working on, and when I totaled up all the chapters, it's sitting at 41k. Awesomeness. Glad to see the words are adding up. The manuscript is a bit patchy at the moment, but I'm not too worried. I'm just going to keep plugging away at the draft, and when it's finished, then I'll go back and read everything to make note of what's missing before I start working on draft number two.

I'm also working on a couple of short stories, a few of them I hope to put out over the summer if I can pull everything together while still taking classes. I also have to keep in mind the cost of editing and formatting, since I'm planning to hire someone once I have everything ready to go. 

At any rate, life is moving full steam ahead. I'm grabbing on with both hands and hanging on for the ride. We'll see what happens. I read over at Zoe Moon's blog that lots of positive Taurus energy is going to be flowing this week, so hopefully that means we'll all be productive and get a lot of stuff done. That's all for now. I hope you have a great week! :o)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Books, Phones, and When Cats Attack

Yesterday afternoon, I was talking to Mini and the cat started yowling to come inside. This is nothing unusual for us, so he went to the door, and when he opened it, the cat leaped on Mini and began shredding his legs. In the blink of an eye, Mini's smile turned into grimace of pain and he started shrieking. I ran to the door, but by the time I made it across the kitchen into the dining area, it was over. Mini was bleeding from dozens of cuts and puncture wounds. All in all, the attack lasted maybe 10-20 seconds. 

I took Mini to the bathroom, held a washcloth on his legs until the bleeding stopped, then cleaned and put Neosporin on his wounds. We used up an entire box of Angry Birds band-aids and still we hadn't covered everything. Once I got him settled on the couch, I found an old bottle of Amoxicillin in the fridge and gave him 400 mg to try to stave off any bacterial infection he might've picked up from the cat. I texted hubby and waited. 

Mini seems to be doing okay, but the cat will have to find a new home. I don't trust him in the house anymore, especially since the cat has always slept at the foot of Mini's bed. In the meantime, the cat can go into the laundry room to eat. I leave kibbles back there because the neighbor's outdoor cats come over daily to chow on some food and often sleep on my deep freezer. If they can make it living out back and in the laundry room, our cat can too. 

On a brighter note, I finally have a new phone. It's a white iPhone 4. My old phone died, so I've been borrowing my dad's LG for the past few months. The LG has gotten me by in a pinch, but it's just not a reliable phone. My messages would go to voice where they'd be eaten. I'd never receive them. What a pain. So at least now I can send and receive messages, and call out if there's an emergency. Yesterday, when the attack happened with Mini, I texted hubby on my desktop through Twitter to let him know what happened. Imagine if that had happened somewhere outside of home? I'm glad to have a phone again. 

I'm tempted to get an olloclip lens for it.

Today before hubby had to leave for work, I took dad's phone back and set it up for him. Before I left the house, dad called once and got disconnected. He also left me two messages. My uncle was over there, so I figured he wanted me to bring something over. Dad called me again right before I left out of the house to ask me to bring over one of my bass guitars and amplifiers for him to play with. So, I went back in and bagged the purple Daisy Rock Heartbreaker that has a chip on the body, and a practice amp and lugged it over there along with the phone. I'd just gotten the stuff in the trunk when Dad called again. 

"Hey, do you have any iodine?" This, from Dad.
"Why, what happened?" 
"David got spider bit."
"When? Just now?" My first thought was to tell him to go to ER. 
"No, not now. A few days ago. But the bite looks really bad. So, do you have any iodine?"

I took them the bottle of iodine, and after seeing the spider bite, I still vote he should go to ER. All that aside, I have a feeling I'm going to be hearing from dad a lot more now that I have a phone that actually works. 

Once I left Mom and Dad's house, I drove to the store to pick up something for lunch before hubby had to leave. When I'd left the house, he'd said he was going to take a nap on the couch before going in. I had to be back in time to wake him up. While in the store, I dropped by the book section and saw they were carrying the Harlequin Desire books for April. Yay! 

I picked up Catherine Mann's Playing for Keeps, and Kathie DeNosky's In the Rancher's Arms, which is another book in the Rich, Rugged, Ranchers multi-author series. (You can find both of those books through Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Books A Million.) 

To read the review for Joan Hohl's Beguiling the Boss, (Harelquin Desire, March 2013, a Rich, Rugged, Ranchers book) just scroll down the page, or go here: http://corazane.blogspot.com/2013/04/friday-lit-pop-7-two-book-special.html .

Since we're on the topic of Rich, Rugged, Ranchers, this time Harlequin hit the mark on the cowboy covers. I highly prefer the casual cowboy look. And by the way, this looks like it's going to be a fantastic read. I'll be rating it on Goodreads, and reviewing it here once I've read it. Soon. 

A cowboy cover done right!
That's all I've got for now. It's Saturday night, and I'm going to celebrate by curling up with a good book. I'm currently at the halfway point in Ashley Lister's How to write Erotic Fiction and Sex Scenes. So far, this is a stellar book. I plan to do a write up on this book in the next week or so. I'll post again once I have new news. 

Happy weekend! :o)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Nothing To Do

I have a paper to revise and submit this week, so it feels like there is this constant timer running. The class I'm taking is large and not very well organized, and I seriously do not cope well with that kind of disorganization. I spent so much time last week trying to find the place to submit my work I thought I'd have a nervous breakdown before I finally stumbled upon the submissions page. And when I did find it, that's when the internet decided to cut up on me. Typical, right?

I made it through with hours to spare, but the thought of repeating last week's hunt and dash has had me on edge. I definitely have to turn in my paper a few days ahead of schedule in order to avoid a repeat. Simply speaking, I'm not cut out for that kind of last minute pressure.

Last night I dreamed I was trying to navigate a maze in the dark, and through it all, I knew I was running out of time. I woke up restless, and antsy - a feeling that pretty much followed me through the day. I know I dreamed it because of class. I've been obsessing over the syllabus schedule all weekend. There was all this information just plopped there for us to sort through, but it's not explained very well. I had to really hunt for what this week's assignments are, and discovered I'm not the only one confused about the overlap.

Anyway, there are two projects to work on this week. I'm going to try to finish them off as early on as possible. I have RWA this weekend, and I have to attend so I can update the others on my situation. I've seriously got to start scaling back. It always seems like there is this huge to-do list I'm facing. No matter how much work I do, it's never whittled down quite enough so that I can relax. It's like I'm puddle jumping from project to project. I have to start managing my time better.

After I put Mini on the bus Monday morning, I spent most of the early hours of the day watching lectures, then I broke to work on the fairy book around noon. As it stands, I have two stories completed. I'm working on the third story now, which has required a lot more research than I thought it would to get the settings and details straight. I don't mind the research, but it does eat into my time. I've started writing around certain scenes and leaving place markers to add in some things later.

If nothing else, I'm in my comfort zone working on this story. The characters are especially appealing. I've had their story in my head for a while, and since I'm constantly thinking about them I figure it's time to set them free.

Moving on to books.... I'm currently on page 89/187 of Kat Cantrell's The Things She Says. (Harlequin Desire, March 2013) Once my paper is finished, I'll probably sit down and read the rest in one sitting. So far, a very good book. If I have time this weekend, I'm going to stop by Books A Million in Bossier and see if they have the April Desire books out. Jeez, I wish these distributors would stop mucking around and just stock the darn books already.

It's almost midnight, so I better to go bed. I have to be up early tomorrow to get Mini on the bus and start reworking my paper. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Bed Rest and Salad

On Friday I woke up with a sore throat, but was otherwise feeling great. I was all happy and smiley, and in a really good mood. I'd gotten up at a decent hour, did some writing, and with that out of the way, I got ready to go run errands in town. About midway through grocery shopping, a wave of sickness hit me out of nowhere. Feeling drained and dizzy, I cut my shopping short and went to the check out. Before I could get out of the store my body was aching, and I wondered if I might pass out from sudden exhaustion.

Thankfully, I made it home and managed to get all the groceries in the house. I changed out of my jeans into pajama bottoms and hit the couch. I had full on chills, body aches, and was running fever. I zonked out for a little while, then got up to welcome Mini home from school. Once I had him settled in, though, I zonked out on the couch again.

I woke up starving toward the middle of the night. I didn't want to dirty up a bunch of dishes so I threw together a salad.* I ate that, browsed the net for a bit, then went back to bed and slept the entire night through.

Today my throat isn't quite so sore, but I pretty much slept all day. I'd get out of bed for a little while thinking I felt better, then it would hit me, dizziness and a sudden wave of exhaustion. I'd go back to bed and sleep for hours. It was like that all day Saturday. Not at all how I wanted to spend my weekend.

I'm already feeling tired again, and I haven't been awake that long. I'm going to take a book to bed with me and read until I zonk out. I'll worry about the laundry, dishes, and everything else tomorrow. Before I go, I've included a recipe for the salad below. That's all for now. Happy weekend!

*P.S. About the salad....I could live off salad. Honestly, I could. When I was growing up, my mom would make what we used to call "trash salads". Whatever veggies she had on hand, she shredded and tossed in a salad bowl. Lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, tomato, baby corn, boiled eggs, seeds, walnuts, avocado...you name it.  At times she would also add tuna or shredded ham, and toss in cottage cheese. I loved those salads. She'd make them a lot in the summer time when we lived in Texas. It was too hot to cook. I miss having meals like that, and now that I'm grown, I make salads at home quite often. I guess coming down sick, I intuitively wanted one of mom's salads. 

In case anyone wants it, below is a quickie recipe for the salad I made in the picture above. 

Cora's Salad 
Prepare all your veggies by rinsing thoroughly. Just an FYI so no one comes back
to bonk me on the head for not adding that as a disclaimer.

In a large salad bowl combine and toss:
2 handful of raw baby spinach
1 handful of raw kale 
1 handful of iceburg lettuce (chopped)
1 beefsteak tomato cut into segments
1 small avocado peeled and diced
1 handful of sunflower and pepita seeds (mixed)
a dash of parmesan cheese 

Add dressing of choice. I used Italian in the pic above, since that was what I had in the fridge. The same salad tastes amazing with Caesar, Ranch, and Bleu Cheese dressings, too. 

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: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beguiling-the-boss-joan-hohl/1112815327?ean=9780373732289

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: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/talent-code-daniel-coyle/1102658691?ean=9780553806847

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!