Sunday Coffee

Happy Sunday friends. Grab your Sunday morning drink of choice and let’s catch up, shall we..

sunday coffee

It’s been a while. A lot has happened. life is changing. If you follow me on my social medias, then maybe you know..I retired from the military!

excited

I’m very excited but also nervous as hell. This is what I’ve been doing since I was 18 years old. The learning to adjust struggle is real. I still wake up entirely way too early. Now that my job doesn’t depend on how physically fit I am, I have to dig deep and find the motivation to get back into some kind of work out routine. Waiting for everything financially to flow how it’s supposed to has me a little nervous..but I am staying positive that everything is going to work out. *fingers crossed* they always do.

I started making youtube videos again. Crazy, but I really missed talking to a camera. I went back and forth with, do I go back or not, for a while. I reflected a lot on my niche, what lane do I want to be in? I honestly struggle mentally when I come to the realization that I have cornered myself, or put myself in a box, so at this point I am determined to film the videos I want to film and create what I want. Consistency and Transparency are what matters most to me at this point. Put out content and be as real as possible.

I’m in my first online course in over a year and I feel like it’s kicking my butt. Once upon I fell in love with history and convinced myself that teaching it is what I wanted to do with my life! Someone should’ve shaken me! My current class deals with the U.S.’s involvement in the Vietnam War which truly fascinates me but it’s so masculine at the same time..I’m over it. If I have to read one more time about Presidents who didn’t want to be the one to lose a war or anyone else’s ego, I am going to flip!

The fall is here and I couldn’t be happier. I have broken out the crockpot already and started making different fall vibes recipes. I could eat soup at any time during the year but there’s something perfect about the fall season that just screams *make soup in the crockpot* to me. The joys of having leftover taco soup while lounging on the couch watching some paranormal ghost hunting show are unreal and hard to describe, but sometimes just what I need. It’s been so lovely.

Today is the last day of the Contemporary-a-thon which is hosted by some lovely book tube ladies. This is my first time every participating in this readathon, and I quite enjoyed myself. I have been vlogging and posting a video every 2 days *except Friday through Sunday, just posting them together.* Vlogging everyday is some work. Especially when I vlog a bit then edit a bit, thinking that it will free some time at the end. My reading did start to slow down though toward the end. Friday, I didn’t read anything. I think I was just really mentally checked out after having to read for school Friday morning. After that, I was like No way!

I did start two books yesterday though. Penguin Teen sent me a copy of Looking For Alaska with the movie cover as the cover to the book.

IMG_0239

I’m only a few pages into it, but so far so good.

And I downloaded the audiobook to Irresistible by Melanie Harlow. I was in the mood to return to an old faithful favorite who I knew would pull me out of whatever rut I felt myself going in.

IMG_9519

In a nutshell, that’s what’s been up with me. I have a few articles on Frolic coming out soon, hopefully, that I’m very excited about. I have an idea for Youtube that I think will be a lot of fun, and a series that I can also learn a lot while making. So *fingers crossed* that all works out.

Here is my latest video:

 

But that’s all from me. Let me know what’s been up with you. What are you currently reading or loving at the moment. Be Kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. We will chat again soon. until next time, xo.

selfie

Romance Bingo Wrap Up

I’m looking at the calendar and can’t believe we are already as far into August as we are! For me this means we are that much closer to the fall which is exciting but sadly, it means the end to Summer Romance Bingo, which is hosted by Sarah from Steeped in Books on Youtube. I am happy to announce that I have filled my Bingo card! Looking back on last summer, I think I finished with 3 or 4 open spaces left, so I am definitely patting myself on the back for accomplishing it this year.

IMG_6643

I read:

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo, which I rated 2/5 stars. Sadly, I wasn’t a fan of this one.

Hunky Heartbreaker by Kendall Ryan which I rated 4/5 stars

A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole which I rated 4/5 stars

Imperfect Match by Melanie Harlow and Corinne Michaels which I rated 4/5 stars

Smooth-Talking Cowboy by Maisey Yates, rated 4/5 stars

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai, rated 4/5 stars

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo,  rated 5/5 stars. The romance in this one was cute and appropriate so I’m counting it!

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, rated 3/5 stars

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey, I rated 2/5 stars

Processed with VSCO with l4 preset

Rebel by Beverly Jenkins, 5/5 stars

Petal Pluckers by Iris Moreland, 2/5 stars

I’ll Be Good To You by Chelsea Marie, 4/5 stars

Summer On Mirror Lake by Joann Ross, 4/5 stars

Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates, 4/5 stars

Unexpected by Kelly Rimmer, 3/5 stars

A Lesson In Thorns by Sierra Simone, 5/5 stars

Processed with VSCO with l4 preset

Last Summer by Kelly Lonsdale, 3/5 stars

Dirty Doctor by Whitney G, 4/5 stars

Naughty Boss by Whitney G, 4/5 stars

Cocky Client by Whitney G, 3/5 stars

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey, 3/5 stars

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, 3/5 stars

On a Tuesday by Whitney G, 3/5 stars

Returning His Favor by Jacqueline Francis, 5/5 stars

How to Hack A Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway, 4/5 stars

heartbreak

Although there were a few reads that just didn’t do it for me, for the most part I enjoyed what I read. My intention was to keep the reading fun so I could possibly forget that I was reading to fill up a box and in a way this worked. Then August came. This month has been a sort of reading butt kicker and I am not happy about it. The mixture of 106 degree weather days and waking up early, has me so sleepy by a certain time of day and my reading unfortunately has taken a hit.

I was striving for a Bingo which I reached, but I still have part of this challenge going on. by the last day of August, I’d like to say I reached my second goal with this challenge which was to read 40 of the 80 reading prompts. I have about 12 more prompts to go. It feels so doable, but I know there is this huge disconnect right now between what I want to be doing and my lack of motivation.

I will keep you posted on my goal at the end. Wish me luck, and if you’re participating, I am here rooting for you as well. We got this!! There is still time.

xo.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C

 

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Published June 11, 2019 by Avon

Average rating on Goodreads: 3.78 Stars

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.

Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”

Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

Processed with VSCO with l4 preset

My Review:

“Last time she was in this room, he’d still considered her kind of a pest. Stephen’s sleepy little sister. Now? She’d become the sexy temptation in his bedroom at an alarming rate.”

Fix Her Up was my first read by Tessa Bailey. From the moment I saw this book trending on Instagram, I knew I had to read it. This book just screams Summer Romance Reading so I went into it 100% persuaded I was beginning a new favorite book with each page.

What kept this book from being a new favorite was the overly dramatic hitting over the head reminders that the  “brother’s friend” trope was keeping Georgie and Travis from acting on their feelings. This is one of my favorite tropes in romance but if done wrong, it can annoy the heck out of me. Up until about the 150’ish page mark, it was just too much.

eye roll

Got it. Travis is friends with Stephen, Georgie’s brother but pretty much everyone in Georgie’s family refuses to acknowledge that she’s a 20 something and even Travis for a while until things become sexy between them, still looks at her like his ‘little sister,’ which is kind of creepy when things eventually turn sexy.

“For a while there I couldn’t walk two feet without tripping over you. Now nothing.”

I seriously cringed at all of the reminders that Georgia used to be this annoying kid. Like, stop bringing it up so much..she’s an entire adult now! Luckily at page 108 even Georgie is sick of it..

“Trust me, Travis Ford couldn’t care less if I go on a date. For some reason, he decided to show up and make me feel like an incompetent child.” Georgie swallowed hard. “And I’m really over people making me feel this way.”

IMG_7482

The second half of this book was amazing. I loved it. It was sexy as hell. I loved the scenes where Georgie has time with her sister and friend Rosie which turns into a whole other thing that I hope we see more of in books to come, but despite all of that, the first half pissed me off so bad, the second half wasn’t strong enough alone to redeem it. I don’t like when an author doesn’t trust me as the reader to understand what they’re trying to convey. What Tessa Bailey did was constantly throw either actual dialogue out there between Travis and Georgie where he says something slick, to keep her in her place as ‘friends little sister,’ I’m not sure if more so for himself or for Georgie or have us in Travis’s head as he thinks these thoughts.

“They never should have been spending time together in the first place. This was exactly what he needed–a wake-up call. If Stephen knew they’d been hanging out, he’d deck him. Travis would deserve it, too. He’d apologize for missing the appointment next time she showed up to pester him. Then he’d send Georgie on her way. For good this time. Still, when he put his phone back in his pocket, the guilt and unease refused to fade.”

Then the book turns into a fake dating plot which to me felt like the brother’s friend trope which was heavy in the first half, couldn’t be written strong enough to Carry the book In its entirety.  I didn’t mind it too much because it added something new to the story but it was like shortly after we start the part of the book with this new plot, she quickly wraps up loose ends that wouldn’t be able to work with new trope and it just changed the pacing and honestly it felt like a whole new book.

A whole new book that I didn’t mind. The sex scenes were hot between Georgie and Travis. Travis was an okay hero and although this book was just okay to me, there is something about Georgie that I think will stick with me for a while. She reminds me of the girl from He’s Just Not That Into You for some reason. She was innocent, fun and still coming into her own..and still crushing on her childhood crush, finally getting the guy.

If you have read this book let’s chat about it. If you haven’t read it, I’d love for you to give it a try so we can chat about it. I am definitely excited to see where this new series goes, this one in particular just didn’t work for me.

xo.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C

 

 

Books I Haven’t Read & Probably Never Will

Let’s chat about romances I have no shame in admitting I haven’t read and probably never will:

nope

I feel like this first one may get me burned at the stake, but No friends, I have not read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

outlander

I absolutely love and adore a good time traveling romance, so it still takes me by surprises *sometimes* that I have yet to read Outlander..which is I’m sure in some people’s eyes, the standard for time travel stories. Nope, haven’t read it though. I actually hauled the mass market paperback copy a few months ago with the intentions of following along with the audiobook because I hear the narrator is the Bomb! I had it for maybe a month before unhauling it. Just as quickly as the interest came, it quickly left as well.

Next, is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

50shades

I know people both in real life and friends from the online book community who adore this book and it’s series. I for whatever reason though, have never been interested in reading it. I remember when I lived in Georgia, my female Commander at the time and basically every other female in our unit was obsessing over the books and the movie. I didn’t get it. I had no idea what the fuss was about which sometimes will lead me to explore and find out for myself, but here we are years later and I haven’t budged.

In this next book and it’s series defense, I love hearing other people talk about it..but even that doesn’t persuade me to read it. That is Dark Lover by J.R. Ward.

dark lover

I have been watching Jess from PeaceLoveBooksxo make her way through this series over on her Youtube channel, and this series currently has 17 books. Since I began reading romance, I have definitely fell in love with getting sucked into a series..but I haven’t gotten sucked into a 17 book deep series yet! That is a pretty big commitment and I foresee me getting to a book that I’m not a fan of and that making it hard to continue on with the rest of the books. Also, vampires have never really been my paranormal creature of choice..so that’s a lot of books to read when I’m not too fond of the characters.

I feel like this next one is going to cause a total scandal! The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Sorry, but not sorry..I am kind of cringing as I type this and it isn’t even this particular books fault.

hating game

Although The Hating Game came out first, I read 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne first, and if you weren’t aware: I loathed that book. I couldn’t stand it. I know, I know. I’m not giving The Hating Game a fair chance, and I don’t think I’ve heard a single negative thing about it, but I can’t bring myself to read it. I have this strong feeling that Sally Thorne just isn’t an author I vibe with. Everything I heard people rave about with 99 Percent Mine were the exact things I hated, so..I’ll pass.

Lastly, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

me before you

I remember this book was everywhere! I couldn’t watch a single Youtube video without someone hauling it, or doing a review on it or recommending it. It was everywhere. Despite that it was all over the place, nothing about it sounded interesting to me. I am still a little shocked that I didn’t at least go see the movie, but even with that I don’t feel like I’m really missing out. A lot of people loved it, but the few reviews I saw from people who didn’t, discussed some important stuff from both the book and film that solidified for me that I didn’t really miss anything.

So those are a few books that I haven’t read and more than likely never will. Let me know what books you show no shame in having not read. I’m really interested in knowing.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. xo.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C

The Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

The Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

Expected Publication Date: August 27, 2019 by Dial Press

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.44 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis:

i’m a good girl, bad girl, sad girl, dream girl
girl next door sunbathing in the driveway
i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be
all the girls i’ve ever loved

Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life of the Party, she weaves together her own coming of age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. In precise, searing language–at times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant–she explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. How does one grow from a girl to a woman in a world wracked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? What is the meaning of bravery? Visceral and haunting, this multifaceted collection illustrates that what happens to our bodies makes us who we are.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

My Review:

I remember immediately hauling My American Best Friend when it released. It felt like all of a sudden there were poetry collections being released left and right. I sped through it, devouring Gatwood’s words so quickly and loving it. Of course, I was very excited to see that she had another release coming out and even more excited when approved via Netgalley to read it.

In the beginning of this collection, Gatwood explains herself. She explains how she basically fell down this rabbit hole of consuming tons and tons of true crime. She asked herself one day, what role do poets play in the romanticization of the murdering of young girls and women. This collection was born.

gatwood

I’ve always heard that Little Red Riding Hood is this precautionary tale for women to not go out *in the woods* alone, and that’s how I felt as I read Life of the Party. The poetry reflects both what it’s like to come of age as a young woman and just how damn terrifying it is to exist as a woman.

I loved it. Everything from the angsty teenage nostalgia I felt:

“I will assure them over & over that we loved each other, we did, I will say, I used up a whole disposable camera taking photos of him & when I got them developed at the pharmacy, I also bought a single Frame & chose the picture I loved mot & propped it up next to my bed, I will say, isn’t that the most teenager thing? & the listener will relax, comfortable now with this familiar love they too lived once.

To the down right terrifying:

“Everything is tragic. Everything has either already happened or never will. The boy keeps saying it could have been me, as if that concert, that night, was my only shot at dead-girl stardom and now that I’ve just barely missed the grip of some quiet janitor, I’ve got a long life ahead.”

Collections like Gatwood’s, Life of the Party, restores my faith in poetry. I never 100% lost it, but there were a few years where it felt like everything coming out was trash and hard to read. Gatwood showcases that poets are paying attention and as storytellers have a job to not only pay attention but to speak out. I like how hard she is riding for young girls and women in this one. She sees you and she is your biggest cheerleader. She’s been there, done that and got pissed off.

I think whether you’re new to poetry or already a fan this is definitely a collection you should be checking for. If you’re already a poetry lover, you will more than likely speed through this but if this is your first time with Gatwood, I recommend consuming it in bits a pieces. Read a poem or two then set the collection down and let them sink in. It’s a fantastic ride and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything.

Until next time, take care of yourselves.

xo.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C

Review: Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

 

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Published June 11, 2019 by Berkley

Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.63 Stars

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.

Processed with VSCO with l4 preset

My Thoughts:

It’s crazy that I went into this book with such high expectations and ‘expectations,’ are a pretty big theme in this book. As a romance reader and fan of romantic comedies *especially those starring Tom Hanks,* I was very excited for this release. I strolled into Barnes and Noble the day of release to snag my copy.

This story had so much potential. Annie is a 27 year old writer living with her Uncle in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio who grew up watching romantic comedies with her Mother before she passed away. She learns that a movie is being filmed in Columbus and who would’ve thought..her uncle is cool with the director/producer *I can’t remember* of the film and hooks her up with a job as his assistant. And obviously this is Annie’s romance with Drew Danforth the love interest/lead in the film.

First off, I know the title of this book but damn! I got so tired of hearing Tom Hanks’s name, I wanted to scream. Think of your favorite romantic comedy and now imagine living your day to day life trying to emulate  it. This is how Annie basically lives hers. It might’ve been okay had she not been 27! I don’t mean to say that by 27 you have to have all of your life figured out and have all of your crap together but it annoyed me how immature at 27 Annie felt. I completely have my head in the clouds at times but I know the difference between fiction and reality.  Annie’s Mom told her basically not to settle for anything less than how Tom Hanks treated women in the romantic comedies he starred in, so Annie literally lives waiting for her Tom Hanks to come. Now, I will watch Sleepless in Seattle and be in my feelings for weeks afterwards but eventually I snap out of it.

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

I didn’t connect with Annie. I honestly didn’t really like her. For every point she attempts to make, you’re hit over the head with some reference to Sleepless in Seattle/Nora Ephron/You’ve Got Mail reference and it just got so old. I can’t really say much about Drew because I didn’t connect with him either. I will maybe give the next book *yes, there is one* a go because it follows her best friend and the coffee shop owner she works for. Although side characters with not a lot of page time necessarily, I still felt the vibes between them were genuine and worth reading, so I am happy to see they have their own story. The only aspect of this book that really held my attention was Annie’s relationship to her Uncle and her the friendship between her and her best friend. That was it. Other than that, I wasn’t a fan of this book. I found myself listening to it just to have background noise.

Annie’s aha moment, where she realizes that maybe, just maybe she does feel something for Nick..I felt was just weird. I didn’t feel like the character we meet named Carter, really serves much of a purpose. Wham, Bam, thank you Ma’am and Poof..he’s irrelevant. The conflict I rolled my eyes on, because obviously! Obviously with Nick being a celebrity that had to be the way things go crazy.

In the end Annie realizes she doesn’t have to wait for Tom Hanks. She can totally be her own version of Tom Hanks and go after her guy and make things right and profess her love. I was all for it, just mad that it took over 200 pages for us to reach that point. Some character’s growth is believable but Annie’s wasn’t.

So let me know if you’ve read this book and if so, what did you think.

xo.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C

 

Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

After waiting for what felt like forever (probably a good month in reality) my library hold for the audiobook for A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole came through and I can finally say I’m ‘on track’ with this series. The most recent release, A Prince On Paper, is the only title I have left to read and I’m very excited to continue on with this series.

A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

Published July 31, 2018 by Avon

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.94 Stars

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

“I’m not waiting for some fuckboy to bring me a shoe. I’m here, working for you. I’m finding my own shoe.”

 

My Thoughts:

It is no secret at this point that I’ve been reading the Reluctant Royals series completely out of order. I began with Once Ghosted, Twice Shy then read A Princess In Theory, followed by Can’t Escape Love. I enjoyed the snippets of Portia I got in Can’t Escape Love, but honestly, it was the bits and pieces of her in A Princess In Theory that really made me want more of her. She was such a hot mess and even I needed a bit of a break from her, but she was written in such a way that wanted to understand why.

The crazy dynamics of family are explored in this book really well. Portia has parents who are still together but oh man, they suck. Portia and her sister Reggie have the type of parents who do a fantastic job of making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. While her love interest/boss, Tav, has an amazing Mother and Stepfather and learns throughout the course of the book that he is basically a duke due to who is real father was. I am the first to admit that I love it when a story has a family and everything about their relationship is all cozy, sweet and loving but I totally see the value in writing one that isn’t. If I had Portia’s parents, I would’ve taken an apprenticeship in Scotland as well!

Portia as a heroine was written really well and flushed out really well. You as the reader really see her character growth and evolvement throughout the story.

Processed with VSCO with g6 preset

There was something about Tav that I found sexy almost immediately. There is just something so sexy about a rough around the edges kind of guy. He gave me such old school, mannish vibes. 

Honestly for a long time, I was wondering when the hell anything intimate was going to happen. The build up had me on the edge of my seat but when It came,  I was not disappointed. By the time it happened, there was no denying that there was something between the two. I love seeing two characters try their damndest to remain professional because they work together but there comes a point where it’s impossible!

I am also a big fan of family secrets..where you’ve lived your life and think you know all there is to know and then Bam! You learn that just about everything you know is wrong. The secret in this book is no real big secret because hello! the title! But there is so much backstory  that was a mixture of heartbreaking and full of so much strength when you think of the decisions a mother will make for her child.

I could go on and on about this book but it is yet another installment to the series. I’m adoring it, and I think if you’re a contemporary romance lover who also has a thing for royalty romances..you’re going to enjoy as well.

B5EF10B8C3AF2A7E7A5CADAA74704D8C