Season’s Greetings!


New number. Who dis?
 

Right? LOL. 

I have had *the* most stressful semester of my life. I was supposed to return from my hiatus this fall. I came back for a few weeks, and then fell off the face of the planet. Since you last really heard from me…

  • My district implemented an actual curriculum for advanced classes
  • We still did not have books until mid-October.
  • Our copies were limited to 10,000. 
  • Then they were “Indian given” down to 2,000. FOR THE YEAR, not semester. 
  • One of the math teachers totally went MIA. The kids think she died. 
  • Then the district decided the scope and sequence for on-level classes was going to move from TRS to the new curriculum…which ruins all of the district tests that have been painstakingly written. 
  • My partner and I were bullied into this huge project that we were lied to about.
  • We have been working on a semester-long set of lessons for the state of Texas. We will be filmed December 19th. (At this point, IDGAF anymore.)
  • I drove to Missouri to see my baby brother graduate basic. And raced time trying to catch up to military buses before they reached Texas. (My mom said for 2 hours it wouldn’t happen. It did, people.) 
  • My oldest brother contracted a potentially fatal infection in Africa. He has since been returned to the states, but treatment is highly questionable. 
  • My oldest and youngest brothers are both stationed on the same base within a 2-hour drive.
  • My almost SIL had a tonic-clonic seizure at my house. Exactly one week before…
  • My middle brother got married. #drama
  • I have done a lot of work on the cottage. More is still to come. 
  • I have officially been diagnosed with diabetes and on meds. 
  • I am also back in the pre-cancerous watch zone I was for 6 of the past 8 years. 
  • I have been stressing about getting this yearbook finished by the January deadline. No support to do what we need. We still don’t even have our student portraits. Ridiculousness. 
  • My mother’s job at a small school district fired her for going to my great-uncle’s funeral. They still have not sent her final check…three months later. #lawsuitmuch
  • I stopped reading. Entirely. Haven’t touched my Kindle since August. Just thinking about that gives me major anxiety. 
  • I feel way too micro-managed as a teacher. 
  • My principal used me as a guinea pig without telling me for his Harvard cohort. 
  • My observation this year was stellar. My AP told me I needed to be proud of myself. 
  • I found out my crazy call-the-cops-on-the-cop ex tried switching shifts to avoid being put on the spot and called out by certain individuals he has to work with…and the sergeant denied it with a huge hell no. KARMA. I felt so validated when I received that message. 
  • I have a foster fail dog turned MINE! We made it legit official on December 5th, microchip and all. He loves Baby and she loves him when she’s not being all Eeyore. His name is debatable. Call him any Mexican food you want…also answers to Chico and Little Puppy. 
  • My hair is finally growing out. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get the extensions in December. Nearly a year after the first appointment! 

I’m Back…I Think?

I’m not jumping back in as fast-paced and full-speed as I was before. I think I’m going to take a page out of a few friends’ books and just post whenever. No set schedule. No making it any “work” like thing.  

But I do want to be back. I don’t think I can handle looking at my blog email…like, ever. So cutting that out might be a good thing for me to stay back and not stress.  Not gonna lie, some days I feel like taking 2 anxiety pills in the morning before I leave. 

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Review: To the Duke, With Love

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: To the Duke, With Love
Author: Amelia Grey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: December 2017
Length: 352 pages
Series?: The Rakes of St. James #2
Genre: Historical, Romance

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating―and unexpectedly intoxicating―obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother―a gentle, good-natured soul―should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

My Thoughts 

This is the second book in the Rakes of St. James series. I read the first book and enjoyed it quite a bit, so I was expecting so much from this next book. It fell flat for me. The obvious insta-lust was so strong, it didn’t even read right in this historical romance setting. I did not get the feeling that the primary couple actually fell in love with one another. “I want you” is not the same as “I love you.” Additionally, there was a great imbalance of financials, which rubs me the wrong way with that type of power play.

Sloane Knox, Duke of Hawksthorn, is one of the three Rakes of St. James who played a prank on a dozen debutantes a decade ago. Following last year’s season and a possible threat to the younger sister of one of the other Rakes of St. James, Sloane wants to bar any such threat happening to his younger sister, Adele, as she makes her debut. Arranging a secret engagement before the start of the season will ensure that Adele comes out successful with a suitor and free of any retribution. In efforts to arrange what Hawk believes is the perfect match, he travels to Mammoth House, set far in the countryside, remote and isolated. Eager to make arrangements with Paxton Quick, a handsome and kind man, Hawk is harshly surprised to find not Paxton, but his sister Loretta at Mammoth House. A confusing confrontation ensues, with lines drawn in the sand and Loretta firmly making her stance that she will do everything in her power to keep her brother from this marriage.

Despite being a drastic act, Loretta was once set up in an arranged marriage herself. It was a business transaction more than a love match. In fact, she didn’t feel anything for the man…and left him at the altar. Following her uncle’s severe embarrassment and ensuing rage, Loretta has been banished to live at the remote Mammoth House, not even allowed to visit the village. She is required to remain at Mammoth House and not allowed to leave and sees her uncle but once a year at Christmastime. Having suffered the repercussions, Loretta only wants her brother to marry for love.

Going against all etiquette, Hawk dines alone with Loretta that night as a massive storm blows in. Midway through, a young urchin is found at the backdoor. Hawk follows him into the storm and brings him back, while Loretta and the other staff nurse him back from the brink of death. Once he revives a little, he is feisty and foul-mouthed.

Hawk is bent on ensuring the match between Adele and Paxton, inviting them to London for a meeting. Going to the lengths to visit the Earl of Switchingham and fatten him up to the idea, Hawk also persuades him to allow Loretta to make the journey. Considering the earl will not be out one penny for any of the travel and it will only be acceptable for both siblings to make the journey, the earl agrees. Getting the responsibility of his nephew off his shoulders will be a welcome change.

Embarking to London, Loretta makes the last-minute decision to bring Farley with them. He needs to be seen by a doctor, but Hawk is cold to the idea and cold to Farley. He sees him as a street rat who will pilfer anything. The two males almost have a burning hatred in their eyes for one another. The boy is quick witted for sure and brings comedic relief and drama to the unfolding story.

The insta-lust is palpable even from the immediate start of the book, and continues on throughout the book. There are a few close calls where they are almost caught, and Hawk makes some pre-arranged tasks for others so that he and Loretta can be alone. Ironically, Adele and Paxton hit it off extremely well and their match seems inevitable.

There were a couple of inaccuracies (dollars in England?) that showed the lesser planning for this second installment. I was looking forward to this second book in the Rakes of St. James series and the insta-love and some of the awkward wording dropped the book significantly from the momentum established with the first book. I’m not sure what to expect with the next in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida Panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over twenty-five years. She has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire and now lives in Florida.

Amelia has won the coveted Romantic Times award for Love and Laughter, the prestigious Maggie award for best historical and Affaire de Coeur’s best American historical award. She has been a finalist for the Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion awards which are given by Romance Writers of America and numerous other awards. Her books have been sold to many countries in Europe, Russia and China.

Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads