Water Bound by Christine Feehan

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“Before you turn her world upside down, you make sure you are prepared for what her world has to be. You have a choice. She doesn’t. Certain things have to be in place for her to cope.”

Water Bound was published in July 2010 by Berkley publishing. It is book 1 in the Sea Haven series which apparently is a spin off of a previous series by Christine Feehan. This is a paranormal suspense romance between our heroine Rikki and hero, Lev. Rikki is an autistic bad ass elemental who controls water and Lev is basically a trained assassin who falls in love with her after she saves him in the ocean.

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This was my first five star read of the year and the only book I’ve rated above a four star up to this point. I loved it, so much. One of the “goals” I have for this year is to explore more of the romance subgenre’s I have neglected to read in previous years. Whoa, am I glad I did. I read and finished this book and immediately hauled the entire series. I am hooked.

The pacing of this book was done so well. Initially in the book, Rikki, who feels most comfortable out on the water, is tossed overboard by this huge wave. With Rikki’s ability to control water, so many of the analogies in this book are done with beautiful water descriptions.  Looking back it’s super obvious that Rikki and Lev would absolutely have to have their “meet cute” via water. Lev is not a good guy, especially in the beginning. He is rough around the edges and slightly unlikeable but it doesn’t last long. Somehow, Christina Feehan writes him in a way that you know there is more beyond the surface and you have to give it time to unravel. Rikki feels that being so she saved him, he is now her responsibility and she sees the real him. This is a huge part in what shatters his armor and kicks off the beginnings of him falling for her.

“he was drowning. He’d lost his footing and he’d sunk hard and fast. He desperately needed an anchor. She was turning him inside out and he wasn’t doing a thing to stop it.”

The plot gradually continues with these two spending a lot of time cramped up in Rikki’s home, which is new for her: she doesn’t allow anyone in her home, for their safety. The author takes two very damaged people, who are both loners in the world and puts them in Rikki’s home together. I won’t go into their back stories here because those are for them to tell you, but so much of the suspense element to this book deals with the heroines past and what I love about this book is the hero’s determination to prove to her she never did anything wrong.

The middle portion of this book is the hero coming to the realization that the heroine lives with autism and what sold me on him, is we never see him become frustrated with her. Rather, once he figures it out, we see this determination to always figure out the adjustments he needs to make to make her feel comfortable. You see the heroine struggle with trying to figure out how the hero will fit into her life: she has so many routines-but love always finds a way.

The end portion of the book had me on the edge of my seat and had a scene where Rikki uses her powers that brought tears to my eyes. I have quite a few friends who were rooting for me while reading this book-they love this series-and I can see why. It was so good.

xx.

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MORE & LESS

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Recently, I found myself completely worked up about something I had no control over. I’ll be honest and admit I was kind of hurt and it bothered me for an entire morning. Now that time has passed, I look back at the time I wasted being so worked up about something on the internet.

This year I want to do better at recognizing when I need to disconnect. I love the online bookish community, but there are times when it brings more stress than it does enjoyment. It’s so easy to fall into the traps of being too concerned about who is shouting out who, who is left out of those shoutouts-what advanced copies are being sent out and the fact that you’re not receiving them. Things that in the grand scheme of it all, do not matter whatsoever.

This year I want to do more reading and less scrolling. When I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I want to immediately grab my kindle instead of my phone. I want to consciously choose to spend those moments reading, rather than immediately going to social media to see what is going on.

I think I tend to do a lot of aimless scrolling when I’m bored. Rather than getting on social media, or spending hours upon hours of youtube watching, listen to an audiobook instead. Or catch up on one of my favorite podcasts.

Look, I get it. As creators we have to utilize social media to boost our work, but like with anything else-I am beginning to take a good, hard look at how I feel once I’m done scrolling. Most of the time when I click out of my apps I have these ideas of I need to do better. When in actuality, I am doing okay and that’s enough. 

Plan of action: I am finally committing to setting a screen time limit each day which for my social media apps is set for an hour and for youtube is set for 2. I am so excited for the new ways I find to spend my time this year.

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Weekly Wrap Up

 

Weekly Wrap Up

We have made it to another Sunday friends! Let’s wrap up this week.

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This past week I participated in 2020’s first round of Smutathon which is hosted by Riley Marie and Ginger Reads Lainey over on Youtube. My ‘vlog’ went up this morning, which I’ll leave here for you all. I already have a 2020 Favorite from reading this week which I am excited about.

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My listening this week mostly consisted of audiobooks for the books I was reading. I am back in school, so audiobooks are a lifesaver after a day full of reading and I can longer convince my brain to look at words and make sense of them! Podcast wise, I am going back and listening to older episodes of the Fated Mates podcast and I listened to Season 2, Episode 22 of the Currently Reading podcast. It isn’t a romance focused podcast, but I really enjoy the conversations between the two hosts.

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I really want to find a good show to watch when I take a break from reading or am done with homework for the day. I love old school comedy so I am on the prowl for something good. I binged Everybody Loves Raymond a few years ago when it was on Netflix  and loved that, so I am thinking maybe Frasier or Cheers next. If you all have any recommendations let me know. I did watch a few episodes of the (classic) version of the Twilight Zone. I love that show so much and am currently on season 3.

Not much from me this week. I really focused on getting books read. I am on the hunt for great Romances this year, so I am trying to be a little low key and actually focus on getting reading done.

I’d love to know how your 2020 is going so far. Have you had a five star read yet? Let me know.

xx.

2020 Blog Goals

Let’s chat a bit about my goals for FallingForRomance this year.

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This year I have a goal to stay on top of reviews here on the blog. In 2019 I read way more than I ever have in a year; 194 books. Reading as much as I was, as quickly as I was at times, it became easy to forget to or choose not to-post reviews.

FallingForRomance at its core is a romance reader blog site but I am also a new stay at home mom, college student, wife, sister, friend-all the things. I am also 30 something who has yet to figure it out. 99.9% of the time I am completely winging my way through life, and I want to post things that reflect that. I think sometimes as creators we feel like we’ve put ourselves in a box; you build an audience based off a niche and feel like you have to stick with that niche because Hello! That’s how you’ve built your audience. That gets frustrating and feels a tad bit limiting. I want to be as transparent as I can with you all-I truly believe in you Never know whose watching and who you may help through your honesty. So more, real talk, honest chats are to come.

I want to continue sharing romance conversations I’ve enjoyed. I love taking a break from reading and catching up on my favorite Podcasts and Youtube creators. It keeps me excited to read. There has really been a rise in romance focused podcasts and my fingers are crossed that we continue to see more this year!

Lastly, I really enjoy having three posts come out a week, which was a groove I found myself in during the summer and early fall. I’d like to get back to that but I’m taking baby steps. It may start out with two posts during the week and my weekly wrap up on Sunday, but the goal is to get back to three a week. Fingers crossed I can make it happen!

I would love to know what some of your blogging goals are. I am here rooting for you! We got this, let’s make 2020 amazing!

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2020 Goals

I haven’t chatted yet about my goals for this year and I figured it’s time. Before we know it, this year will be coming to a close at the rate time is moving, so better late than never.

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Actually use my planner. Every year, I spend money on a planner that gets used the first few weeks (more like days) of the new year before spending the rest of it in my backpack, in the glove department in my car or in a drawer underneath paperwork. Being in online university, having appointments and reading advanced reader copies for reviews, I need all the organization I can get to stay on top of things. I hauled a nice planner from Amazon and my plan is to put it to use.

Drink more water for all of the obvious reasons. I’d like to keep myself hydrated and it’s really good for your skin. I personally have noticed a big difference in my skin when I drink more water. I am a huge coke drinker and really need to stop consuming it, so cheers to ridding myself of bad habits this year.

Spend less time on social media and more time reading and journaling. I have issues sleeping and find myself quite a bit, wide awake at 2 in the morning. Rather than grabbing my phone to scroll through the trash one facebook, I want to grab my phone and open my kindle app. Or not even grab my phone but instead, reach for my Kindle and read. Journaling is a very important hobby I want to get back into this year. I made an entire video about it over on Youtube.

Get back into running. Ever since retiring from the military I have completely neglected my body. I haven’t done anything physical whatsoever. I miss running. It was so therapeutic and so empowering. I miss hitting the road with nothing but the road ahead of me, endless paths I can take and my badass girl jams playing through my headphones.

My words for 2020 are nourish and intention. I chose these because in my mind, they go hand in hand. I want to do more things that nourish me this year which I think will for sure be possible if I am doing more things with intention. Being picky about what I’m doing. What fires I am spending my time putting out. Who I am allowing in my life. Who and what I am focusing my energy on. I want to intentionally spend more time making myself happy, doing the things I love.

My reading goal is set at 115 books. I am not comfortable yet with setting some outrageous number yet because I never know what will happen. I may get super busy one month and not have the time to read. I may get sick and not be able to read. I like to keep the number in a reachable range For myself and hey, if I surprise myself, then cool.

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I don’t have very many specifics for my reading but I do want to:

  • read more backlist titles
  • read older/classic romances
  • read more female/female romances
  • discover more women of color writers

Lastly reading wise, is to keep it fun. Don’t be afraid to put a book down if it’s not working for me, and be okay with switching things up. Sometimes it’s fun to read a few memoirs and angsty poetry collections then make my way back to romance.

I am so excited to see what this year has in store for us. Let’s make it amazing.

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How I’m Rating Books in 2020

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We have survived another year friends! Let’s pat ourselves on the back and bask in the excitement that comes along with the arrival of a new year. I am speaking it into existence: 2020 is going to be epic. Not Pictured: my fingers crossed under the table that I am not a complete train wreck at the end of it. Hoping that good romances and delicious wine help me along the way.

I have been reflecting quite a bit on how I want to rate the books I read in 2019 and here’s what I came up with:

5 Stars: The books that I know whilst reading or once I’ve finished, that I know are going to stick with me. These are the books I will recommend at every opportunity that arises. My goal is to not hand these stars out like candy.

4 Stars: My four stars are going to be amazing and great, they will be books I love. (brace yourself for the but..) However, although I loved them and they are books I’d recommend, there is something about them that kept them from being a five star. I know there will be quite a few reads that I have to do some heavy reflection on, to decide if it is a five or four star. There are times that this boils down to the experience of reading the book. We will see what happens.

3 Stars: Straight Up Now Tell Me (sorry, I am currently listening to my girl jams playlist) for real though, my three star reads are straight up, Okay reads. That’s it. No better way to explain it. They weren’t a four star read: they weren’t terrible, they were simply okay and its okay being, okay.

We are now entering into dangerous territory, so brace yourselves.

2 Stars: The writing was terrible. The pacing was off. There was no character development or growth. I very rarely hand out 2 stars, but in any given year, there may be one or two titles that find themselves in this territory. Fingers crossed, this doesn’t happen this year.

1 Star: Funny thing is, I don’t think I have ever rated a book one star. If I rate a book one star, I more than likely decided to not finish it. I couldn’t get through it.  I am pretty picky with what I read. I tend to go back and forth a few times with titles before diving in which, as crazy as it sounds, I think prevents 1 star reads from happening.

 

I would love to know how you are rating books this year! Let’s chat about it. sending good vibes your way. We will chat soon.

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#SmutAThon

Happy Day 1 of SmutAthon. I wanted to jump on here for anyone who may have missed that this romance readathon is happening!

This readathon is hosted by Riley and Lainey and takes place January 4th through the 11th. I will post both of their announcement videos for you:

The hosts have also created a Roaring Twenties themed Bingo Board with the prompts for us which you can find here.

I am playing it safe this round being that I start back to school next week, so I only have four books on my to be read list, but am very excited! I will leave a link to my video below.

I would love to know if you plan to participate. It is so much fun and all about reading romance for a week. I hope you’ll join us.

Chat with you soon. xx.

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No Faves in 2019

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Okay, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way before I start this post: About 98% of the reason I don’t have a worst or favorites list posted, is honestly out of procrastination and poor planning on my part. Lesson learned for 2020: do better at tracking favorites throughout the year. I have plans in mind to help me with better tracking because for real, when I sat down to start making a list of ‘favorites,’ I became extremely overwhelmed.  As I roamed through my 2019 reads on Goodreads, I realized that books I was positive I’d read in reading years prior, were actually read this year, I saw many titles I’d honestly forgotten about and there was a plethora of titles that I remember reading but couldn’t tell you a single thing about.

My reading goal for 2019 was to read 75 books and I’ve read over 150. As of today, I am less than 10 books away from reading 200 books actually. That is the bomb, and I am so proud of myself. (You know there is a ‘but’ coming) The issue for me is, as I browsed through my reads for 2019, I became aware that at some point during the year my reading became more quantity focused, instead of quality focused.

It is so motivating and inspiring being a part of the online book community and seeing how many books a week some of my friends read. It definitely pushes me and motivates me to step my game up and read more. This is cool. I like seeing how I can incorporate reading into my day to day. What I found myself doing was binging quick reads. Totally fine, but in the end this caused me to neglect so many books that have been sitting unread on my shelves.  Books that at some point sounded interesting enough for me to haul, but also may require a bit more attention and time.

I’ve come to rely heavily on audiobooks. I love audiobooks. Listening to so many though, when I pick up a book that doesn’t have an audiobook available, I cringe a bit inside at the thought of having to actually read the book myself. This is crazy to me, because once upon a time that is the only way I consumed a book. I have seen how many more books I am capable of reading with audiobooks available and how quickly, so thinking of how slowly I read without an audiobook messes with my mojo. It really became about picking up books I could make my way through fast so I could move onto the next book and make my way through it fast!

I remember reaching my reading goal earlier than I tend to. In years past, I typically hit my reading goal mid-June. This year, by the time June came, I’d already surpassed it and as much as I wanted to just chill, it became this rat race..can I hit 120? 120 turned into 150. I think challenging myself is fine, but I would get on audible escape and look for books less than 6 hours, or so many pages and go with that rather than something longer.

Did I read books this year that standout? Absolutely. Do I have favorites? Yes. I am not going to stress myself out though with curating a list this year. Most of the books I loved, have been mentioned either here on the blog, or numerous times over on my Youtube channel. I want 2020 to be the year of dedicating time to the books that blow my mind. Showing love to those slow but steadies. Making dents in those chunkers. I have so many titles that have been calling my name and I’m constantly putting them off, choosing instead, something I can read quicker. I want 2020 to be the year of quantity. I know, I know.. we don’t know what we’re in for when we go into a book. I get it, but I have so many neglected gems sitting on my shelves and I want 2020 to be the year I rectify that.

At the end of 2020, when asked for favorites I want to be able to rattle off titles without having to revert back to Goodreads. I want to just know off the top of my head, whereas with 2019, it really took some though and a few glances back to my Read Shelf.

I would love to hear what your 2019 reading favorites were. Was it an easy list to make?

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#Blogmas Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain

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Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. Holly Gibson has found herself with custody of her young niece Penny. She travels to the town Safe Have, Georgia where according to documents left behind by her sister, is where she would have raised her and is the town baby Penny’s father, Cash O’Dwyer is from.

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Hello, not so surprise baby! This book is essentially the romance between two people who never would have thought of themselves as parents. Holly, because of how she grew up with a negligent mother and the armor she wears around herself for protection. Cash, because he’s just very business minded and while he loves his nieces and nephews, he just never had any interest in being a father himself. The two take the appropriate steps to prove Cash’s fatherhood of baby Penny and this romance is everything you’d expect in a romance after that proof of paternity with a twist of suspense included.

Both Holly and Cash have Mommy issues they are still grappling with. Holly’s Mom was one of those ‘she’s there but not really there’ types, so Holly trusts no one and prefers to be a loner. Cash’s Mom was beat to near death and lost a lot of her memory.

I was a bit frustrated with Holly because even after paternity is proven, and she is in this small town surrounded by Cash’s family which is baby Penny’s family, she is so hesitant to allow them to help her. She tries to do everything by herself. Understandable given what she’s been through, but I thought it a bit selfish. This is baby Penny’s family!

What you get when you pick up Low Country Christmas is a romance between two people whose lives have been completely shaken up by a baby. There are secrets discovered throughout the book that add a spin which lead to the big twist in the book. Does this book in with the addition that has been irking me whilst I make my way through holiday romances? Absolutely, it does. In this one it was totally hard to believe because seriously, the whole read there wasn’t really anything remotely romantic that happened. I felt Cash wanted to budge with Holly but she kept shooting him down and friend zoning him/I’m just here for support zoning him, so he’d retreat back into his shell. Then the twist happens, then it’s the end of the book. So the ending felt off for me. There could have been chemistry but that’s just not how the story was written. Spark! I would have loved more spark between Cash and Holly, and seriously, after having finished this book, it felt like the lack of spark was because of Holly. Well written, guarded character, but it just threw me off when the ending came and all of a sudden there all these feels! It was a bit unbelievable and felt rushed.

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#Blogmas The Giving Heart by Toni Blake

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The Giving Heart by Toni Blake. Lila Sloan travels to remote Summer Island to house sit for her sister Meg. All is well, until she hears this bull dozer on the property with a driver intended on knocking down the trees on it. Enter in, Beck Grainger and the immediate thoughts Sloan has, that Meg will never forgive her if she allows the trees to be knocked down. Were the plans to cut down the trees a secret? Nope, been in the works for months. Beck however, doesn’t like being at odds with his friend Meg’s sister-especially since he finds her so appealing.

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The Giving Heart was on its way to being a five star read for me. Sure, the premise of the book is a little ridiculous as you’re reading it. I had to remind myself a few times that the beef that Lila really tries to perpetuate with Beck is all over some trees. I for one, completely get sad when I see a bunch of trees knocked down-but I don’t think I could stand in front of a crew of construction workers and they’d just halt their work! That part aside though, there was something about this book that had me sucked in. It had been a while since I’d read something that had me hanging on every word, and I found that experience with this book. This is the second book in the Summer Island trilogy so I am assuming the side characters in this book were in the previous book, but I think a lot of my interest in the story lay with the side characters, Dahlia and Suzanne. Dahlia is an older character who epitomized confidence and comfort in her own skin. Suzanne went through a tough divorce and has guarded herself against relationships since. Apparently, Beck has had a thing for her and she’s constantly turned him down..until now. Perfect timing right, with Meg in the picture?

This book becomes this weird love triangle involving two people who are also attempting to be friends. At the same time though, it is also obvious that Suzanne has had plenty of space and opportunity to have made Beck hers. Lila is only in town for a while though, so we see Beck have to make that decision-he could totally play it safe and choose Suzanne who is there, will be there, and is finally willing to give him a chance, or he can follow his heart and go after Lila.

The book strangely felt like a mixture of enemies to lovers and friends to lovers; the enemies part felt one sided. Lila really tries to hate Beck due to the tree cutting situation and I think as a way of denying her attraction to him. He is never a jerk to her though so it’s hard to maintain that front.

This book gave me the wintry feels I was looking for, which I appreciated. I feel like a lot of the 2019 *Christmas Romances* have suffered a bit of false advertisement, but this one definitely delivered. What kept this from being a five star read was the random addition at the end of the book I wasn’t expecting and just didn’t work for me. It is a personal preference. It may work for some readers, but for me, when the characters have only known each other for 300ish pages, it just doesn’t jazz well with me. You guessed it, the proposal. 

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