June Romance TBR

Hello Friends! We have made it to June which makes us that much closer to Christmas time. I am so over the heat already and may or may not be counting down the days until Hallmark starts playing their Christmas romances. One day at a time though, and here we are a few days into June and I feel like my to be read list for this month is set. I am participating in the Summer Romance 2018 Bingo so I have books that fit into 5 of the prompts.

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The wall of Winnipeg and Me

For the prompt, “Sports Romance,” I will be reading The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. I don’t know why, but something has me a little nervous about giving sports romances a try but this one was recommended to me in the Summer Romance Bingo group on Goodreads, so I’m excited to read it. (And it has pretty awesome reviews!)  I’ll be reading this one on my iPad’s Kindle App and was lucky enough to get it for free via Kindle Unlimited.

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The next prompt I’ll be completing is “Book by an author writing under a pseudonym” and for this one I’ll be reading The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James. I have only read one other Eloisa James novel and really enjoyed it. From what I’ve heard and read about her, she is basically a BOSS when it comes to historical romances and fairy tale retellings, so I am very much looking forward to another one of her works. I’ll be reading the physical copy of this one.

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Never Seduce A Scot,” is one I am currently listening to on audio via Overdrive. I saw Nicole from WhoPickedThisBook and Angela at Books Are My Hart post the information for this one on Twitter for their online book club, Romantics At Hart and I immediately checked overdrive and was so happy they had the audiobook available. When it comes to historical’s I prefer having the audio version because reading it myself I know I completely butcher names and tend to not always understand what is being talked about. So audiobooks are very helpful with this. I am already a few chapters into this one and am very intrigued to see where the story is going to go!

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For the prompt, “Novel that takes place in a major city,” I’ll be reading Idle Bloom by Jewel E. Ann. This book takes place in Boston and luckily I came across it while browsing Amazon. I want to read more friends to lovers story lines and Boston is in my top 3 cities here in the states I want to visit, so I’m very excited to read this one. I’ll be reading this one on my Kindle app.

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And my last pick for this month is for the prompt of, “Romance novel published in 2018.” I chose, The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Maurene Goo for this one. It is a young adult novel but the main character experiences a romance in it, so I am counting it. It’s been years since I’ve read a young adult novel and I used to find them so much fun in the summer, so I am really rooting for this one! I hope I like it. I have the physical copy of this one checked out from the library so I need to get to it soon.

 

So that is my TBR for the month of June Friends! Let me know what you reading plans for this month consist of. Do you feel you gravitate toward certain books when summer comes? Hope all is well with you! I’ll talk to you in my next post–xoxo, Bree.

Perfect summer reading: Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne (review)

Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne (Book #2 in the Haven Point Series)

HQN Books; June 30, 2015

My Rating: 4/5

 

Hello Friends! A few months ago I read my first Raeanne Thayne novel, Snow Angel Cove which has become a book that I haven’t been able to get off my mind after having finished. Despite the books I have read since it, I have been anxious to return to the town of Haven Point and continue getting to better know the cast of characters Raeanne Thayne has created. Snow Angel Cove truly tugged at my heart strings and had my emotions all over the place–I literally cried the last 30 or so pages of the book. It took me a bit, but I am glad I finally picked up book two!

Plot Summary:

McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her beloved hometown of Haven Point. It may be small and struggling, but it’s never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick. He was her childhood hero until he closed his family’s factory, leaving the town’s economy in shambles. Now he’s back—his tech firm is considering opening a local facility. For Haven Point’s sake, McKenzie has to grit her teeth and play nice.

What could a town filled with painful memories ever offer Ben? He left Haven Point behind years ago, for good reason. Yet seeing the town through the eyes of McKenzie—its fiery young mayor—he suddenly has his answer. If only he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it’s least expected.

REDEMPTION BAY

First things first I will say Redemption Bay didn’t emotionally affect me like Snow Angel Cove did but I still really loved this book.

It follows McKenzie Shaw who is the Mayor of Haven Point. McKenzie came to Haven Point as a kid after her birth mother passed away and she was sent to live with her Father who had to break the news to his wife that his love child was coming to now live with them.  It is very obvious why this would cause some strain on the household but for the most part McKenzie had a good life. Her sister Devin is a doctor in the town and the two sisters have an amazing sister relationship. Aside from being Mayor, McKenzie also owns a floral shop and she is just such a woman dedicated to her town.

In comes Ben Kilpatrick whose family owned a very prominent boat factory that employed hundreds of people in the town until Ben decided to close it’s doors and take off for California. So his being back in town leaves a sour taste in the mouths of locals who are still understandably salty about his decision. After closing the factory, the economy really went down hill.  McKenzie has no problems voicing her opinions of Ben’s decision to him, especially since while in town he is renting the house next door to hers. And all along Ben doesn’t want to be back in Haven Point just as much as Haven Point doesn’t want him back!

I can’t really say this is an enemy to lovers romance because the hard feelings were really one sided but I liked how Raeanne Thayne explored the process of immediately having assumptions about someone before getting to know the facts; hearing things from the source, the horses mouth! McKenzie was like most people in Haven Point when it came to Ben, she didn’t want him there–until she learns that he is scoping out where to locate the newest Caine Tech Facility and that Haven Point is an option, which would be great for the town. Once she learns this, they begin spending a lot more time together because she makes it her mission to showcase to him why Haven Point is the perfect place for the new Caine Tech location. Through spending time together the two realize how much they have in common–Ben learns some family secrets that in certain ways, mirror McKenzie’s upbringing–and they both reach the point of not being able to get the other off their mind.

I loved that this story took place during the summer. There were beautiful scenes out on Lake Haven and descriptions of the Redemption Mountains–scenes where the characters were sitting on their back porch gazing at the water. I was sucked in and felt like I was right there in this small town surrounded by beautiful mountains while sitting on a dock dangling my feet in the lake.

Another element to this story I enjoyed was the sense of community.  I love the small town feel. Especially when it is a tight knit community where when the going gets tough, everyone does their part to make things better, and you get to see that in this book.

I think this book was the perfect read to jump start my summer reading. Between the cool breeze I could feel coming off Lake Haven and the beautiful love story that bloomed between McKenzie and Ben I feel this series can only continue to get better. Lucky for me I have a full summer ahead to continue my way through it.

Let me know Friends, what is one location from a book that you have fallen in love with? Do you prefer books in the big city or are you more of a cozy, small town person? Thanks for reading–xoxo, Bree

Friday Reflections/ June 1.2018

Happy Friday Friends we have survived yet another week. It has been a H O T one here in south Texas, like unbearably hot. One day this week I walked to my car after group therapy, turned the air conditioner on immediately after getting inside and literally sat in my car for about 30 minutes because it was so hot, I couldn’t bring myself to start driving.  Summer is for sure right around the corner and although I can’t stand the heat and the fall has always been my favorite season, there is something about summer I love. It makes me so nostalgic for growing up in Missouri and nights playing softball with friends, cherry lime-aid’s from Sonic and sitting outside of my Grandma’s at night feeling the amazing breeze.

Despite the heat I’ve been facing though, this week wasn’t a bad one–

library haul

  1. What I’ve Been Reading: I have been buddy reading Sarah Morgan’s Sleepless in Manhattan with Ashley from AshHeartBooks on Youtube. This book is so much fun and I highly recommend reading it with a friend. Three friends living in New York City, setting out on a new job venture, late night roof top movie watching and NYC skyline gazing and awesome brother-sister relationship–this book is everything I need at the moment. I also recently finished Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne which is book two in her Haven Point series. –I went to the library closest to my work a few days ago and actually checked out a couple physical books (I am an avid Overdrive user!).  I checked out Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo. I am very much in the mood for some young adult/contemporary reads to kick off my summer.
  2. What I’ve Been Listening To: I recently cancelled my subscription to Sirius Radio because honestly I hardly ever used it, and was at this point where I was like I need to cancel the things that I pay for and really don’t use. So I had to start programming the local radio stations in my car and I got to the country station and they were playing this song called Small Town Boy by Dustin Lynch. I have been playing the heck out of this song ever since! And I am still making my way through the backlist of the Heaving Bosoms Podcast I am currently on episode 18 where they review Fifty Shades Freed by EL James. These two ladies are hilarious and I just love starting my day out by laughing with them and at them in my car in the morning and on my way home after a long day!
  3. What I’ve Been Watching: It is almost embarrassing to admit this, but I finally watched for the very first time, You’ve Got Mail starring the lovely Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks the freaking God himself. I love these two in Sleepless in Seattle which is top 3 one of my favorite movies and I’ve always known about this movie, just for whatever reason I never had any intentions of watching it. I finally caved though and damn I’m glad I did. It was incredible.
  4. Moving Forward: Okay so my main goal right now is to get my shit together health wise, physical fitness wise. I haven’t stepped foot in the gym in months. I haven’t put my running shoes on in months and I am starting to feel like a straight bum. Its uncomfortable and if I don’t get it together soon I am just going to be in this habit of not caring about being in shape or eating healthy. I am going to make sure I am drinking way more water than cokes and I am determined to either wake up early and go to the gym before work, or suck it up and go afterward–when it will be ridiculously hot and I’d rather just go home! I have to do this, it is crazy how unhealthy I’ve become. Any advice, tips, guidance you have, please send my way!!

 

I truly hope you’ve had a great week Friends! Share with me what your weekend plans consist of if you have any. My plans consist of a lot of lounging on the couch getting some reading done. I hope you enjoy yours and I’ll talk to you in my next post-xoxo, Bree

long nights, wine drinking & Summer Romance Bingo

Hello Friends and Happy Thursday. I am excited to announce that I will be participating in the upcoming Summer Romance 2018 Bingo . This is being hosted by Sarah from Not Just Romance Novels  and Sissy @ Romance Queen of Booktube on Youtube from June 1-August 1.

Once I saw Sarah’s video announcing the Bingo I knew immediately I wanted to be part of it. Altogether there are 25 different reading prompts and I think this challenge will aside from being fun, also be really good for me as a new romance reader. To be honest Friends, I think up to this point I have found my safe zone and kept myself in a box with the romance I’ve been reading. This isn’t a bad thing–I think it’s cool once you’ve figured out what it is you like, but at the same time, how do I know there isn’t more out there that I would like if I continue to play it safe?

Just glimpsing at a few of the challenges, some made me nervous and some I knew instantly could be fun. For instance–Read a Romantic Suspense. Thrillers and Suspense novels have never been my thing but I am determined to give romantic suspense a try and hopefully like it–I am sure Nora Roberts has plenty of those for me to choose from!  Another is to–Read a Romance With a Cowboy. I am a Missouri Girl no matter where in the world I am and find cowboys/country boys so sexy, so I am all for giving a cowboy romance a try.

One guard I’ve let up to do this challenge is to be open to reading Young Adult/Contemporary romances. may30

It has been almost four years since I’ve read any young adult, but to be honest Friends, I have my days when I miss it. Especially with summer approaching, I think it can be the perfect time to read young adult. One title I picked up is The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo. This book has a romance, takes place in the summer, involves a food truck and an unexpected friendship. I am totally here for it and would be lying if I said that the  food truck didn’t have anything to do with me wanting to read it.

So just to give you an idea, I’ll list the challenges:

  1. Stand alone novel
  2. Novel that takes place in a small town
  3. Romance featuring someone in the medical field
  4. Sports Romance
  5. Romance with a one word title
  6. Sub Genre: Contemporary Romance
  7. 2018 RITA Finalist
  8. Book that is part of a series
  9. Novel that takes place in a country you don’t live in.
  10. Harlequin Category Romance
  11. Romance featuring a musician
  12. Sub Genre: Paranormal Romance
  13. Novel that takes place in a major city
  14. Sub Genre: Inspirational Romance
  15. Romance with a Cowboy
  16. Romance novel published in 2018
  17. Book you bought for the cover
  18. Book by an author writing under a pseudonym
  19. Book with less than 1000 reviews on Goodreads
  20. Romance with a cat or dog on the cover
  21. Sub Genre: Romantic Suspense
  22. Sub Genre: Historical Romance
  23. Romance set at the beach
  24. Book with more than 10,000 reviews on Goodreads
  25. Reader’s Choice

 

I am really looking forward to exploring books that fit into these different prompts. I foresee a lot of long nights, wine drinking and early Saturday mornings sitting at Starbucks as I make my way through the challenges. If you have any recommendations for any of the challenges please let me know. Right now my game plan is to post a TBR for five books at a time so I will update you in the next couple of days as to what I’ll be reading first.

Let me know if this sounds interesting to you and if you plan to join in! Hope all is well Friends, until next time xoxo–Bree

Hesitation: Why it took me So long to start reading romance.

I remember the day I decided to (finally) take the plunge and read a romance novel. I was watching a Hallmark Christmas romance and the little voice in my head that kept whispering, “Why do you watch these holiday romances every year and have never actually read a romance novel?” started getting louder and louder (with some sass to her voice). So I did what any 30 something would do when we don’t know where to start with something: I turned to google and typed in “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances.” In a matter of days I devoured three Debbie Macomber holiday novels and haven’t looked back.

It’s been a long weekend for those of us here in the States and between a sale at Half Price Books and a online order through Thrift Books  I have hauled a couple different romance novels and I sit back in complete astonishment as I watch my shelves dedicated to romances grow. Secretly for the past two years I have wanted to give the romance genre a try–I started listening to romance podcasts, obsessing over romance readers on Youtube and seeking bloggers who review romance. I don’t think I ever lost my excitement for reading but I have felt this crazy feeling of excitement now that I’ve started reading romance. It’s that excitement that comes with discovering something new for me. Last night, as I clicked submit order on Thrift Books, that little voice (yes, her again!) whispered “What took you so long?”

 

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  1. No one in my family reads romance: I love the podcast Smart Podcast, Trashy Books and one thing I have heard on different interviews the host Sarah Wendell has done is that a lot of romance readers discovered romance pretty young and it was usually thanks to a family member. Some guests have talked about their mother’s having tons of romances and passing them their way–or an aunt who knowing their niece’s Mom wouldn’t approve but knew their nieces interest in the genre, would hand off romances to them secretly. I have a handful of readers in my family but unfortunately, none of them romance readers.
  2. Cringe-worthy covers: Let’s be honest with ourselves Friends, we have all either present day whilst browsing the shelves at your local bookstore or back in the day when you were younger took notice of the cringe worthy covers that tend to be on the face of romance novels. I’m going to just put it out there that the few embarrassingly horrible romance covers I’ve seen was the top reason why I swore the genre off as a whole for so long.
  3. Commitment Issues: I am a very loyal person Friends and once I’m in something, I am in for the long haul…but all of that can be a little iffy when it comes to book series. I have always preferred my standalones. There are series with 20+ books which seriously makes me want to pour a whole glass of wine when I think about it. Thinking smaller than that–a trilogy for instance, nothing about reading two more books involving the same characters or same world was appealing to me. One and done baby that was good enough for me!
  4. Too much Sex for Me: One assumption I had with the romance genre, is that they all had certain things they had to have in their stories–the main thing being sex. Yes, I assumed they all contained sex and that most of them would probably have too much sexy time for me! Now I don’t mind sex in books but I don’t need or necessarily want tons of it unless it’s written in a way where it’s not slapping me in the face with details (no pun intended).
  5. Ew, Mass Market Paperbacks!: Another hesitation I had with reading romance is that a big chunk of what I saw when I started browsing books is that a lot of them are published in Mass Market Paperbacks. I do feel now, that I was being a bit of a book snob about this. We all have our preferences but I was dead set against reading a mass market. I assumed weirdly it would be uncomfortable to hold a book that small and just knew I’d get a headache trying to read those tiny words. And I mean, come on, how would those tiny mass markets look on my shelves with my beautiful hardbacks and paperbacks?
  6. Weak Female Characters: I really had it made up in my mind that all female characters in romances were going to be these damsels in distress whose lives are completely in shambles until their knight in shining armor arrives, fixes everything and saves the day. I assumed the female protagonist’s would have nothing else going on in their lives and their main focus in the story would be the love interest, and although I love a good love story, I need my female character to have substance.
  7. Going to be Boring: I can watch a romance film just as easily as the next person. I love them! When I thought of reading a romance novel however, I truly thought I’d get bored. I kept telling myself that once you meet the main character and love interest in the beginning, shortly after you’ll read an entire book of angst and that sounded completely boring to me. What sounds appealing about reading a 300 page book that could be cut down to 100 if the characters just communicated? I really thought this would drive me crazy.

 

So those Friends, are the reasons I hesitated for so long to finally start reading romance. It has been such an incredible journey so far–and the cool thing about the romance genre is,  it is so huge! I have tons of exploring to do and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!

Let me know what your favorite genre is. Was there a specific book that changed the game for you and made you want to read more from that genre? I hope all is well and you had an incredible weekend!  xoxo, Bree

Book Review: The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Mira; April 27, 2003

My Rating: 5/5

 

Hello Friends! I finished The Shop on Blossom Street and as expected, Debbie Macomber had my emotions completely heightened and all over the place. I checked the audio version of this book out from my library via Overdrive and the last two chapters had me crying so hard while driving that I had to pull over and get myself together.

 

Plot Summary:

Bestselling romance author and ardent knitter Debbie Macomber combines both her skills in this novel about a newly opened Seattle yarn shop and the knitting class that brings four women together to make baby blankets. The owner of the shop and her three students produce more than blankets, knitting together bonds of solidarity, friendship, love, hope, and renewal. The book even includes the pattern for the blanket, which was created by premier knitting designer Ann Norling.

When Lydia Hoffman, a cancer survivor and owner of A Good Yarn, starts a knitting class for her patrons, she forms a special friendship and bond with three extraordinary women–Jacqueline, Carol, and Alix–and together they share laughter, heartbreak, and dreams.

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Friday Reflections/May 25.2018

Happy Friday Friends! This week is a blur now that it’s coming to an end. It went by so fast. It is, for some a long weekend here in the states with the upcoming holiday–so if that’s the case for you, enjoy your down time-have fun, relax and be safe. I will be off for four days and am very much looking forward to some relaxation. It is my daughter and I this weekend so it’s going to be some much needed girl time (and quiet time with my boys being out of town) So let me reflect on this week.

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  • What I’ve Been Reading: Currently my main read is Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne  which is book two in the Haven Point series and I am loving it. I read book one, Snow Angel Cove a few months ago and have been so antsy to get back into the series.  I am speaking it into existence that Raeanne Thayne is going to become one of my favorite authors. After only one book I was very impressed and happy with her way of creating this cozy small town feel with such a proud sense of community with characters who are very realistic–and book two is not disappointing.  I have also started listening on audio thanks to Overdrive, The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber  which is book one in the Blossom Street series and so far I am really enjoying it as well. I love how Macomber’s female characters are very real women with real problems. The main character in this one is a two time cancer survivor who opens a yarn store in Seattle–with a father who passed away, a sick mother and a sister who resents her.  Debbie Macomber’s novels thus far for me have been not too heavy on the romance but shatter my heart before piecing it back together again with how hope inspiring they are, so I am bracing myself with The Shop on Blossom Street because I know it’s coming.
  • What I’ve Been Listening To: In the car I mostly listen to either Podcasts or whatever audiobook I have checked out from the library or via audible–so my radio listening is very rare sad to say which leaves me out of the loop with new, good music. I am always late with discovering artists. One I recently found while searching for songs to save on my Apple playlists is Maren Morris. I have in particular been listening to her album Hero and what I am liking about her, is I can’t really put her in a box. Some songs are hard core country while some are pop with some hip-hop inspiration. The song that I am most in love with is, I Could Use A Love Song    which is a slower one, but oh my goodness the lyrics! It starts off, “Usually a drink will do the trick/Take the edge off quick, sitting in the dark/With a shared cigarette/Seeing eye-to-eye, and heart to heart/But maybe I’m just getting old/Used to work but now it don’t/ A Long gone drive/ You know the kind where you take a turn and you don’t know why/But it clears your mind, a surefire cure/I need something stronger/That’ll last a little longer.”–I am such  sucker for lyrics that sound like something 17 year old me would have written in my composition notebook full of poetry and each song on her album has made me reminisce in some way.
  • What I’ve Been Watching: I didn’t watch any movies this week and not much television but my friend Ashley, from AshHeartBooks on Youtube posted Historical Romance Recs-Part 2 which I loved! I am still trying to find my way with historical romances so I just watch and gush as she shares some of her favorites. Go check her out!
  • Moving Forward: Okay, I took the plunge. I was sitting in my bath tub Tuesday night and sent my sister a text message telling her to log into my Facebook, change the password and not give it to me until August 1st (if I even ask for it!).  I don’t want the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to be checking Facebook, or what I do when I get a moment to myself. It is a big part of my wanting to put my phone down more. I have felt like I need to be logged in to see what is going on in other people’s lives–which is fine but I want it to be an every so often thing. Seriously, if an emergency happens, someone will call me! I don’t need to be on Facebook for it. So I have been without it these past few days and you know what…it hasn’t driven me crazy to not be logged in. I have actually gotten a ton of reading done, started a new art journal and felt a tad more present. The summer is less than a month away and I want Summer 2018 to be one to remember, so I think actually being present in the moment will be a huge part of that!

 

So those are my reflections for this week Friends. Share with me yours if you have any! Did you read any good books this week? Watch anything cool that you’d recommend? Let me know..and Happy Friday!