First Line Fridays

first line fridays

Happy Friday Friends! I thought I’d begin participating in First Line Fridays which is hosted by Hoarding Books.

I will be sharing the First Line from my current read which is Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis. She has become such a comfort author for me, and I’m basically binging whatever I can by her at the moment.

Almost Just Friends

by Jill Shalvis



My First Line:

Piper Manning closed her eyes and plugged her ears against the horror.


just friends

I’d love to know what the First Line from your current read is. Let me know in the comments section and Thank You to Hoarding Books for hosting.

How I’m Rating Books in 2020


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.




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.

prom queen 3

#Blogmas Gift Ideas for Little Readers


Here are a few book recommendations for the little readers in your life:

Home Alone and Home Alone Lost In New York by Jason Rekulak and illustrated by Kim Smith.

Home Alone

Home Alone 2

I am all about introducing my kids to classic television and film. We hauled the illustrated edition of Home Alone when it first released and I read it out loud to my kids. They loved it, it was a hit! So, I ordered the dvd and yet again, another hit. Their laughter makes me so happy, especially when they are laughing at a book! Every Christmas we sit around and revisit Home Alone. I didn’t know Home Alone 2 was out until one day at Barnes and Noble as I browsed the children’s books as my four year old played with their train set. I sat and read to him while he played and the story and art work are just as fantastic as the first book.

The next recommendation is another book I read to my four year old on one of our bookstore visits, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup and illustrated by Matt Tavares.


The Gingerbread Pirates kick off with Jim and his Mom baking cookies for Santa. Jim’s favorite gingerbread man is Captain Cookie who carries a gingerbread cutlass and has a toothpick peg leg. Jim doesn’t want Captain Cookie to be eaten so he keeps him near his bed. That night, Captain Cookie sets off on an adventure to track down his pirate crew. I loved this story so much and the artwork is amazing. A must read for your little readers!

Brad Meltzer has a wonderful ongoing children series called, Ordinary People Change the World, and my kids love it!


My daughter loves I Am Lucille Ball and I Am Rosa Parks and my boys love I Am Jackie Robinson. Meltzer creatively teaches young readers about these phenomenal people from their beginnings to the amazing things they eventually did. The artwork is very accessible for kids; it is almost like reading a comic book. The books are perfection and I think your young readers will really enjoy!

This last one is an absolute favorite of mine and has been since I was a kid. It makes me so happy to have shared it with my babies and that they too, love it!


The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf (as told to Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith) This gem is the wolf’s perspective and how the story we have all been told is wrong. All he was trying to do was ask his neighbors, the pigs, for a cup of sugar to make his dear old granny a birthday cake. He didn’t mean to blow their houses down and such, but he had a really bad cold. I love this story way more than the original story and the artwork is so, so good! Haul this one and read it to your little ones. They will love it.



#Blogmas A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan


“Do you ever read a feature praising a woman whose life is to care for her disabled child or parent with Alzheimer’s? No, you don’t. When someone talks about ‘achievement’ they’re talking about Salary and Status, not the fact that you actually managed to take a shower and change your clothes after being in the hospital with your child for two nights straight even though, believe me, that’s an achievement. You read about Hedge Fun Managers who get up at three in the morning so they can get their workout done, use the gym, clear their emails and make a healthy breakfast for the whole family before putting in a full day of work in the city and returning home in time to read bedtime stories and then do another few hours of work before having perfect sex, three hours undisturbed REM sleep and waking up and starting again. You read about women who were at home with children and suddenly realized that if they started charging for all the cupcakes they made for their children’s friends and school events, they could turn their baking skills into a profitable business. And, by the way, the woman I read about didn’t look as if she’d ever baked a cupcake in her life and she certainly  hadn’t eaten one. What you never read about is the millions of normal women who are struggling to hold it all together and don’t own a planner because we don’t exactly know what we’d write in one.”

A Wedding In December was a five star read from me. I like that the holiday romances we are getting from Sarah Morgan are more women’s fiction yet still have a love story at it’s core. A Wedding In December all centers around Rosie getting married and her parents and sister traveling to America from Europe for her December wedding. The family doesn’t just show up however, they come with secrets tucked away. Sister Katie who is a doctor back in Europe is hiding a work place situation from her family which really has her on the fence as to if she wants to continue with her current career. Rosie’s parents are faking a happy marriage when in reality they have been separated for months. Katie arrives with every intention of digging up skeletons from Rosie’s fiancé’s closet because being the big protective older sister she is..she doesn’t want to see her sister get hurt.



I think Sarah Morgan did a fantastic job of keeping the central story line in the forefront, while also weaving in the emotional journeys and issues that each woman was dealing with and not leaving any loose ends in the end. Also at times when reading a book following different main characters, I find that certain characters can be overshadowed but I didn’t get that with A Wedding In December. Each character was well fleshed out and very well developed.

This book delves deep into the relationship between sisters. What it’s like to be the oldest and have a younger sibling who is sick a lot. We see Katie have to learn to lean on her younger sister for a change. Now that they’re grown women Katie has to learn that their relationship can change, can be different.

I think for most of the book we put Rosie into this needs protection box because that’s how her family views her and treats her, but she has this moment of defiance towards the end of this book where she sticks up for herself and has to remind her sister that her decisions, are her decisions!

The Mother, Maggie, was kind of my favorite character. I adored the fake marriage, but really married trope. It was interesting to see how long Maggie and her husband could pull it off but in the course of being a fake couple, things are set up for them to do as a couple which I really enjoyed seeing. It puts them in this predicament where you either continue to try and fake the funk know, maybe work things out.

I could go on and on but what it boils down to is, treat yourself to Sarah Morgan’s writing. This was a wonderful, wonderful read that I absolutely adored. This is what women’s fiction should read like. This one is part of my Holiday Romance 5 Star Predictions list and I am so thrilled to say it lived up to my expectations.



#Blogmas Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz

Her Naughty Holiday

by Tiffany Reisz

#2 in the Men At Work series

Goodreads Rating: 4.08 Stars


Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!


Why Read This Book:

Her Naughty Holiday was a funny as hell, super sexy, fake dating holiday romance. This is my first Tiffany Reisz romance and will definitely not be my last. I really enjoyed that the heroine and the hero were a tad bit older. Erick is actually the Dad of Ruthie, who works for Clover, our heroine. Ruthie is a total force herself to be reckoned with. I adored her. She is this total 17 year old feminist and I couldn’t get enough of her scenes.

The entire beginning and middle half of this book is build up for Thanksgiving day where Clover and Erick prepare for Thanksgiving dinner with Clover’s terrible, so terrible, family. Clover and Erick agree to ‘fake date,’ so that there is a possibility that Clover’s family will back off and give her a break about being single. These people are hilariously terrible people. They give Clover a hard time about being a college drop out, despite the fact that she is still a successful business woman. They want her to settle down and have kids, but not with Erick who is the father of a 17 year old daughter because “step kids are second best.”

I was expecting a very passive scene that I see in a lot of books where the heroine is “the bigger person,” and doesn’t say anything but oh boy, was I wrong and a total Stan for it. This book had one of the best stick up for yourself scenes I’ve read in a book and it didn’t stop there. After Clover is done with everyone’s crap, she kicks THEM ALL OUT, even Erick. Her family is stunned and stubborn and doesn’t seem to get the point, so Erick has to help them understand why Clover is so pissed.


I loved his scene alone with Clover’s family just as much, if not more than I did hers.  It was great, and in true romance fashion, she heard it all while standing in the background on the stairs unnoticed.

You have to add this holiday gem to your tbr. If you can snag a copy of the audiobook, I can’t recommend it enough. Erick is very sarcastic and uses a lot of jokes, and it just translates so well via audio.

I hope you read it and I hope you love it.



#Blogmas Christmas With the Marine by Candace Havens

‘You don’t know how Beautiful you are, do you?’

Christmas With the Marine

by Candace Havens

Published October 18, 2016 by Harlequin Blaze

Goodreads Rating: 3.69 Stars


Mission: To make one sexy civvie’s Christmas wish come true 

Christmas is almost here, and guys are the last thing on personal shopper Ainsley Garrett’s list. But her icy resolution melts when she sees an incredibly hot Marine shopping for toys. A man in uniform with a hot bod and a heart of gold? Maybe a gal can believe in Santa after all… 

Major Ben Hawthorne has his career to think about, but when it comes to Ainsley, he’s willing to break his own rules, at least for one night—provided they can get this insanely wicked attraction out of their system. Only, once isn’t enough. Now Ainsley’s checking her list twice…before she falls for a Marine who’s naughty and nice.


‘I’ve just never met a selfless man before. You’re an anomaly.’

Christmas With The Marine was my first ever read from the Harlequin Blaze series.

christmas with the marine

It was fun, and sexy as hell. Ben meets Ainsley while being tasked to buy toys on behalf of his unit for Toys For Tots. Their running into each other was totally meant to be, because Ainsley is a Professional Shopper.

This was a fun holiday romance because the meet cute and so much of the story is about these two getting gifts for other people but in the end, their meeting each other is the gift neither one of them expected or thought they needed.

Both have their reasons for trying to convince themselves that they can only be friends; Ainsley is trying to get her business off the ground and Ben wants to progress to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and knows the hard work and sacrifice that will go into that.

The fact that Christmas With the Marine takes place in Texas was a bonus. The city I live in was mentioned a few times, so I loved that. The story has a twist to it too that I actually enjoyed seeing. Marines are so proud of being Marines, but Ben definitely has to humble himself; Ainsley’s father is constantly trying to set her up with these big time business guys who behind the scenes are total jerks, but her dad doesn’t think Ben is good enough for her. It was a different kind of spin on the story. You have the guy who serves his country in probably the proudest branch of the military, but he’s made to not feel good enough.

The writing was easy. The pacing felt right, and I overall really enjoyed this story. I think if you want a holiday romance that is going to easily hook you from the first page and move quickly, I can’t recommend Christmas With The Marine enough.




What’s Up

Hello friends. The blog has been silent since #Blogtober ended. No worries though, I have been hard at work to make sure there is a daily post in the month of December. I just wanted to pop in today to chat about what’s been going on.

My Post (2)

I turned 33 on November 11th and it feels great. I remember being younger and being so intimidated at the sound of turning 30! It sounded ancient but there is something really chill about the 30s. From what I hear, things only get better from here. The best way to describe the 30s is that you finally find this comfort in, it is what it is. I think we put these expectations on ourselves that by 30 you’re supposed to have x, y & z all figured out and your life is supposed to be totally put together when in reality that’s just not the case. I think for most of us, our 20s were a hot mess and it’s in your 30s that you start to sweep the floor and clean the mess up. And you’re chill about it, you’re not stressing about it. Things will get taken care of with time.

On my birthday I lounged on the couch, read romance novels and watched Hallmark Christmas movies. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My husband made delicious tacos for dinner and it was an amazing overall day.

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to slow down, so I’ve been taking it easy. I’ve been reading and not worrying so much about putting my thoughts somewhere. That will come, but I am so happy right now just really trying to be in the moment of things.

I am back in School and it’s kicking my butt. I am currently taking two classes, History of Christianity and History of the American West. Both are interesting, but I’m not going to lie, I’d rather take one at a time. Being that I am paying for my online classes though with my GI Bill, I’m basically getting paid to be a student, so taking only one class translates to less money and my husband isn’t going for that! Especially when he takes like five at a time.

I have been thinking a lot about what I want my blog to look like in the new year. I feel like we are a constant work in progress but as I evolve, I want her to evolve too. We will figure it out. As for now though, I am going to finish watching Mountain Monsters and let the change come to me.

I hope all is well with you. We will chat again soon.





#Blogtober Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber


Blogtober“As she struggled against me, suddenly all I could think of was my mother and how she’d shown me that living a life in fear was no way to live at all. It was a choice.”

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.




This was the perfect book to kick off my September reading. I have been reading quite a few books which follow the same plot line of this story, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.*woman returns home and inherits xxx* usually a bed and breakfast, but in Anna Kate, our heroine of this novel’s case, a cafe.

“Once upon a time there was a family of Celtic women with healing hands and giving hearts, who knew the value of the art and used its abundance to heal, to soothe, to comfort. Doing so filled their sounds with peace and happiness. Those women held a secret.”

The cafe and specifically the blackbird pie is a staple in the small town of Wicklow, Alabama. Anna Kate never really spent any time in Wicklow, Alabama growing up but when she returns, I don’t think she quite grasped how important her family cafe meant to the community. The magical realism in the story kicks in early in the book when we get glimpses of her grandmother’s storytelling and throughout the book when we get scenes with Anna Kate and the blackbirds. I love what the birds symbolize and how much the importance of love and the magic of love are honed in, in the book.

Grief. This book really touches on how a tragic accident. One moment in time. One incident. How it can affect everyone who has now experienced a loss. We see how grief affects who you become. We see how grief affects relationships and a lot of this book in its own magical way, is a good look at healing.

There is a lot going on in this story, and the story itself is set in a small Alabama town which I felt was a character itself. I love when setting plays a huge part in the story and Wicklow definitely did. You truly get the small town vibe: everybody knows everybody’s business, when there is trouble someone is coming by to help and the southern charm is irresistible.

cafe mood board

Overall, I loved it. I already know it is a story I will be recommending for a very long time. I rated it 5/5 stars. Add this one to your autumn tbr if it’s not on there already.



#Blogtober What We Don’t Talk About as Bloggers


Blogging is work! There are days where it feels like literally all day I have been on the computer writing blog posts. Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. I love having a space where I can chat about the genre I love and whatever else I decide to post, but I won’t sit here and act like it doesn’t feel like a job (that I don’t get paid for) sometimes. What helps me out is taking advantage of those days when I don’t have a lot going on and knocking out posts and scheduling them ahead of time.  That way, I’m always ahead of the game and as those scheduled posts come out, I can continue typing new ones. This also allows me some breathing room. If I have a few days where I’m swamped with homework or just not in the mood to type up any posts, I’m already taken care of because I put in the work already.


It sucks when you put your heart and soul into a post and when it goes live, it doesn’t get the response you were expecting. It sucks. There are tons of posts out there chatting about how to capture an attention grabbing headline. Maybe it was the headline that didn’t pull people in. Maybe it’s the graphics. It can be so many different things. All you can do is keep pushing though. Write another post and put your heart and soul into it. At the end of the day, as long as you are happy with the content you are creating, that’s all that matters. If it bothers you that much, reach out to someone and ask for constructive criticism on what you can do better to improve. Research Research Research! The information from successful bloggers is out there. Don’t let it go to waste. See what has gotten them to where they are.

It’s not enough to just be a blogger anymore. You have to use social media *cough* Instagram to boost your blog. So much for laying off of social media for a while, right? Instagram has changed everything. It is such a critical tool for people with platforms. Your favorite Podcast, probably has an Instagram. Your favorite YouTuber probably has their Instagram linked in the description box of their latest video. It is a cool way to get more behind the scenes, daily life of someone whose content you enjoy but it’s also a way for them to encourage you to check out their latest podcast episode or youtube video. It’s the exact same for blogging. If you’re posting on your blog just for you, that’s different. If you’re posting on your blog with the intentions of growing a following, you have to put yourself out there as a creator. The traffic isn’t just going to come you. You have to promote yourself. Remember my first point of how it feels like a job..


The online creator world period, has a way of making you feel like you have to pick a lane and stay in it! This is something I struggle with. I’ve created my space and I have moments where I want to include content that’s totally unrelated to my normal, but I’m hesitant because I’ve gained a following based off the content I’ve already put out there. It can be nerve-racking to think about switching it up and putting something new, and your followers not liking it. Like, ‘we came here for romance, so what is this post about recipes here for?’ Do you just rebrand what you already have out there? Do you start over, something new?


These are just a few of the things I feel like we don’t talk about as bloggers. I would love to get your perspective on my topics or thoughts you’ve been having.