My Favorite…Thing to Do First Thing in the Morning

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Thing to Do First Thing in the Morning

That should say it all. Honestly, mornings are not my thing. Never have been. I snooze and snooze and snooze until I am careening into work at the last minute. I throw on clothes, do my bathroom stuff, let Baby out, and typically run out the door. However, I am trying to establish solid routines and figure out how long it all takes to get me going in the mornings, including getting back to my morning shakes and taking ALL my supplements and pills that I’m supposed to.

Otherwise, I like cuddling Baby. Always.

Advertisements

Tuesday Teaser & Intro: Unmasking Juliet

first-chapter-first-paragraph

Synopsis ~ Unmasking Juliet

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family’s chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty.

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him alr

Chapter 1

Thus with a kiss, she lived…

Midway through the Tenth Annual Mezzanotte Masquerade Ball, Juliet Arabella had the irrepressible urge to flee. The more she thought about what had transpired during the limo ride to the party, the more difficult it became to breathe. What was she even doing here? She didn’t belong in this room, with these people.


Teasers

As soon as the lips of the mysterious young woman touched his, he knew that she acted impulsively, contrary to his habits. He should have strayed away, take his hand off his tie and, as a perfect gentleman, spread his excuses. Of course, she liked him terribly, she attracted him as the most beautiful of flowers; but behaving like that, really… He could not. His body acted independently of his reason. How to resist this passionate kiss, lavished by a beautiful stranger, in the moonlight, in the midst of fragrant vines? It was so crazy… and so good!


Would you keep reading? 

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too. Link up HERE.

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros was created by Bibliophile By The Sea and is now hosted by Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

Review: Unmasking Juliet

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Unmasking Juliet
Author: Teri Wilson
Publisher: Green Darner Press
Release Date: May 2014
Length: 368 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Retelling, Contemporary

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family’s chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty.

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet’s fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet’s not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she’s ever tasted…

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

My Thoughts 

This is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet set in a feuding chocolatier’s world. A decades-old disagreement and theft has put a rift between the Arabella and Mezzanotte families that has been fanned into flames just as much as the forbidden love between dutiful Juliet Arabella and newly returned Leo Mezzanotte.

There is a growing passion between the two that is sweet, endearing, tear-jerking, feisty. And forbidden.

The book is filled with personality! All of which were realistic but also binge-worthy. That awful behavior you just can’t stop watching – all because of the betrayal and hatred springing from the feud. Juliet Arabella is a dutiful daughter to her family and the family business, The Chocolate Boutique. The isolation is beginning to outweigh the love she has for her job. She is also manipulated by a controlling mother, to whom everyone in the family defers to and does her bidding, no matter how ludicrous. Her father and brother also add to the pressure like a couple of mob bosses. All of the conflict and hatred begins to boil over for Juliet’s saucepan. She wants to take a stand for herself and what she wants, but it is a hard task with her busybody, no-nonsense family.

Leo Mezzanotte is a very manly guy who has just come off of a plane from Paris and a broken engagement. Despite his mindset to reject any type of commitment – almost including to his family’s chocolate business  after the duplicity and deceitful means in which they tricked him there by – he is a man full of love, kindness, and compassion in addition to his masterful chocolate skills.

Leo seemed to struggle more with internal conflicts than Juliet did. From the beginning, he was a take-stand character. Whereas that is what Juliet said she wanted, but her actions didn’t really show it at all. The only real stand she took was at the very end of the book in Rome in the final pages.

The supporting cast of characters added depth, humor, and disbelief to this family-feuding story. There is Alegra, Juliet’s cousin taken in by her family who is like a sister, and a little more sympathetic to Juliet’s feelings. George Alcott III, the conceited gold digger heir to Royal Gourmet Distributors. Joe Mezzanotte, Leo’s almost-to-the-point-of-evil uncle. Gina, Leo’s mob wife-like sister and her husband Marco, who is just as much embroiled in the family feud he married into. All of these characters add to the mystifying family feud with their energy, passion and hatred.

The family rivalry was believable and engrossing. Juliet receives her grandmother’s recipe book, which also contained personal journal entries that detailed from her perspective how the feud began all those years ago with her best friend, the Mezzanotte grandmother. Leo does not believe in the feud. His attitude is “So what? It has nothing to do with us. We have no reason to hate each other.” Juliet shows him the recipe book and the entries. The final few entries take root in Leo’s heart. He does his best to make a concession and extend an olive branch to Juliet that she does not discover until the last few chapters of the book. It was incredibly sweet and a little tear-jerking, just like the ending.

Wilson is a master of the craft of detail. Some of the descriptions were so vivid and striking, especially those from the very beginning when Juliet and Leo meet in the sunflower garden at the masquerade ball. Such beauty! I almost want to buy a print copy of the book just to mark up those passages and keep around for the simple beauty of the carefully crafted writing.

This was my first book by Wilson, but it seems she has found her niche in carefully retelling classics in our contemporary world with her own flair and mark. I can’t wait to see which story she will re-spin next.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Teri Wilson writes romance and women’s fiction for Harlequin and Gallery Books. Her novels UNLEASHING MR. DARCY and THE ART OF US are both now Hallmark Channel Original Movies, and her third Hallmark film, MARRYING MR. DARCY, is set to premiere on June 2.

Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses and good books.

Find the author: GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Sunday Post ~ Adios, Cozumel!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a weekly news post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase the books and other goodies you’ve received, and share news about upcoming events on your blog. Be creative and personalize it! To get in on the Sunday fun day, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


Hi guys! My cruise to Cozumel was nice. In hindsight, I wish we had actually gone on an excursion when in Cozumel instead of going to one of the resorts. Lesson learned. I did not get seasick, but my brother did. I loved our dinner service. We had fantastic waiters – Omar, Ronaldo, and Adita. Wonderful men. I am disappointed my legs are still white as can be. I got some sun in my face and a little burn on my shoulders. I also got a henna tattoo! I think my mom felt bad that I was the only one who wanted one, so she got Snoopy on her arm. My friend ruined her phone in the ocean and it was a little downhill from there. I will share pictures in a post this week so this isn’t a bazillion scrolls long. 🙂

Baby is mad at me because I took her away from the party house. She stayed with my work partner K and her daughter Little K. Little K built a fort that they slept in every night, played the piano for the dogs, read books to them, played all the pretend games (doctor, teacher, etc.), played dog music for them, the whole nine yards. So Baby is depressed that our life is boring and misses being at their house. See what K suggested over there?? –>

I was really proud that when I got home I immediately unpacked and put everything away. Tuesday we tried setting my mom up with a smartphone through my energy guy so it would only be $35 each month. They only take Sprint phones. I don’t know what we’ll do with my brother’s iPhone 8+ then. We had to order her a phone.

My brother in Africa is becoming a bit annoying. The day we went to the coast for the cruise, he sent a message “Have Mom go buy and send me a Playstation before you go on the cruise.” UH. Hella no, boy. He was so impatient that he bugged someone over there that he “sent a thousand messages” to us and they let him buy theirs. Lordt. Apparently baby wipes in Africa also suck. You need good ol’ American ones.

Also this week I received some heartbreaking news. One of my dear friends and former coworkers’ husband had a horrible motorcycle accident in Canada while visiting some ailing friends. He is in the hospital in a coma with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since they are in Canada, insurance will not kick in for the expenses. When my mom and I took our phones off airplane mode on Monday morning when we got back to Texas, we both had messages that a family friend had passed. He and his son were coming home from work and were hit by a driver turning against the light. Dale was pinned in. He and Jay were talking, and all of a sudden Dale looked over at Jay and smiled before his last breath. Y’all, that kills me. The wife worked with my mom years ago at Sonic, the daughter was in my class, Jay in my brother’s (one in Africa) class, and the youngest just graduated with my youngest brother. I just say them May 25th. Wednesday I found out one of my favorite professors from college whom I spent quite a bit of time with has breast cancer, again. I love all these people dearly and my heart is so broken. Please keep the Shartzer, Ford, and Davis families in your thoughts and prayers. If you can donate a little anything, even kind words, to their GoFundMe accounts, it will be greatly appreciated.

The Ford Family

The Shartzer Family

Wednesday afternoon my landlord tried hooking up my water line to the fridge, and it ended in a disasterous leak under the kitchen sink that had me emptying a bucket every 3 hours or it would flood the kitchen. After that, the shower would not drain while in use, and there was water bubbling in the bathroom sink when you’d flush the toilet. The leak finally got fixed Friday afternoon, and the plumbers were set to come back on Monday afternoon for the bathroom, even though it was sewer water coming up. Friday night my brother went to the bathroom bout 10:30 before he and my mom were about to go home. All of a sudden he yelled for me and I heard a whooshing sound. The bathroom literally exploded through every aquatic orifice with raw sewage. The bathroom was entirely flooded, as well as the tub. It was so awful and the smell permeated the house within minutes. Despite turning the water off, about 10 minutes later there was more. We cleaned it up and I packed a bag and went off to a hotel two towns away where I knew I could bring Baby. Plumbers came yesterday and removed the toilet and fixed all the issues (allegedly). I am terrified I’m going to start a load of laundry and it’s going to explode again. I haven’t been back home yet today, but I don’t look forward to cleaning the bathroom and putting everything back to rights. Baby and I did really enjoy our two nights in the hotel, though.

I started reading Cactus Rose right before I left for the cruise. I didn’t get too far into it and I thought I would have plenty of time at bedtime to read. Pffft. I never even opened it up. I am definitely intrigued by the first few chapters. Stuff about to go down!! I spent several hours last night in the beautifully long hotel tub reading a large chunk and I am more and more intrigued.

Last two weeks.


  • Monday
    • Review ~ Unmasking Juliet
  • Tuesday
    • Teaser Tuesday ~ Unmasking Juliet
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday ~ 7.18.18
    • My Favorite ~ Thing to Do First Thing in the Morning
  • Thursday
    • Famous Last Words #41 ~ Unmasking Juliet
  • Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ Proudest Blogging Achievement

@sissybearla

#summer2018 #cruise #july #4thofjuly

A post shared by Charlie Girl (@sissybearla) on

I saw some of these first on a Tshirt ad on Instagram, and then I saw these on Facebook. Too funny! Do you have any more?

Book Blogger Hop ~ Cluttered Blogs

book-blogger-hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


Does a cluttered blog have you not returning? By cluttered I mean too many columns, small type, too many photos, difficult to follow, etc.  (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

Oh my lanta! YES! If it looks like your blog is a Myspace account, I won’t comment and I won’t be back. If all the colors are neon vomit, I can’t read it and won’t be back. If the type is teeny, I can’t read it and click out immediately. If the primary blog column – the one for the actual posts – is the same size as the left and right bars, I won’t be back. That’s ridiculous. If your sidebars are full of shit – usually useless shit – I won’t be back.

I’m sorry, but all of these things make your blog…

  1. look unreliable
  2. look like a spam site

Neither of those are good things. I’m not going to deal with website/blog vomit. There are so many more worthy blogs to read and respond.

Also, as an after thought, all of these neon vomit blogs I have visited in the past…they never comment back.

Cruise Photos

We left for Galveston on the 4th of July. It was a long drive through torrential downpours almost the entire way. We were a little cramped in my car, but it was alright. The hotel was OK. I expected a little bit more, but we didn’t splurge. I was surprised we got such a great deal at the last minute. We did venture out to see fireworks. I love fireworks. We missed most of it. Only saw about 10 or so minutes.

We were up and getting on the boat by 11:00 the next morning. I was nervous that it was going to be crazy and confusing getting parked and on, but the Port of Galveston has their shit together. I dropped all my people and our crap, drove alongside the boat to the lot, and got shuttled back. We went in and zoomed through all the beginning stuff and then waited to board.

My mom and youngest brother and friend went, but we were part of a larger group of my mom’s classmates and other 80s alumni from our high school. Most were couples, a few parents and their children, a couple people brought a friend like I did. One of my classmates came with her family and brought her husband. It was really nice to see and chat with her. I did not get seasick, but my brother did a little bit.

36690342_10155665377957643_8823294029346111488_n

I loved all of the options on board – both food and activities. We went to a movies music trivia (apparently I suck, BTW), Harry Potter trivia (also suck at), and a facial pampering party. There were more things, but we kinda came back to take naps, and well, just slept. I really wanted to go to the towel folding and the married couple game show. Apparently that is funny as hell and you have to see it if you’re ever on a cruise and they do one.

Dinner each night was nice. As my brother said, you get treated like a king. Our waiters Omar, Rolando, and Adita were SUPER fabulous. LOVED them! Rolando was very personable and quite a hoot. I didn’t try anything adventurous, but I did enjoy the desserts!

We spent about half the day in Cozumel after actually getting through debarkation. We were about 10 or so people away from making it to the stairs down to the crew deck to debark when this crew member was like “There is a shorter line this way.” We went backwards and rounded by the elevators and the line was already down that whole corridor parallel to the one we just walked down and wrapped around to the interior of the ship. We turned around and went back. And she came back and tried to get us to go over there again. Pffft. Lady needs some eyeglasses and a ruler.

We walked through the pier shops and to the taxis and went straight to one of the resorts that was reported to us to be very good. (Not really, y’all.) In hindsight, I wish we had actually gone on an excursion when in Cozumel. Several people from our group went to do the swimming with the dolphins. Lesson learned for next time. I am disappointed my legs are still white as can be. I got some sun in my face and a little burn on my shoulders while at the resort beach. I also got a henna tattoo! I think my mom felt bad that I was the only one who wanted one, so she got Snoopy on her arm. My friend ruined her phone in the ocean and that was a big downer. On the way back to the boat, we visited select shops to pick up free items. Most were charms for bracelets. And my mom and I also bought birthstone rings! My mom got this beautiful opal cracked ring for only $45! While we were in a shop picking up one of the free charms, I saw a ring that caught my eye. I got the guy down to $125 on the first “ehhhh”. I could have gotten him lower (y’all, they are willing to bargain!), but we wanted to get out and get all our stuff and get back on the ship.

36946930_10155676376307643_2605803963252998144_o

Getting off the ship was the worst of it. It was a little ridiculous and of course I came up with a better protocol and operation. We had to vacate our staterooms at 8:30, but could not get off until after 9:30. We had to lug all our luggage around while everyone else on the entire ship was doing the same thing. So we leave our rooms at 8:30, wait forever to get up to the 9th deck (we were on 2), park our stuff and I go to get in line for breakfast. They were shutting it down! As I was trying to go through the line, they were pulling everything off! Jackasses. So I ended up with six pancakes thinking I needed to share with everybody because they were still at the table. Turns out they all went separate ways and got something, but I thought that was hella rude. Especially since it said breakfast would be served until 10:30.

We again drove home in torrential downpours. I was quite peeved with my friend because she was sullen and snappy the entire day getting off the ship and coming home. While in the many lines and checkpoints getting off, she kept purposely falling way behind. We were about 40 miles away from my dad’s work on the way home and I asked my mom if she wanted to stop and see him. He did not go because he is terrified of water. My friend snapped “I’d like to get home as soon as I can.” I get that she was phoneless, but she already had said she wouldn’t be able to do anything until her mom got off work that evening, so what did it matter if we stopped for 10 minutes? I wasn’t real happy on the way home. :/


I will be doing another post about things I learned on my first cruise because I feel like I become quite wise while in the midst of some of these things. And some of them are funny.

The day after getting back, the spearhead of this whole cruise posted about an Alaskan cruise in 2020. You know where I’ll be! 🙂

My Favorite…Summertime Memory

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Summertime Memory

One of my favorite summertime memories from growing up was eating nice, cold watermelons on the front porch of my great-grandparents’ house (now my parents’) with my huge ass family. We would cut them long wise and every four or so people would share the half. We would salt them (and sometimes re-salt them) and spoon out the melon. There were seed spitting contests galore, including on each other. We would eat all the way down to the rind and then go throw them over the fence for the cows. Juice got everywhere! Running down your face and legs. You could not wear white, that’s for sure.