Out of the Box Blogs

2015 in review

This was our first year getting one of these, and since our blog started in September I’m excited to see how we did!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Books, Reviews, Romance

Winter’s Heat by Cristin Harber

This is the first book in the Titan Series and the first book I have read by this author.

The Blurb: After putting her life on the line to protect classified intelligence, military psychologist Mia Kensington is on a cross-country road trip from hell with an intrusive save-the-day hero. Uninterested in his white knight act, she’d rather take her chances without the ruggedly handsome, cold-blooded operative who boasts an alpha complex and too many guns.

Colby Winters, an elite member of The Titan Group, has a single objective on his black ops mission: recover a document important to national security. It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out operation. But now, by any means necessary becomes a survival mantra when he faces off with a stunning woman he can’t leave behind.

When Titan’s safe houses are compromised, Colby stashes Mia at his home, exposing his secret—he’s the adoptive father of an orphaned baby girl. Too soon, danger arrives and Mia lands in the hands of a sadistic cartel king with a taste for torture. As hours bleed into fear-drenched days, Colby races across the globe and through a firestorm of bullets to save the woman he can’t live without.

What worked for me: The action scenes. I thought they were written fairly well. The action scenes were fast-paced and reminded me of what I would expect to see in a special ops story. There were enough in the book to keep me reading.

What didn’t work for me: I felt the book was rushed throughout the story. My first issue involved the whole insta-love thing. Insta-attraction: sure. Insta-love: not so much. The next thing was that if one of my clients told me if they died then I needed to retrieve a package in their place, my response would be “NO”. I would call the police–not go get the package! The other thing that did not work for me was that Colby (because of the whole insta-love thing) wanted to protect Mia (fine), but at the time he had known her not even a full day (even though they had already hooked up after only 4 hours), and he didn’t really know her part fully in the whole special ops escapade that went sour. Yet, he took her to his home to protect her where his infant daughter lived! These three things were too out of the box for me.

I think if perhaps the book had been extended some (only 262 pages), these issues could have been fleshed out more and the book stronger. The story was not bad–it would have been fine–just needed more oomph to it and some additional details, I think.

Happy Reading,



Books, great reads, paranormal romance, Reviews, Romance, scifi, Urban Fantasy

Outtakes from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

The series for Cat and Bones is over and Ms. Frost has given us a book of outtakes and deleted scenes.  I have always enjoyed reading deleted scenes and outtakes from books that authors choose to share. I like finding out why they were deleted or re-written. I like seeing if things might have been different for our characters in some way. I think it is just fun. Jeanine has shared with us some great deleted scenes and she gave us the context of the story at the time of the scene so we would understand where the characters were at story wise as well as why the scene ended up on the chopping block. If you enjoyed the adventures of Cat and Bones, you will enjoy this collection.


My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

My Kind of Wonderful is the second story in the Cedar Ridge Series by Jill Shalvis.  I enjoy Ms. Shalvis’ work.  She writes contemporary romances and excels in writing stories set in small towns usually inhabited by a great group of characters with some interesting locals thrown in for comic relief and I am a sucker for these types of stories.

First the blurb:


Bailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she’s determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn’t realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn’t want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn’t the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she’s not planning to stick around.

As head of ski patrol at his family’s resort, Hud thinks he’s seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he’s been missing far too long. Now he’ll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet . . . something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

My review:

I liked both leads in this story.  Bailey is recovering from a terminal illness and has started working on her bucket list.  The first item to tackle is doing a mural.  She has been commissioned (although she is doing it for free) by Hudson’s mother, a delightful character in a nursing home suffering from memory problems.  Hudson wants nothing to do with the mural.  While Bailey is painting the mural, she and Hudson’s relationship develops.  During the course of the book, Bailey finds out why Hudson is so withdrawn from everyone on an emotional level which is really very sad for his character.   How they overcome the obstacles of their relationship is the true story.

Ms. Shalvis writes well and her characters engage me from the beginning.  Not every author can do that.  Another character in this book I enjoyed was the mountains of Cedar Ridge.  Ms. Shalvis’ descriptions of the mountains and the ski lodge and the joys and dangers (with humor thrown in also) is enjoyable.  Of course, as a resident of  the Tahoe area, I sure she understands this aspect of her story very well.