Midnight At Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

Hello Friends. Spring Reading is in full effect. I am determined to enjoy this season as much as possible, because I feel like it’s the season I’ve shown the least amount of love to in the past. I love beautiful spring flowers and as I reflect on it, cozy romances give me all the perfect for Spring vibes. I recently finished a semi cozy romance which was my first ever read by Jamie Raintree, Midnight At Wandering Vineyard.

Midnight At Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

Published March 26, 2019 by Graydon House

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.77 Stars

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

“Maybe no one entirely gets over their first love.”

 

Synopsis:

The follow-up to Raintree’s sparkling debut Perfectly Undone, MIDNIGHT AT THE WANDERING VINEYARD brilliantly meshes the provocative relationship fiction of Jennifer Weiner with the nuanced family dynamics of Karen White in this story of a young woman who reconnects with her estranged best friend to complete their teenage bucket list, but the man who came between them years ago reappears to challenge their bond once again.

A young woman at a crossroads in her life returns home to her family’s vineyard in California when tragedy strikes and reconnects with her estranged childhood best friend. They decide to complete the bucket list they created the summer they were 18, the summer that saw their friendship torn apart. But when the man who came between them all those years ago reappears, it challenges their fragile new bond and pushes each woman to confront past hurts and buried truths.

 

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My Thoughts:

Midnight At The Wandering Vineyard was a good book. I liked it. It was okay. I couldn’t give it more than 3.5 stars because it wasn’t anything more than just okay for me. I didn’t realize this book was a book two, or follow up book to another until I was already too far into it to turn back. I’m not sure if had I read the first book that I’d feel differently about this one or not, but I wanted to love it more than I did.

“That’s the thing with Sam. He’s always been able to either make me feel like the most important person in the world, or like I don’t exist. But never in between.”

I think my experience with reading this book was that I went into having expectations, yet not really.. I feel like this “review,” is going to be a bit all over the place, but that’s honestly how my thoughts on it are. Beautiful cover, the cover to this book is absolutely stunning. The descriptions of Mallory’s (the main character) family vineyard are breathtaking.

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what happened in the first half of this book. Have you had the experience of reading something while also being easily distracted because the story isn’t holding your attention? That was me with Midnight At The Wandering Vineyard. 

Mallory returns home and it’s super tense. She is hoping to rekindle the long lost friendship between her and her ex best friend Kelly.  Once upon a time, nothing could come between these two..until it did, in the form of Sam. It didn’t really hit me until further into the book that regardless of how swoon worthy Sam may be, he is also a tad bit of a douchebag.

The friendship between Mallory and Kelly felt a little over the top. I feel bad for saying that because each woman her their stuff going on..but it just felt over the top at times. I had my moments where Kelly felt a little too needy for my liking.  Then there is all this tension about Mallory never coming home. I have never been to neither California nor New York, but knowing Geography, I know they are on complete opposite coasts. So I’m assuming that unless you’re financially capable, that very few are constantly making the trip back and forth between the two.

I did have a favorite part though, and that was advice Mallory’s Dad gives her about relationships. I won’t go into all the details, but I will share what his specific advice is, because I loved it:

the first thing I think it’s important to do is let go of expectations. I’ve seen a lot of good friends divorce because they had unrealistic expectations of their spouses. But this is true in friendships, too. Take what people give you and let that be enough. Because people usually give all they’re capable of giving, the way they’re capable of giving it, and expecting more than that is just setting the relationship up to fail.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

“Relationships are the most important thing. It can take a while to figure that out, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from talking to people older than me, we all get there eventually. At a point in everyone’s life, after all the titles have been earned and the money has been made, we look around and realize none of those things have given us the happiness we’ve been searching for. But when you’re  surrounded by the right people, a ten-minute conversation, walking through a vineyard with someone you love, can mean everything.”

 

Overall, this was an okay book. Maybe I will go back and read it’s predecessor to see if maybe I missed something. I wanted to Love it more than I did.

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Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow

You know the feeling when you’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, and you’re Positive that there’s no way that the this book is going to live up to the first two? Like, there’s no way all three books can be good? I was very nervous as I began reading Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow. The first two books in this trilogy were basically awesome and that made me weary about the third. Melanie Harlow yet again, has me gracefully taking several seats because not only did I love Some Sort of Love, but it’s my favorite out of all three reads.

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Synopsis:

From the outside looking in, I had it all—a career I loved, a supportive family, the Nixon metabolism but not the Nixon ears, and a salary that supported my lavish taste in designer shoes, fine wine, and lacy lingerie … but I had no one to share it with.
Until the day I ran into him—my one night stand from college with the crooked smile, let’s-get-out-of-here eyes, and dirty, dirty mouth.
Cute and cocky then, today Levi Brooks is six feet four inches of hot bearded fantasy. A sexy single dad with broad shoulders, strong hands, and a fantastically big … heart. (I mean, it’s massive. And generous. And it pumps so hard … um. Sorry. Lost my place.)
Being a good father means everything to him, but he’s keeping me at a distance because he thinks I deserve someone better — a man who can give me more time, more attention, more of himself. He doesn’t believe he could ever be enough.
But he’s wrong.
He’s everything

 

My Thoughts:

Some Sort of Love felt like riding the biggest ride at the state fair, in the front seat with a blind fold on! Jillian and Levi had a one night standish/in the closet/in college situation once upon a time and haven’t seen each other since. Until years later and they find themselves as guests at the same wedding.

The romance picks up very quickly. Things get hot and heavy pretty quickly. These two are perfect for each other, and I realized that very quickly. What stirred up my emotions in this book though was Levi. Levi is a single father taking care of his son Scottie who is autistic. As the mother of a special needs child, I felt his frustrations and hesitations in my core. I felt Harlow did a wonderful job writing Levi and Scottie. As the reader you really get to see Levi struggling to find the balance between being attentive with Scottie who he has always put first because he needs him, and falling in love with Jillian.

I enjoyed seeing things from Jillian’s perspective. I was very frustrated on her behalf because Levi at a certain point began treating her like a “side dish,” as her sisters put it. He was so nervous about introducing Jillian to Scottie that all she was getting from him was there Friday night rendezvous.

“I didn’t need everything but I needed more.” 

This romance really explored the concept of trusting someone. Levi had to let his guard down and trust Jillian. Thanks to Scottie’s Mom, he has his reasons to be hesitant the way he is and I enjoyed seeing the many different backlashes from mistrust after being hurt.

With this following three sisters and their romances, I was happy to finally get older sister Jillian’s romance. I admire the sisterhood between the three characters. It was refreshing to read. In a world where the more strain the relationship the better, it is so nice to read of a sisterly bond with no drama.  I also really liked Levi’s sister and how supportive she is.  Levi’s Mom too. She and Levi had been a bit strained due to his outlook on how she periodically stepped her boundaries when it comes to Scottie. My respect for her grew though.

I am sad to see this trilogy come to a close, but it makes me excited to continue on with what I can find by Melanie Harlow. I loved this book. I loved the families. I loved the romance. Its definitely worth the read if you’re looking for a romance you can easily get lost in and finish in a day or two.

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friends. It has been a minute since we sat down over a cup of coffee to catch up. Feel like there is quite a bit to catch up on, so let’s chat.

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Well, I started a new job within my unit. It has been bittersweet. Twelve hour shifts on the weekends absolutely sucks, but you can’t beat having days off during the week. I do love my Sunday’s being at home though so I am taking it with grace and appreciating that although I have such a hectic work week, I have weekends at home with my kids.

Taking over a job when the person who is leaving has mentally said screw it, is tough. The guy I am taking over the position for is retiring next year and has basically wiped his hands way before I even got the job, with the job. It is frustrating, but I tell myself, part of figuring it out for myself is going out there, sitting down with people, having face to face contact and building those connections. So far, I haven’t completely messed anything up, which is good. My main challenge, is staying on top of so many things at once, and supervising so many people. I have about 40 people under me; who all have their own stuff going on. There have been days where I literally sit and stare at my computer screen because I have no idea out of all the priorities, which is the most important and what direction I need to head first. I come home some days drained. I physically and mentally feel that I have given all I have to give.

This is where I want to send a huge middle finger to those who think audiobooks aren’t considered reading. One day when I was extremely stressed out, I got in my car at the end of the day and the audiobook I had been listening to picked up where I left off. The power of storytelling. Within a matter of minutes, I felt all the stress on my shoulders begin to lift. I was so absorbed in the book I was listening to, I began to forget all about my crappy day. It almost bought me to tears. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that something as simple as a story coming through my car speakers was even possible, and that everything was working as it should at that moment for me to listen, because it completely changed the course for the rest of my day.

Although my physical book reading has slowed down a bit, I have been listening to audiobooks as much as I can. They are so convenient and really come through for me, when I want to read but just don’t have the time or energy to read a physical book.

After almost five years of being glasses free, I have become a glasses wearer again. I had eye surgery back in the summer of 2014. I knew eventually, I would need reading glasses. That is something we were actually briefed before getting the surgery, but I don’t remember being told that the surgery wears off. I have felt myself squinting but for some reason never took it serious. I kept going back to, “I’ve had eye surgery.” Well, it is time for me to get a new driver’s license and after two exhausting trips to the DMV, I finally go with everything I need and make it to the end of the process. I have swiped my card, get my receipt, and am told it is time for the vision test. I’m not worried. “I’ve had eye surgery,” right? I am told to read the fifth line and let me tell you, it looked like a bunch of scribbles and upside down shapes. I had no idea what the letters were. So, $50 for an exam and $100 for glasses later and I am back to wearing glasses. I can already tell the difference. I have been taking the glasses off and putting them back on as I look at certain things, completely amazed at the difference they are making. I wish I wouldn’t have been so naïve and went months ago to get my eyes checked. I haven’t went back to the DMV but I am at ease knowing that this time, for real this time, when I go back, I have everything I need for my drivers license. Lesson learned: read read read the websites these places have to be better prepared.

I have been trying to disconnect more.  I think I spend too much time on my phone. I want to get to a point where I don’t wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is scroll on Instagram and Twitter first thing in the morning because let me tell you this Friends, if you haven’t already figured it out for yourself: social media can be way too depressing first thing in the morning. I remember about a week ago, there was a discussion on twitter that I just so happened to login before bed and catch some of the back end of. Well,  I wake up the next day, get on Twitter, and see more comments. It was on my mind all day. I am all for discussion and growth but sometimes, the subject matter, the how it came about and all that, is just not the way I want to start my day. So I removed the Twitter App from my phone. I understand having the app. The app makes it quicker to access the site. I think taking away the convenience of it, is helping with my limiting how much I am on there. Now, I have to get on the internet explorer to get on. Just a few more seconds of work, but still, not as convenient as having the app.  I have also been limiting how much time I watch Youtube. I fall down rabbit holes where I spend hours watching videos. That is time I could be reading, watching movies I’ve recorded or might have missed something amazing one of my kid’s did. There are just not enough hours in the day and I want to be mindful of where I am dedicating my time.

So, here we are, it is November. I will be 32 in 7 days. I am so excited. I am loving my 30s so far. There is something so chill about them. It feels like okay, I survived the hot mess and chaos that was my 20s and now I look at things truly through the lens of “it is what it is.” The Queen, Michelle Obama has a memoir coming out in a few days that I am counting down the hours for. My daughter turns 10 this month, and I am planning a cozy, yet wonderful Thanksgiving. I really wanted to go home to be surrounded by family, but I also want to make memories for my kids where they remember it just being us, doing out best and things turning out just fine. So I really want to make a wonderful dinner at home.

So share with me, what is new with you?

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Book Review: The Proposal

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

3/5 Stars

October 30, 2018–Expected Publication Date

Berkley Books

I received my review copy thanks to Netgalley

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I really enjoyed Jasmine Guillory’s novel The Wedding Date and was very excited when I learned she would be writing another novel following a side character from it. I finished this book and decided I’d take some time to allow my thoughts to piece themselves together before typing them up. It’s been a few weeks now, so here goes..

Plot Summary:

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

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My Thoughts:

First and foremost, Never sneak a peak at reviews for your current read on Goodreads while in the middle of it! I made this mistake while reading The Proposal which lead to those reviews overshadowing my thoughts, which is why I decided to give it time before I wrote a review of my own.

I gave The Proposal three out of five stars which for me means the book was okay. After finishing Guillory’s The Wedding Date, I wanted to throw it into the hands of anyone I could, to get them to read it.  I didn’t feel that way about this one.

The novel starts out intense and with a bang! Nic and her at the time boyfriend are at a baseball game, when he proposes. His proposal is in front of everyone at the baseball stadium and the whole world watching the game on television. The couple hadn’t been dating long, and he didn’t even spell her name right on the big screen. Nic turns him down which causes him to start a scene before storming away. Nic is soon approached by news reporters and shortly after, Carlos and his sister Angela come save the day, pretending they know her and have been looking for her to take her away from the craziness.

Like with The Wedding Date I really love how friendship runs deep in Guillory’s novels. Nic has two really close friends in this story and I found myself at times preferring the scenes with them over her scenes with Carlos. It is so refreshing to see the representation of three strong, successful women doing well for themselves with a friendship and support system that means so much to them.

The scenes with Alexa and Drew (from The Wedding Date) didn’t overwhelm me, and I must admit, when I read their scenes I realized how much I missed them. I became really interested in Carlos in The Wedding Date and wanted to know more about him, so when I saw that he would be the love interest in The Proposal, hands down it was the top reason I wanted to read it. Carlos though, worked my nerves a bit in this story. I understood the why, behind how he acted at times, but it was still too much.  Carlos lost his father, so understandably, he wanted to step up and be the back bone for the women in his family. At times with them and Nic, his take charge personality came across possessive to me. The first couple times, I thought, okay this is cute, but eventually it caused the side eye. There is a scene toward the end of the story where his sister sets him straight and I lived for EVERY moment of it.

Yes, this story had things that I liked and things I didn’t like but what dominated my thoughts while reading this book, causing it to just feel okay once finished, was that I didn’t feel the chemistry in the romance between Carlos and Nic. They start hanging out after the proposal disaster which was cool. There were a few times that Carlos and his overbearing ways annoyed Nic, and she never really addressed them. Carlos is a doctor which Nic is hesitant about. Apparently she had a really bad dating experience with a doctor in her past which I felt was kind of brushed over. There would be hints of how their relationship went and later on in the story you learn this relationship really caused Nic to not believe she could love and all I kept thinking about was how if this was serious enough to make her feel this way, I need more of a back story. I didn’t buy that the few hints we were given were enough to swear off all doctors. Carlos and Nic have plenty of sex, and sadly I finished this book thinking that was really the only place their chemistry lied.  Carlos and Nic literally were hanging out cooking dinner, laughing when he gets summoned to the hospital, and when Nic, trying to help out, shows up hours later with food, Carlos is Annoyed! And this is towards the end of the book. All I kept thinking was, “You were just hanging out with her at your house, laughing having a great time, but you’re annoyed she bought you and your family food!?”

All in all, I think this was an okay book. I think I’d like something different from Guillory next, or maybe this one just fell into the curse of the second book category. I’ve seen discussion about having to read her previous novel first. I don’t think it’s a must. Alexa and Drew weren’t constants in this story–there won’t be a bunch of confusion if you haven’t read it. At this point though, I prefer The Wedding Date way more than The Proposal.

 

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5 Stars: The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond

Hello Friends, I hope all is well with you today. I have been reading quite a bit lately and honestly just about everything I have read, has been wonderful. Gradually I will find ways to share my thoughts about everything. I wanted to quickly share with you my thoughts on Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond which is the first book in the Dark Tides Trilogy.

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The Devil’s Heart (Dark Tides Book 1) by Candace Osmond

Published February 19, 2018 by Guardian Publishing

I read via Kindle, 233 Pages

Rated 5/5 Stars

 

Plot Summary:

Find the witch. Return to the future. Don’t fall in love with the devil…

When Dianna Cobham accidentally breaks an enchanted ship-in-a-bottle she’s washed away to 1707 Newfoundland and taken prisoner aboard a pirate ship captained by the infamous Devil Eyed Barrett. Dianna fights to survive by proving herself indispensable to the crew, all the while forging a secret plan to get back home.

But when Dianna learns of the Devil’s vengeful mission to seek and kill her ancestors, her hopes for returning to the future transform into an elaborate plot to save her lineage. Can she charm the Devil’s heart and change his mind before it’s too late? Or will she sacrifice herself to save the man hidden underneath it all?

Fans of OUTLANDER and PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN give praise for The Devil’s Heart! Grab your copy and start the epic adventure today!

 

Why I Loved this Book..

Before I start, I have to forewarn you that there are some typos and grammatical errors out there for those of you who are insistent on a perfect, grammatical book..I was honestly able to overlook them because they were few far and in between and didn’t trip me up while reading. If I was to have a gripe about this book, that would be it, but I’m not griping about them.

  • I honestly started this book not knowing what to expect. I read up on it enough to haul the entire trilogy at once due to my interest in it, but once I started reading it I don’t think I had any expectations. You spend the first couple of chapters getting to know Dianna and understanding the significance of her loss. She has recently lost her Father and her Mother has been dead for years. She essentially is alone until she returns home to sort her Father’s affairs out and figure out what to do with everything left to her and links back up with an Aunt. She comes to the realization that this Aunt has always had her back, and Dianna really pushed her away. All of this was a great set up. I know how important the beginning of books can be, but sometimes I honestly find them a bit boring. Reading the first few chapters of The Devil’s Heart however, I was hooked. All I kept thinking was, “What am I being set up for?”  I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning because you wonder what choices will Dianna make? She doesn’t want to be back home, but soon learns her boyfriend back in the city has been cheating and although she has this awesome job opportunity she’s worked really hard for, she questions does she even have a reason to return back there? You are presented with this character who in the midst of her grief is presented with so many other turns in the road that you become invested in her and what she may decide to do.
  • One “trope” that I see quite a bit in historical fiction and time travel novels is the use of “objects,” being what causes the character to travel back or forward to another place in time. Dianna is going through her Father’s belongings when she comes across a chest which could’ve only belonged to her Mother. Dianna remembers her Mother being fascinated with the past. She loved History and she adored the sea. In the chest, Dianna comes across a journal written by a young man named Henry. Henry lay witness to the murdering of his parents by a ruthless female pirate named Maria and her husband before being taken captive by them. Maria began to use Henry as her pet, psychologically messing with his mind by making him do sexual things with her and forcing him to kill or be the deciding factor of how she should kill people. He hates her. Dianna becomes obsessed with reading Henry’s journal and then one day his entries just stop.. I as the reader, wanted to know what the heck happened to Henry! What became of him? Was he able to stop Maria and her husband from wreaking havoc, or did he finally make her mad enough that she killed him?
  • I loved Dianna back in time. I appreciate when a character travels back in time and is able to decide when to speak up and when not to. You have to find your footing. You are in a completely different time than your own. Dianna is treated pretty terribly by the pirates she is rescued by once back in time..a woman on the seas is a bad omen. She has to gain their trust and prove herself worthy to still be on the ship. I liked how she was able to use her strengths and things she is good at to make herself a valuable asset to the day to day ship operations.
  • The romance! When two broken people, who have lost it all, find each other and fall in love, I can’t help but root for them. The romance was slow building. The two obviously had to learn each other and build that trust. Dianna was hesitant however because her romance was with someone out to kill an ancestor of hers–which would’ve been great, but would killing this ancestor mean that Dianna wouldn’t be born? It was interesting to see Dianna navigate that and bring that dilemma to the forefront. And the sexy times between the two! Whoo. So well done, I am swooning just thinking about them.
  • Lastly, the family secrets. I love well written family secrets. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking, Wow! Candace Osmond really put some thoughts into this. It was as though she asked herself how could she make this story as complicated as possible? I love it when a character learns a secret about a family member and has that “oh that makes so many things make sense,” moment. There is one big family secret in the forefront of this book and I am interested to see how things play out in the rest of the trilogy because of it!

 

This book was gripping, so fast paced and had me on the edge of my seat. It is less than 240 pages long and every page had depth to it. The ending! I wasn’t ready for the ending. My heart was racing the last 15 pages, and when it was over I was so overwhelmed with anger that I had to remind myself I have book two, it’s okay!

I definitely think this is a trilogy worth looking into if you are interested in time travel, fantasy, romance and pirates. It was wonderful!

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September in Review

Hello Friends! I hope you had a wonderful September. I am so sad to see it go already but am so looking forward to a new month. October and November are my two favorite months of the year. October because of Halloween and November because of my birthday. This is honestly the best time of year and strangely, the time of year that I feel like my reading picks up! Not sure, if it is a rush to get things read prior to the year ending, or just because it is such cozy time..

I read quite a bit this September, so let’s get into what I finished.

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September crept in and my reading mood immediately went into cozy mystery mode! Over the course of a few month’s time, I have managed to haul quite a few cozy mystery series that I found sounded interesting, and I have intentionally saved for this time of year. The first series I started with is the Hat Shop Series by Jenn McKinlay and book one is Cloche and Dagger.

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I won’t say too much about the cozy mysteries I read in September in this post, because I will have posts highlighting them coming up in a few weeks, but I really enjoyed this one. If you are looking for a good cozy I definitely recommend it.

Immediately after finishing Cloche and Dagger, I jumped right into book two in the series, which is Death of a Mad Hatter.  I will talk about this one in a future post, but where I thought the first book checked all h boxes for the first in a series, I felt this one really stepped up to the plate. It was super intense, and I had no ideas as to the “who done it?”

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Still in the cozy mystery mood, I picked up the next book in the Book Retreat series, Murder in the Paperback Parlor. I loved this second book in the series so much! In true Book Retreat series fashion, the guests at Storyton Hall are all there for a themed get away and whereas the last crew were mystery lovers, this crew are romance lovers. Be on the lookout for my thoughts so far on this series in an upcoming post.

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I finished The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick which I really enjoyed. I have a full review coming for this novel, but I recommend it if historical fiction is your thing–especially if you enjoy time travel.

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Following The Phantom Tree, I read Family Tree by Susan Wiggs. Back at the end of August I read Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs which I adored so I thought what the heck, let me start the next book on my shelf by her. I literally read this in less than two days. I listened to it on audio while following along with the narrator and could not get enough. It was wonderful. I have a review coming for this one in October so be on the look out for that.

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Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower was my next read, and another cozy mystery. This is book one in the Magical Bookshop series and oh my goodness, I love this series so much. There are currently only two books out, so I am patiently waiting for the release of the third one. I immediately jumped into the second book, Prose and Cons and loved it, I think a tad more than book one. I am currently torn! If I was asked what type of cozy mystery do I prefer, I thought I’d always say the ones involving food but I am finding I love cozies which take place in bookshops. This series not only taking place in a bookshop, but a magical one, just makes it more special. Be on the lookout for a post dedicated to the first two mysteries in this series coming up soon.

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Next, I read the second book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series, Sunset in Central Park. In book one you meet Paige, Frankie and Eva. The first book was Paige’s romance and this book is Frankie’s. I was super interested in Frankie in book one. She is super against love and romance due to the way she saw her parents’ split take place and everything after. So I was excited to get a book from her perspective. I will admit though, the first few chapters, she frustrated me. Frankie can be a pretty negative person in comparison to Paige and Eva although you understand where she’s coming from. Her story eventually grew on me though. Up next is Eva’s story and hers is, after meeting the girls in book one, the story I’ve looked forward to the most.

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I read my first Candace Osmond novel, Devil’s Heart, which is book one in her Dark Tides trilogy.  This story was gripping. It held me captive until the very ending, and oh don’t get me started on the ending. I highly recommend hauling the first two books at the least, at the same time. I’d be going insane right now if I didn’t have the next book on deck!

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The next read was a re-read for me, and that was Mariana by Susanna Kearsley. I have been hyping this novel up since I read it years ago, so I was bit nervous to re-read it. I had this fear of, “what if it isn’t as good as the first time?”  Never fear however when it comes to Susanna Kearsley. I loved this just as much this go around as I did the first time.

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Next I read a poetry collection written by two new to me romance authors, A Love Letter from the Girls Who Feel Everything by Brittainy C. Cherry and Kandi Steiner. This was a short, beautiful collection. It has some beautiful artwork and I could just tell the authors poured their hearts and souls into it. I loved it.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was my next read and I have absolutely no idea why it took me so long to read this book. It is fantastic. It deserves all the hype surrounding it and more. I loved Evelyn. I loved her core group of people she chose to surround herself with and damn, Taylor Jenkins Reid can write a story. This was amazing.

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I finished The Cottages on Silver Beach by Raeanne Thayne next, which is book 8 in her Haven Point series! I can’t believe I have read 8 books in a series! I made it through this one pretty quickly. I was able to get the audiobook from Scribd and once I started listening, was hooked. Raeanne Thaye does a fantastic job of creating characters who are interested in each other but everything besides that just makes things so damn complicated! I loved this one. This series is so near and dear to my heart and I am happy to say the next one up for me, is her new release, Season of Wonder which released on September 25th.

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Next, I finished another cozy mystery and that is, Town in a Blueberry Jam by B.B. Haywood. I have been making my way in and out of this one since early summer, and being that I hauled the entire series in the matter of two trips to the bookstore, I figured I need to start making my way through it. Unlike the other cozies I read this month, this first in the series didn’t leave me with the urge to jump immediately into the next book. I didn’t feel that connection to the story as I did with prior reads but my fingers are crossed that the second book pulls me in.

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My next read was sort of a let down for me, and that Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill. I love poetry and am a fan of short stories and I find it brave when an author decides to put a body of work into the world consisting of both. A lot of readers haven’t found their niche with poetry and short stories don’t work for everyone. I had high hopes for this one though, because I read a previously written poetry collection by Nikita Gill and loved it. This one missed the mark for me though. She hits some very important themes which I appreciate her for not shying away from, but I found myself preferring the poetry over the short stories and after a while, it felt as though I was reading the same thing over and over. It became super repetitive.

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A fun read towards the end of the month was Miracle on 5’th Avenue by Sarah Morgan. I will be posting my thoughts on this one in a review to come, but I will leave you with, I LOVED it! Sarah Morgan’s books are so much fun and so sexy.

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Lastly, I finished I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. I prefer not to give star ratings to essays, memoirs or any other nonfiction depicting anything personal or based off the author’s life, so although there isn’t a star rating, just know I loved this gem. If you haven’t hauled it, do so. Keep it on your nightstand and just casually read one or two stories here until you’ve finished it. It is one of those books best consumed in bits and pieces. I loved it.

So Friends, those are the books I read in September. It turned out to be a really good reading month for me.

Let me know what you read in September and if you have any new favorites.

 

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Sunday Coffee

Hello there Friends. I hope all is well with you today. We have made it to another Sunday and another month is coming to a close. Seriously, where did September go? I am so excited to catch up with you. I hope you have a nice warm cup of coffee or tea..let’s chat.

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This past week I was tasked to watch people pee in a cup. Despite all of the different shades of urine I won’t be able to get out of my head now, it turned out to be a really chill week. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as busy as expected, so I was able to get quite a bit of reading done.

Towards the end of the week, I got a surprise. Two of my old co-workers showed up while doing an escort. I can’t even express how happy I was to see them. I am at a new duty station now, only 30 minutes away, but feels like a state over. I never get to see my old crew like I’d like to. I seriously wanted to cry. Seeing them bought to the surface the feeling of being alone, that I’ve felt since moving. For some reason, it is really difficult for me to open up myself and allow myself to connect with people where I am now. It sounds bratty, but I miss my friends.  I had it good there for a while, and I feel like I didn’t appreciate it enough when I had it.

I don’t expect to meet my new best friend, but I have got to give people a chance. My therapist is constantly reminding me that I need to watch how I talk to myself. If I continue to tell myself things like, “it’s not worth it, don’t let them in,” then I won’t ever have those connections and who knows? I may be missing out on something wonderful.

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Something that made me laugh out loud this week when I saw it was a picture my kid’s babysitter sent me:

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We have a big box of street chalk and she takes Kaysin outside a lot to draw, practice his letters and play games. This particular day, she wanted to teach him how to play hop scotch. I loved seeing him in mid hop scotch mode, with his jammie pants on and sneakers. He looks like he was really concentrating. I can only imagine how long he kept her out there; he loves being outside and would stay out there all day if we let him.

I had to take my physical test this past week and let me tell you, it sucked. It is usually a morning thing, but with rules changing, there is more liberty For individual unit commanders, to make their own rules. So instead of testing at 6 in the morning when running a mile and a half wouldn’t have been so bad, we didn’t start running until about 2:30 in the afternoon. I can run for a while. With the right playlist, I could run 3-4 miles with no problem. But I’m not fast, and as I get older, the run portion of the test is really kicking my butt. I initially was disappointed, but then I told myself, I passed. That’s what matters. If it’s that big of a deal to me, then I need to work on it. Never in a thousand years would I have pictured myself at the weight I am now, and struggling to get my shit together but here I am. I am going to start with healthier food choices. Mentally I know it is going to suck. I crave junk so much, but I think after a few days, I may not be bothered by the cravings at all.

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Fall is here and this time more than any other time of the year, I really try and appreciate the moments because I know how quickly time flies. I have been focusing on doing things that make me happy. I am binge watching whatever ghost hunting shows or haunted towns type shows I can find. I’ve been pulling out my journal more. I put my phone away and enjoy a Hallmark film. I come home from a long day, cook and watch Rachael Ray. I take a long bubble bath with my ipad propped up so I can catch up on Youtube videos or listen to my current audio book. I know when I need time to restore myself, and that time is very important. If I’m not good, I probably won’t be good for anyone else.

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So, let me know what I new with you. How have you been? Has anything crazy happened since we chatted last?

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