Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks

Sometimes the first step in taking control is surrendering. Under Faith Malone’s deceptively soft exterior lies a woman who knows exactly what she wants. A strong man who’ll take without asking, because she’s willing to give him everything... Dallas cop Gray Montgomery is on a mission: find the guy who killed his partner, and bring him to justice. So far, he’s found a link between the killer and Faith, and if Gray has to get close to her to catch the killer, so be it. Faith is sweet and feminine, everything Gray wants and desires in a woman, but he suspects she’s playing games. No way she would allow a man to call the shots in their relationship. Or would she? Faith sees in Gray the strong, dominant man she needs, but he seems determined to keep her at a distance. So she takes matters into her own hands to prove to him it’s no game she’s playing. She’s willing to surrender to the right man. Gray would like to be that man. But catching his partner’s killer has to be his first priority. Until Faith is threatened and Gray realizes he will do anything to protect her, even at the cost of his own life.

My Review: Well, there is a reason why people pick up these types of books, with sexy covers and a promising story. It is all about a certain three letter word... I would assume. OR you could be a romance junkie. That is a possibility, right? Anyway, this book drove me insane...and not in a good way. You know when people run their mouth? And then they don't back their ish up. When it comes down to it the characters in this book were all talk and no action... literally. It went on and on. Faith says she wants it all rough and a tumblin'. Yawn. I never really grew to like the characters. Never really cared if they did i tied up or down, or whatever. All it ever was was Gray going on and on about sweet and innocent Faith looked. Oh, she couldn't possibly want to really do it with him...like that, oh no! Wah, wah, wah. Bunch of whining. I never finished this. The flaky, wavering characters got on my nerves. Nothing really happened in the 200 pages I did manage to read. I would hesitantly recommend this book to people who enjoy the author's books or who are hardcore romance/erotic fans.

Are you Afraid of Retirement?

When you think about retirement, you suddenly realize that your mind is full of questions and fears. It’s not easy to see that you are not young anymore and above this, we must admit that money, or better said, the lack of them can cause us a lot of nuisances. We should ask ourselves some questions before getting retired such as:

1. Do I still need to save money during my active life? Unfortunately, yes. We should start saving money in the first years of our marriage when we are still a young couple without children, because yes, we must admit that children, besides joy, mean a lot of expenses with: food, clothes, education, entertainment and many, many other things.

2. How much money do children need? Speaking about children, there is a big question: when do I have to say "no" when my child asks me for money? Well, it’s just a matter of priorities. What do I want to say with this? It is simple. We all want to save money. And we can save money by delimiting what is necessary indeer for our child by what it’s just a whim. This doesn’t mean that our child or our future teenager is not allowed to go to any party. No. We must teach our children the value of money and especially that money can be obtained only by working very hard or study as it should be normal.

3. Do I need to save money during retirement? Yes. Being retired doesn’t mean you cannot save some money. Of course, many people believe that the end of their active life means also the beginning of a new life, a life without financial problems, a life in which you can afford all the things you’ve thought about when you were young. But the life offers us many surprises, many of them not quite nice. So, we have to try to save some money even if this means to have a shorter holiday, to eat cheaper food or to buy clothes when they are on sale.

Of course, we must not imagine the retirement as the worst period in our life, because it is not. We just have to realize that never is too early to start saving money. I’m sure that all of you have a mobile phone but did you ever ask yourself if you really need all the options that the mobile company offers you? Do you really need Internet connection on your phone? No? Then, why pay extra money for something that you never use? Like marriage, retirement is unpredictable and constantly evolving. The old days of sitting in a rocking chair until your number comes up are gone. Savings can be found in regular places like groceries. 

Also, retirees shouldn’t refuse savings just because they feel like turning up their nose at "senior discounts". Instead, use the savings to offset a gym membership, haircut or activities with grandkids. Finally, that extra savings can be a major benefit when something unexpected happens. Many of the soon-to-be retired fear this period mostly due to the decline in property values, pensions, and personal savings. We have to make our life easier so we have to think about how we can manage the most popular fears such as:

1. Health related fears - Although it seems expensive, when you get old, you must think about a private health insurance which can cover many of the expensive treatments or surgeries. Yes, you didn’t even thought about it when you were young but getting old may also mean expensive pills or more expensive food when your illness forces you to keep a healthy diet. Remember when I told you to buy cheap food when you were young? That’s the reason why. You may have to buy more expensive food later.

2. Home related fears - If you don’t have an affordable place to live, consider moving. Be creative. Many villages of the country have very cheap, affordable housing. If you want to stay near family, consider moving to a smaller, less expensive place. At the end, being old also means that you need a smaller place? Why living in a big house when all the children are gone?

As I said at the beginning of this article, we must think about retirement even when we are young. Because if we do so we can take advantage of some beautiful, stress-free, retirement years. Yes, we all need our children support from time to time, but this doesn’t mean that we have to be a penalty or a burden for them. Help yourself to be a joy for your children, even when you are old. Author Bio: Ana Miller, bridging finance specialist and marketing manager for Vision Finance in London. Enthusiastic about travel, personal development and hot air balloons.

Will you Answer Robbie Williams' Call?

Robbie was the only one in Take That. Two years or so ago they had a rather poignant documentary about the band deciding to reunite and tour and wondering - the other four that is - whether Robbie was on for it. Of course he wasn't, but they were hoping against hope, half believing that he'd join them in their reunion hotel. So the film moves from their encampment to Robbie at home - everybody being seriously emotional. Robbie said he'd only ever wanted their difficult-seeming manager to love him. He went on to say that Gary Barlow - who he'd been unflattering about for years - was talented and deserving. But the hard reality was that Robbie Williams never budged from Notting Hill. He was the only member to have made the Great World, and he wasn't going back. The others had nice enough places. Barlow had a big provincial spread somewhere Northern. There was something Grade II listed-looking in the Lake District and a West Country beach house. They had all done tolerably well but it sounded as if they weren't set up for life. But Robbie had a huge EMI contract - worth £80m they said - one of those 10-ton new Rolls-Royces and a place with the cosmocrats in W11.

Robbie Williams always played it both ways, being authentic with Oasis and mainstream pop elsewhere, being interesting, "vulnerable", fat and thin in interviews, but completely triumphalist on stage. Swaggery and pimp-rolling but at the same time completely Olde Englishy camp, he worked on many levels, had lots of sub-texts and reference points for cultural studies types - RW's a favourite thesis subject - and kept more people interested than his output might warrant. Somehow he'd Hoovered up London in the late 1990s becoming a metropolitan, getting to scale, learning what you had to do. Which meant being anthemic, an international stadium act, but being able to flex it with moments of 1940s pastiche, with videos that looked more like Frankie Goes To Hollywood than, say, Radiohead. Even the dull middle-class audience that loves dull middle-class acts like Coldplay could never completely dismiss him, could never deny the CD in the rack or singing along to "Angels". Now - and it's difficult to imagine what it's like for Robbie 2006, though I suspect it feels like coasting - he's in a T-Mobile commercial. It's an ad that looks as if it's made to run wherever he's got a High Recognition factor - most of Europe probably. You can read the latest news or simply more about celebrities here - enjoy!

Oliver Edward Odell

One of Oak Groves' most beloved octogenarians was found dead on his kitchen floor. Oliver Edward Odell, a long time sufferer of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), was cleaning his oven when he was overtaken by the lemony odor of oven cleaner. Oliver, born right here in Oak Grove, Ohio October 1, 1929, was the only child of Oscar and Odette (Oppenheimer) Odell. He married Olivia Orin on February 14, 1948. She preceded him in death. There were no offspring. Mr. Odell was a lifetime member of the Grand Order of the Ogling Owls and served four five-year terms as president. He also loved reading, walking and obsessive house cleaning. Calling hours was Tuesday evening at the Orlando Mortuary. Burial service was at Out of the Way Cemetery in Oak Grove, Ohio.

Danger Days

Since I “came out” to myself as having a mental illness, societal stigmas be damned, I realized that I would have to take responsibility for, among other things of course, monitoring my state of mind and then taking appropriate action when necessary. I believe that I am currently experiencing an “alert status: red” day, in which I could potentially say or do things that would have destructive results for me. For instance, I am having recurring ideations and impulses to post statements on this blog that could literally get me hauled off with a bag over my head. And that’s just not okay. If it should arise that I am ever prosecuted for intemperate comments - and mind you, I can guarantee that they will never devolve into intemperate acts - then you should perhaps mention on my behalf that I am not at all times possessing my full faculties. So, I’m going to practice some self-care regimen items - I’m going to get up and drink some water and take a 3 minute walk. See you later :)

Vintage Avon Beauty

Are you on for seeing make up from 1975 or 1976? Fasten your seatbelt, I'm taking you on a time travel. I'm always late on new collections (don't blame me, I live beyond the pond and polishes must swim to come to me) but that time, I'm literally going beyond myself: 35 years late no more no less. When I found 3 old Avon catalogues belonging to my mother in a cardboard box also belonging to my mother (from the time she was a Avon ambassador), I was super excited. Like a little girl who found a penny. Like a flea. I'm not a nostalgic person, quite the contrary, but for some reason I love to see how things were long ago, the kind of colors that were being released at that time, the packaging. Oldies, especially in beauty, amuse me. No big deal if I like stuff I can't get, it's fun! I couldn't not share this and did some scan for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoyed the time travel! On a side note, I've been amazed to find a glitter emerald nail polish in this catalogue. I expected to find only pinks, corals and red (and reality didn't contradicted me in some ways). But those catalogues are clearly telling me that green was in trend even before blue. I would have though that it was the opposite, that blue, and even purple appeared before green. Not you?


Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

When I read it, I feel as if there is a new element in the world. What I mean is, it puts that childlike hope back into everyday life. Rowling captures magic in her tale. Somehow she manages to tap into that place when elves were real, and quests were possible, and that’s why this story works. Because Rowling is a story-teller. She digs past reason and touches hope and ignites the imagination so that Harry Potter is not a character, he is real. My favorite scenes are always the ones in the Great Hall: The Great Hall looked magnificent. Not only were there a dozen frost-covered Christmas trees and thick streamers of holly and mistletoe crisscrossing the ceiling, but enchanted snow was falling, warm and dry, from the ceiling. Dumbledore led them in a few of his favorite carols, Hagrid booming more and more loudly with every goblet of eggnog he consumed. I want to be in that Great Hall. I was getting ready for work earlier this week, and just thinking about the idea that Harry Potter is pretend. That he doesn’t really exist. That there is no Hogwarts. That none of it ever happened. Don’t you just want to laugh when you imagine that? Just two books in, and of course it happened! If we can imagine Harry Potter, then he is real. Because even though we cannot actually see Hogwarts because we are Muggles, it is there. That’s why I should reread this one day in 20 when I’m remembering it and wondering if I should bother. Somehow, with nothing but a twenty-six letter alphabet and her imagination, Rowling makes me laugh when I imagine a world without Harry Potter.

Next is The Prisoner of Azkaban! I’ve heard a few of you say recently that The Chamber of Secrets is your least favorite in the series. So I’m pretty excited that it’s all uphill from here! I love that the series apparently gets better and better, finishing with an explosive Book 7, according to many of you! I asked a girl at work the other day what her favorite book is. I work at a bookstore, so I assume we are all readers there and find “What is your favorite book?” a good ice-breaker. She looked embarrassed and squirmed a bit and finally listed a lot of high-brow literature as among her favorites before finally conceding that Book #7 in the Harry Potter coloring pages series is her favorite book of all time. “I know it’s not great literature, but it’s my favorite,” she said, blushing. “Why would you be embarrassed by that?” I asked. “Who cares about high-brow literature? Literature gets into us and comes to life. That’s what literature should do. Sometimes that’s through an intellectual awakening, and sometimes it’s because it sweeps us away. It doesn’t matter how it gets to us, just that it does.” Then I told her that one of my favorite books is the children’s book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. And that I am currently reading Harry Potter for the first time, which inspired an eye-firing conversation which included her expressing complete jealousy that I am experiencing it for the first time. She can’t wait for me to get to Book #7. This is a magical book. I felt transported to a world under London that I believe “could” exist, while reading. I seriously smiled for the whole second half of this book.