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

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My First Line:

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

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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

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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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#Blogmas Gift Ideas for Little Readers

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

xx.

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#Blogmas A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan

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“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.

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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 or..you 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.

xx.

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#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

Plot:

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!

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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.

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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.

xo.

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#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

Plot:

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.

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‘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.

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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.

xo.

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