WWW Wednesday 25 September 2019

Happy Wednesday Friends!

‘WWW Wednesdays ’ was originally hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm before moving to Taking on a World of Words. 

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For WWW Wednesdays, we answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

My current read is Coming Home For Christmas by Raeanne Thayne which is the 10th book in the Haven Point series. In the previous book, Season of Wonder, is where we get really introduced to Luke and his situation. We learn he is a single dad of two whose wife disappeared and a large group of the townspeople believe he is behind her disappearance. In Coming Home For Christmas, Luke has tracked her down and brought her home. The District Attorney is moments away from charging him and putting him in jail to make an example out of  husbands who make their wives go away.” It is the cozy, small town feel I have grown to love and expect from this serious, with the mix in of intensity surrounding the reuniting of Luke and Elizabeth, his ex-wife.

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I recently finished Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec. This is an audible original I listened to via the Audible Escape. This book was hilarious and it wasn’t one of those situations where it feels the author uses too much comedy to overcompensate for lack of plot, bad writing..or whatever. The plot was there and I loved it. Heidi is a 20 something recent kindergarten teacher who when we meet, is in between jobs. She isn’t happy teaching anymore. She also has a really big crush on her neighbor. Heidi ends up getting a job working at a studio where erotica novels are produced. In hopes that it’ll help build her confidence, Heidi starts a podcast where she reads a paragraph or so from an erotica novel. I didn’t do this book justice trying to explain it, but it’s a lot of fun and so swoon worthy at the end. I highly recommend it.

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What I think I’ll read next.. Lone Wolf Cowboy by Maisey Yates. I actually started this a few days ago. I made it maybe 10 pages in but had so much school reading that needed to be done. My next read is definitely going to be it, because the newest book in the series is out now.

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I am currently taking part in Contemporary-a-thon which has been a lot of fun so far.

Let me know what you are reading at the moment and what you plan to read next. Happy Wednesday Friends. I hope yours is amazing. ♡♡

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Cowboy to the Core by Maisey Yates

Cowboy to the Core

by Maisey Yates

Published June 18, 2019 by HQN Books

Goodreads Rating: 4.17 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Plot:

Jamie Dodge is confident she knows everything there is to know about cowboys. She grew up surrounded by them, after all. But somehow her new boss, champion saddle bronc rider Gabe Dalton, and his brand of cowboy charm have her interested in all kinds of things she never has been before.

There are a million reasons Gabe should ignore his attraction to Jamie. He needs her horse-training skills on his family’s ranch…and the Dodge brothers would happily hurt him for touching her. Forget kissing her. He’d be a dead man. But Jamie’s tough-talking attitude masks an innocence that tempts him past the breaking point…and soothes the restlessness that’s dogged Gabe his whole life. Has this cowboy finally found a place he wants to call home?

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Review:

Maisey Yates flawlessly creates what we believe to be a stable foundation in the beginning of Cowboy to the Core. This is book six in the Gold Valley series, following Jamie Dodge who is the sister to the Dodge brothers and Gabe Dalton. We see Gabe back when Mckenna entered the picture in book 4 but it was only a small glimpse. Oh boy, am I glad Gabe got his own book.

By six books in, I went in under the assumption that I had things figured out. I thought I knew all the characters and by this point, it’s just time to see the single siblings left, find romances of their own. Well, Ms. Maisey Yates quickly showed me how wrong I was. Cowboy to the Core follows two very complicated people. Gabe and Jamie both all throughout this romance are grappling with their individual identity issues. Gabe has this fear of becoming his father who he has been angry at for years, before we gradually see him recognize how he was totally wrong about which parent he identified with the most and why. While Jamie was the sister raised by a widowed father and her brothers. She loves her life, but now that everyone is getting older and she sees her brothers settling down, her Dad has remarried and moved on..she no longer has to be the tough sister, ‘one of the boys,’ chick she has always been. Jamie for a big part of the book is trying to figure out who she is, how to occupy the space she’s in and who she’s becoming.

“They all knew something that she didn’t.”

Jamie begins working for Gabe helping on his ranch with the animals which is obviously where the two get to spend a lot of time together and get to know one another. Which leads to one night at a local bar when Jamie sees Gabe chatting it up with this ‘buckle bunny,’ and realizes she doesn’t want him chatting it up with this chick! This is where things begin to shift.

Gabe becomes the first for a few things for Jamie. It was a very frustrating ride, but we see Jamie knock the walls down that she had built around herself for so long, as her relationship with Gabe began to change and flourish. Gabe however, hits this point where he armors himself and Jamie calls him out on it:

“Don’t kiss me. Don’t kiss me if you don’t love me. Don’t touch me if you don’t love me.” She was shaking, rage pouring through her like a river. “Because I deserve better than that. Because I had to figure out what everything meant. And then once I did I offered it to you. I changed. And I dug deep. And I found a pieces of myself I didn’t even know were there for you. And you want to stand there and tell me everything I don’t know. Want to tell me what I want, and how you have less growing to do. That’s bullshit, and I’m not here for it.”

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I felt on a whole other level the beauty behind how finding love can help you grow as a woman, and help in the process of figuring out who you are and who you’re becoming. I loved seeing the growth in Jamie.

“In life, the only thing we can control is our own choices.”

So much of this romance is about choices, and I think Maisey Yates did a fantastic job of weaving such a complex story together with this theme at the center of it all. It was so damn beautiful and a true love story.

Gabe, oh Gabe. I have already come to accept the fact that cowboys are my thing. I love a hard working man who doesn’t mind getting a little dirty and is totally okay with spending most of his day outside. Gabe just melted my heart, especially with how alpha male he comes across, yet Jamie is totally able to hold her own around him. And until we get into the weeds and seeds of how much of himself he needs to work on.

I am a total sucker for the guy having to go get his girl, so of course I swooned as high as swoons can go at the end of this book. I adored it. I’m so thankful I received the next book from Harlequin. I need to know whose story is next. There were some new characters kind of/sort of introduced in this one, so I’m antsy to see if their presence is shown in the next one.

I can’t recommend this series enough. If you don’t want to go back and read al the previous books, I think you’ll be fine starting off with Cowboy to the Core, but there may be some confusion on certain back stories, like McKenna and the Dalton brothers.

Thanks for reading yet another Maisey Yates fangirl post.

Until next time, take care of yourselves.

xo.

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August Reading Favorites

My reading momentum in the month of August definitely slowed down. August is this really awkward in between’ish transition month for me. I feel it every year. It’s the last month of summer and being a mood reader, I am in this weird space where I want to binge the last bit of my summer reads but am also *over* the heat and ready to dive head first into my fall reads.

So faithfully every year, it’s like I go super hard in July then August comes around and I’m at this fork in the road..like what do I go with? I did read a few things though that I really enjoyed, so let’s chat about them.

First up is Cowboy to the Core by Maisey Yates.

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Maisey Yates’s writing abilities always stir up all kinds of emotions in me that I don’t expect to see coming. This is book six in her Gold Valley series, which I highly recommend losing yourself in if you’re looking for a new series. At this point, we are seeing two very prominent families start to blend, but in this one we follow Jamie Dodge and Gabe Dalton. Both of these characters are so complex and so complicated. Maisey Yates writes some of the best internal conflict I’ve ever read. It adds so much depth to the romance itself. It was perfection. I could go on and on about Cowboy to the Core, but seriously, just go read it!

Yes, your girl has already started reading my favorites, the holiday romances. Next up is Christmas With the Marine by Candace Havens.

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Christmas With the Marine is Ben and Ainsley’s romance. The two meet in the shopping mall where Ben has been tasked with buying toys on behalf of his unit for the local Toys for Tots drive. While there, he runs into Ainsley who is this rich girl, who has started her own business as a professional shopper..out here trying to make money of her own and get out of the shadow of her rich parents. This romance takes place in Texas which is always fun to read being that I live here. I love seeing the military camaraderie, but we also see the flip side, where Ainsley’s Dad doesn’t think Ben is good enough for his daughter. I thought that a very interesting perspective to add to the story. It definitely presented some conflict. I really enjoyed it. It hooked me right from the beginning, but I won’t say anything further! In December, you’ll be able to see more of my thoughts.

My next two..

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First up is Grading Curves by Naima Simone.

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Naima Simone serves us a wonderfully served, interracial, older woman younger man, professor/student novella and I loved every minute of it. Long story short: lady professor goes to get a tattoo and gets way more than that. Goes to work a few days later and tattoo boo is one of her new students. Simone’s writing is magical and I am so obsessed with her. I need to own everything she’s written.

My last favorite was literally less than 30 pages, but trust me on this: Sierra Simone wrote it, so it’s the right mixture of dark, sexy as hell and twisted.

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The Seduction of Molly O’Flaherty is a historical, is erotic. I loved the hell out of this book. The story kicks off with something really messed up to Molly. We don’t witness the act, but we see how Molly is struggling with it. Enters Silas who Molly has been friends with for a very long time.

“Somehow along the way, somewhere in our decade of friendship, I’d fallen in love with Silas. And I had no way to process that revelation.”

In true Sierra Simone fashion, it feels so wrong, but is so damn right, it’s irresistible. You get hooked. Despite what has happened to Molly, she makes the choice to sit still, and allow Silas to take care of her, to take what’s happened away and make her feel good.  I’ll leave you with this:

“Whose little doll are you?” Silas asked. “Yours,” I whispered, still malarial from my incredible orgasm. “Only yours.” “And who takes care of you?” “You do.” He nudged in a little deeper, so I could feel exactly how much he stretched me. “And what are you going to do right now?” “Not move.” I moaned as he slid in farther. “Let you make me feel good.”

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Let me know your reading favorites from August and until next time, take care of yourselves.

xo.

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friends to lovers. Cowboys. not your typical surprise baby.

Maisey Yates has done it again with the next book up for me in the Gold Valley series. Hello, I’m Bree, and I am totally reading this series out of order if this is your first time here.

Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Gold Valley series #2

Published June 19, 2019

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.95 Stars

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis:

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…

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My Review:

Untamed Cowboy is a slow ride between best friend Kaylee and Bennett Dodge. Kaylee comes with her own emotional baggage after growing up never feeling good enough due to her parents being drunks and Bennett is part of the Dodge family who this series follows. I think the setup of this book was well done. We learn pretty early on that these two have so much history, have always been best friends but especially with Kaylee early on, you put pieces together and see that maybe on both parts there have been feelings trying to break the surface.

I like the way the author threw the wrench of Bennett learning about his surprise son in this story. In my opinion, it helped push the romance between Kaylee and Bennett along, as well as obviously assist in the ‘dark moment,’ but in the end, it was the wrench that helped everything come along in the end. Here these two thought they knew everything about each other and find out unexpectedly that they were mistaken. It showed the strength of their friendship though when they had to be there for one another.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the conflict, but I get it. The conflict mostly comes from Kaylee and her insecurities due to the way she’s grown up and the way she assumed Bennett viewed her and her assumptions about why he wanted her around. I didn’t feel like there was a true concrete issue, it was more of things on Kaylee’s mind and it felt a little overdramatic.

Although the conflict had me feeling like Kaylee was being overdramatic and it wasn’t all that called for, I appreciated that Bennett, through chatting with his Dad, realized his part in causing her to feel the way she did. He then comes up with a plan to right his wrong and amidst him doing that, Kaylee realizes that she does love him and does want to be with him..she does realize this in part to the one scene that made me cry in this book!

I thought the way everything tied up in the end was perfect. This story unfolds so casually and in such a way that you’re holding your breath all the while rooting for the characters. I was happy with the way it ended.

Share with me an example of when the surprise baby trope is actually done right. I enjoyed it in this story.

xo.

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June in Review

We have made it through another month Friends. I can’t believe this is it for June 2019 yet am excited to see what July has in store for me. June was a month of ups and downs per usual and a few things happened that solidified for me that I still have work to do, personally. Even with all of the craziness that was going on, I still made reading a priority and finished 17 books.

Per my usual, I am going to share my thoughts on my favorites from this month, so let’s get into it.

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First up is Rebel by Beverly Jenkins.

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At this point, I don’t think it’s possible for Queen Bev to have a miss. Staying on brand with her norm, Ms. Jenkins effortlessly weaves historical facts into her love story in a way that it works for me. As a woman of color who wants to adore historical romances just as much as the next romance reader, every time I finish a Jenkins novel, I am so proud to say I (finally) have an author who is writing heroines who I can identify with. Val, our heroine in Rebel, which is book 1 in the Women Who Dare series is so brave and is full of so much passionate. She has no ties to where she is, but is so driven to help the recently freed flourish that nothing could persuade her to leave.

A Duke By Default is next!

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I was so excited about starting Portia and Tavish’s romance. I have so many friends who swear by this book. This is the favorite of so many and I can see why. Portia and Tavish are both complicated as hell but I instantly found myself rooting for both of them. Having loved Reggie from Can’t Escape Love, I was happy to have bits and pieces of her in this story being that she’s Portia’s sister. The ending to this book! Oh my goodness, I swooned so hard. If you haven’t started reading this series, please do so now!

Last but not least is Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates. This is book 2 in her Gold Valley series, which is another series I’ve been reading completely out of order.

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Untamed Cowboy is Kaylee and Bennett’s romance. It is very slow burn. Friends to Lovers. Surprise kid, but not what you’d expect. I loved it. I have grown to love the Dodge family so much and each book has it’s own vibe but stays on brand with how close knit the family is. Things between Bennett and Kaylee were intense with both having their own internal conflicts they needed to work through but it was amazing, it all worked. I now only have book 3 to read and then I’ll be all caught up and can move onto the new release, Cowboy to the Core. If you enjoy slow burn, cowboy romance with a strong family element, I can’t recommend this series enough.

I hope you had a wonderful June and read something amazing. Let me know what your reading favorites were this month. Until next time, xo.

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May in Review

May was a blur.

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Reading really came through for me this May. This May was full of crazy hot, long, stressful days and I really tailored my reading to escape. I wanted fun reads. I wanted light romances. I wanted sexy romances and in the end it turned out to be a good reading month.

Overall, I managed to read 11 books in May and will share a few favorites.

I loved The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

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The Unhoneymooners was a fun enemies to lovers romance with a fake marriage plot entangled into the story that I couldn’t put down. I haven’t read this author duo’s entire back list but I’d definitely recommend starting with this one to anyone new to their writing.

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole was a quick read that will stay with me for a long time!

 

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I want to be besties with Reggie (our heroine) from this book. She doesn’t allow her circumstances to define who she is. She is self made. She’s a proud nerd. She blogs. It was so refreshing to see a woman of color as the heroine of her own story, fall in love and she was so damn relatable and so normal.

My third favorite from May was Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates.

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I seriously need to go back and read the prior Gold Valley books but I’m kind of nervous to. I kind of feel like I know enough and need to just keep on reading whatever else comes out next. Unbroken Cowboy was so damn good. This is Dane and Bea’s romance. Dane is a hard headed, stubborn bull rider who was recently hurt and is being looked after by family friend Bea..whose been in love with him secretly for years. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I couldn’t get enough of these two!

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In May, a co-worker of mine left to go to another base. It honestly never gets easier to see people leave but I am so excited for this new journey, new phase of her life. I am trying not to be selfish and dwell on how much it sucks without her around but it can be hard.

The four day weekend for Memorial Day was so very needed and I am so appreciative that it came. Sometimes I think it’s absolutely necessary to have nothing on the agenda to do but spend time lying on the couch doing nothing.

I am excited for June. My son turns 9 years old *can’t believe it* and my Granny turns 80. June 21st will also mark 14 years in the Air Force for me. I still remember the day I left home like it was yesterday. What I wish for myself in June is to practice patience with myself. To give myself a break. To set realistic expectations but also get ahead in areas that I need to. Use time management and get things done. We’ll see..

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Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates

“I don’t know what you’ve done to me,” he said, brushing her hair off her face. “But I’m pretty obsessed with you. Just so you know.”

Ever since reading A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates during my 2018 Holiday Romance Binge, I knew Maisey Yates was an author I needed to add to my list of “I need to read everything she’s written,” list. I’m totally reading her Gold Valley series out of order, definitely need to back track and read the first 3 books in the series, but I’m basically obsessed with what I have read so far.

Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates (Gold Valley #5)

Published April 23, 2019 by HQN Books

Narrated on Audio by Suzanne Elsie Freeman

Average rating on Goodreads: 4.08 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

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Synopsis:

Dane Parker traded in his trailer-park roots for glory as a bull rider. But when a serious injury sidelines him for months, it’s the first time he can’t just pull himself up by his bootstraps. The last thing he wants to deal with is sweet family friend Bea treating him like one of her wounded animals—or the unexpected attraction that suddenly flares between them.

Beatrix Leighton has loved Dane for years, while he’s always seen her as another sister. When she enlists his help to start her animal sanctuary, she thinks it will give him purpose. Instead, it brings all the desire she feels for him to the boiling point. Bea’s father taught her early on that love means loss. But could her forbidden crush turn into a love that will last a lifetime?

 

My Thoughts:

What I loved about Bea and Dane’s romance is how well Maisey Yates captured first love, and how in some ways it never really leaves you..especially in Bea’s case. Dane, her first crush, first love..whichever you choose to call it is in so many ways a constant in her life. Their circle of people are the same so there is no way they wouldn’t be in some way, a part of each others lives.

Both Bea and Dane have Dad issues. Bea especially came from a situation where she felt kind of wrote off and associates love with loss so as the relationship between her and Dane grows she makes a decision to keep it strictly about sex. In her mind, it makes total sense. Dane is this rodeo bull rider guy who is completely experienced with women while Bea has never went there with a man. But I felt that Bea’s infatuation with Dane was written so well. I as the reader could feel how much this man who in her mind never noticed her, meant to her.

“there was something about the way Dane inhabited his skin that made her want to get closer to him.”

 

I can’t express how full my heart was when things started to heat up between these two. I was internally screeching with excitement because Bea felt like a girlfriend of mine who finally got her guy. 

“This was why people needed to have love affairs.”

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I really enjoyed reading Bea as a character and seeing her evolution as the girl with a love of animals living in her cabin in the wood. She is the nice girl whose strength gets underestimated at times. I love that she continued to pursue the things she loves and capitalize on them. Her pursuing her dreams is definitely inspirational.

Dane, in the beginning is this pissed off yet sexy grump because he’s been hurt doing what he loves the most. For both of these characters, they checked off  a ‘character growth’ must have for me. We get to see both of these individuals have to confront their own issues separately before being able to be fully happy together.

This book, just like the previous one, took me be surprise. I saw the cover and it gives me the cozy vibes..but oh how sexy it is!

“He stripped her clothes from her body slowly, so very slowly, taking his time as he kissed the curve of her neck, her shoulder, her collarbone. He avoided the more obvious parts of her, instead of moving straight through the centerline of her body, down to her stomach, stopping just above where she was wet and hungry for him. He kissed her inner thigh, her knee, down. Until she was shaking. Until she felt like every kiss was a gunshot. Piercing her skin and going deep. Adding to that endless pain in her chest. He stood, stripped the rest of his clothes off slowly. Her mouth went dry.”

The sex scenes were descriptive just enough. It gave me what I needed without being overly done and yes, I was excited. Yates wrote Bea and her crush for Dane so well, that when she finally has sex with him I was like,”Yes, finally.” I as the reader could feel how she never expected this, never thought she would find herself in the situation in which she did.

I couldn’t give this book any less than 5 stars for the emotions it stirred in me. It really made me think of the importance of first love and how it can be so important for the emotions it stirs. There was this sweet combination of innocence yet hot and intense when it came to Bea’s feelings for Dane and when you begin to realize his feelings for Bea have grown it’s almost as if you question if they are now stronger than his feelings for her. She tries so hard to remain strong and stick to keeping it strictly physical. It was an ode to love finding it’s way though, and I loved it!

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