Book Blogger Hop #17

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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.


Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished finished the book? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

If it was to the extent that it morally or ethically  clashed with my beliefs, I would discontinue reading the book. In fact, I have done so in the past and I even wrote all about it. In 2014 I read what I thought would be a helpful book, Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous. Essentially, if you’re not a virtuous woman, you’re silly. Whatever definition the author (also a pastor’s wife) considers silly.

Here is a paragraph I wrote to wrap up:

I was also quite annoyed with what I had read, but after thinking about what I’d read, I realized this book isn’t for me. I’m not a woman who needs this book – I’m already there. I know my self worth and don’t need validation. Ever get annoyed with someone trying to tell you how to do something, and you already know? After brooding on this a while, I realized that’s kind of where I was at with what I had read.

My Bullet Journal: How to Get Started

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This is the second in a series of posts about My Bullet Journal Journey. I’ve sequenced the posts so that they chronicle my journey and are step-by-step guides for those of you considering starting your own. 

  • #1 – My Bullet Journal: Taking the Plunge
  • #2 – How to Get Started

I want to give BIG kudos for all my motivation and inspiration and efforts to Nereyda of Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist. She has done fabulous posts and was consistent with using, showing, and talking about her bullet journal.  Nereyda got her coblogger, Nick, into bullet journaling, and then I saw another blogger I adore (Karen @ Kissin Blue Karen) also starting one. I know there have been many bloggers who Nereyda convinced to start a bullet journal, but I am going to be straight up: I was on the Debate Train the entire time. The last two months of 2016 I argued and debated with myself about doing a bullet journal. In the last two years I haven’t been able to keep up with any of my planners, so how was I going to keep up with a bullet journal!?

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In the first post I talked about the supplies I bought, and these were the items I purchased and had from the beginning. I am ordering additional materials for more creative uses of my bujo.

Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer, created the bullet journal. He has his own website, which I didn’t find particularly helpful. But there is a separate blog called The Bulletjournalist that has all the good stuff. I set up my bullet journal following Nereyda’s steps, and after I had done January and February I realized some mistakes I made. If you haven’t ever done a bullet journal before, I strongly point you in the direction of The Bulletjournalist.

TERMS

These are the most common terms that are associated with bullet journals. I work in the yearbook world, so pages, spreads, and mods are integrally familiar to me and I use them all the time when I talk to my yearbook students because that’s the language of yearbook. Bullet journals are strikingly similar to yearbook set up, and pretty much use the same terms. There is a big distinction between pages and spreads, and I know I will use the term “mod” quite a bit, so here are the terms you can expect to see:

page-and-spreadindex – page numbers and corresponding content, usually set up in the front of the text

log – yearly, monthly, weekly, daily logs (i.e. calendars and task lists)

collection – lists, project details, notes, etc. that have a

page – either the left or right side

spread – two pages that face one another in the book

mod – a box of information or content on any page or spread (i.e. weather tracker on a weekly log)

 

STEP ONE: Indexing 

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My journal came with a three-page index in the front already organized. All I had to do was record the page number and the title of page. My journal also came numbered. If you have a journal that is not numbered, you can number it or not. I know some people prefer not to number, that’s a personal choice. Just like when you open a textbook, the index serves to help you navigate your bujo quickly.

In your journal you’ll have your monthly logs with calendars, trackers, and weekly logs, and then other things called collections, like a list of books you want to read, movies you want to see, or projects you’re working on with all the tasks detailed out.

I went chronologically in my journal, which I realized when I started February was a mistake. The Bulletjournalist says not to plan your next month in advance because you don’t know how many pages you’ll need; they say wait until the end of the current month to set up the next month’s logs. I don’t agree.

You should know how many pages you’re using after you’ve done your first month for your calendar, your task list, trackers, and weekly logs. Some even choose to do daily logs. That’s way too much for me, and I’m starting to think weekly logs are, too. After your first month and as you go throughout the year, you might find you want to change how you do your logs, or find something else to make a log for. I still feel it is important to know how many spreads you will need for each month.

Here are the two things I realized I did wrong that correlate to the index: 

  1. 16406444_10154361584992643_9206858909223333852_nI set everything up in my bullet journal as I thought of them. Big mistake. I now have collections in the middle of my monthly logs. The collections I’ll use and reference and update all year long, but I’m not going to go back and work on or look at my monthly and weekly logs all that much except for referencing my habit and sleep trackers. But now my collections, like my Audiobook List, NetGalley Book List, and Series I Want to Start/Finish lists are smack in the middle of January and February because at some point after January started, I realized I wanted to make collection pages for those things. (This is why they are starred on my index.) Since you don’t know what collections you’re going to want to do throughout the year, you don’t know how many pages you’ll need. Instead, what I would have done was set up my Collections in the back of my bujo. I would burn the match at both ends, so to speak, and have all of my monthly logs starting from the front and all of my collections starting from the back. That is why I set up little washi tape tabs on the sides of pages. The glitter tabs are for all of my blog and reading related lists and projects, the stripes are for financial trackers I set up, and the lacy green tab is for movies and recipes.
  2. On my index I labeled everything. Ryder recommends not labeling your weekly or daily logs in the index. I haven’t done the math, but I do not believe their are enough spaces in my index for the number of pages in my book.

STEP TWO: KEY/LEGEND

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After you’ve squared away to index or not to index, the next thing is to set up a legend or a key for how you are going to annotate items in your bujo. This is what makes a bullet journal a bullet journal. Things are set up in three categories: tasks, events, and notes. Ryder’s original bullets and signifiers are very basic. I didn’t like the bullets, so I did boxes, which I find most bloggers have done as well. For all of your spreads throughout your bujo, these icons should notate every entry and distinguish the type of entry from one another.

I decided I needed my tasks set up with a task, a started note, a completed note, a cancelled note and a migrated note.

Then I have my events in open circles, and my appointments in open triangles. (Note: The man and I also use an open triangle to signify his shift change. You’ll see these on Sundays with no additional notation, so that’s what it means.)

And then at the bottom of my list I have my signifiers: birthdays, deadlines, important, inspiration, and financial. I think I might add a little magnifying glass for research, but I might hold off on that just yet.

I did a very simple layout for my legend, but there are all kinds of layout ideas and bullets and signifiers out there. Decide what you want for your tasks and what signifiers you will need for your bujo. Leave space at the bottom for signifiers you might want to come back and add later.

STEP THREE: The Future Log

True bullet journaling recommends creating a Future Log, which is like your annual calendar. It is intended for tasks, projects, and events that you’ve already scheduled in advance (birthdays, appointments, trips, etc.) or you know you want to work on in a specific month (harvest festival planning, purging the closets before school starts, finish the quilt, etc.) The most simplistic way to do this is to use the first two spreads in your bujo. Divide each spread equally into threes and draw two equally-spaced horizontal lines all the way across both pages. You’ll end up with a six-month set-up for the things you already know are happening, and space still for things to come.

I didn’t do this in my bujo. As I’ve said, I largely followed what Nereyda had shared in her posts.

STEP FOUR: The Monthly Logs

I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with this, so I in large part borrowed from Nereyda’s first monthly layout.

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I have a calendar on the left page. This is where you get to use all of your legend icons. In January, you can see my bills due, birthdays, and other important events or tasks.  and a group of mods on the right. You’ll notice I used a box (signifying a task) for almost everything but $ and birthdays. That was a mistake on my part – some of them should have been a circle or triangle. When it has been finished, I filled them in, except for birthdays. Designing the calendar was actually pretty easy, just a matter of knowing I needed a 7×5 table and equal spacing. I want to keep this format, but I found a new way to put the month in.

On the rights side I set up my four mods. I decided I wanted to keep a monthly track of my books. I liked what Nereyda did with setting up the bookshelf, so I did the same. The book shelf mod is the thing that took the longest in my entire bujo to make to date. As you can see, I filled in the books when I finished reading and gave it a title. I decided this wasn’t worth the time and I would never fill up all those book spines until summer, so I discontinued it after January. I might come back to it for the summer and December.

Below the bookshelf mod, I set up my monthly to-do list, goals, and notes (again, which I didn’t use the appropriate legend icons to notate). I was pretty proud of myself that I finished all of my to-do’s and almost all of my goals. I always set such lofty reading goals. Because Type A overachiever, that’s why.

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On the spread following my monthly calendar log, I set up a monthly task list. I break it into four sections across the page. On the far left I have the days of the month, a large column for general tasks or notes, a smaller column for bills, another large column for blog posts, and a skinny column with my goals and to do list repeated as a reminder. I’ve contemplated putting a previous and next month mini calendar in the far right skinny column.

jan-sleep jan-tracker

On the spread following my monthly task list, I set up my monthly sleep tracker and monthly habit tracker. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to track, and I’m still not really sure. I should probably revisit my 2017 do betters list and regroup. You can see when I started my bullet journal by my sleep tracker. I get below minimal sleep during the week, and catch up on the weekends.

For January I tracked only a handful of things, but I’ve seen people track all of their different workouts and all manner of things. I was horrible at taking my vitamins in January. Also horrible at drinking my water. From these two trackers I realized I want to change my sleep tracker to show when I got to bed and get up, not just the number of hours of sleep. I’ll do this in a bar graph set up for March since I’ve already created my February tracker. For habits, I also added a few to the list for February.

 

STEP FIVE: The Weekly Logs

Weekly and daily logs are optional. A daily log stresses me out. HOW do folks have time to break down their day in 15 and 30 minute increments? Just thinking about it stresses me out. I’m only doing monthly and weekly, and I’ve used the same basic layout for all my January weeks. I kept the same layout for my February spreads, but I want to make some changes. I think I might need to use only one page for each week, and just squish two weeks together on a spread. As you can see, I don’t use all the space in my weeklies, and I don’t have enough time to find creativity to fill the rest of the space. This will also cut down on the number of pages I’m using in my journal for each month by two spreads. Right now I’ve only laid out to the first week of March and I already am at pages 58-59.

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jan-week-2_ink_li

 

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STEP SIX: Migrating

migrating_ink_liMigrating content or tasks in your bujo is important. Go back to your Future Log. Migrate any tasks for your new month onto that month’s logs and task list.

You can see in my weekly spreads I migrated my task of writing a review for Mistletoe at Moonglow a bunch of times. And no, I still don’t have it accomplished (as of the time this post was written).  :/  I will keep migrating it until it gets done, but I think I should put a max on how many times I can migrate something. I also left other tasks incomplete (open) because I did not complete them on that day (like reading X% of a book). By now, I’ve accomplished those tasks. My question is do I go back and fill them in because they are now completed? Or leave them as is?

According to Ryder’s website:

“It may seem like a lot of effort to rewrite items over and over, but that’s intentional. This process makes you pause and consider each item. If an entry isn’t worth the effort to rewrite, then it’s probably not that important. Get rid of it. The purpose of Migrating is to distill the things that are truly worth the effort, so we can become aware of our own patterns and habits, and to separate the signal from the noise.”


 Thanks for reading! What monthly and weekly layouts do you like best?

Check back for my next post in the BUJO series about My Collections. 

Blitz + Giveaway: Beautiful Sacrifice

Beautiful Sacrifice
Ember Raine Winters
(Pride and Honor, #2)
Publication date: April 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Tasha
Being a cop, I didn’t have any choice, but I really wish I hadn’t got mixed up in this case. My dark past is catching up to me ever since he barreled into my life without a care. It terrifies me that he sees right through me. He could be the one to save me . . . or break me.

Twitch
It was just a job. Until it wasn’t. By then the sexy little redhead had her claws in me. Now, she’s in my life and I’m lost. How am I supposed to keep the demons from her past from eating her alive? I don’t know, but I will do whatever it takes to make her mine.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

It happened again. I didn’t think a person could dream when they were that drunk. I was wrong. She let out a blood-curdling scream, and I jumped from my spot on the couch and ran into the bedroom. I was looking around wildly for any possible threat, when I noticed Tasha thrashing and whimpering in the bed.

“Tasha? Tasha!” I bellowed.

I walked over to the bed and brushed the hair from her face and watched as she settled. Walking around the bed, I figured I’d stay and make sure another nightmare didn’t come back. I leaned up against the headboard and watched her sleep for a bit. I was drowning.

I couldn’t believe how much this woman had gotten under my skin. I didn’t like it, but as I sat there looking at her sleep, her scarlet locks framing the pillow, I knew I was done for. I would do anything to protect her, even from herself.

Everyone joked and talked crap about how I reacted in times of stress, but I learned that from living in foster care and on the streets. I became that way after having to not only watch my back, but also watch Kelly’s as well. It did me a great deal of good in the military. I just wished I knew what to do to help Tasha.

“GO, go, go!” I screamed at Kelly as we ran down an alley.

We had a really big ugly dude on our tail. I was pretty sure he was after Kelly. She was a cute little thing, and we had our fair share of big guys trying to take advantage of her.

We ran down the alley and came to a busy street. There were people everywhere so we slowed our pace.

“Do you think we lost him?” she asked with a tremor in her voice.

I wrapped an arm around her and continued down the street. I could tell she was scared. I hated that she came with me. She actually had a decent family this time. Mine had sucked and the guy had tried to hurt me several times.

When I told Kelly what was happening, she insisted that we take off again—she was a persistent little thing. Finally I agreed after the guy punched me in the face, blackening my eye.

“I don’t know, Tink,” I sighed and hugged her closer.

A moment later she was ripped from my arm and I turned around to see Big Ugly with his meaty paw wrapped around her biceps. She squealed in pain and was thrashing against him. I saw red.

“Let her go!” I raged and stepped forward.

He laughed then. The sound grated on my already fried nerves. I was looking around. It wasn’t good to cause a scene in the middle of a busy street. If someone called the cops, we would be going back to foster care.

It didn’t matter that the guy was roughly pulling Kelly down a sidestreet, struggling all the while. I walked up behind him and punched him in the back of the head as hard as I could.

“What the fuck?” he yelled and swung around with a right cross, but I ducked under his arm and plowed into his middle. He got me from behind, and each blow he delivered to my back felt like I was getting hit by a truck, but I refused to let go. Once he had me on the ground, he flipped me over and straddled my waist as he rained blow after blow on my head and chest. I vaguely heard Kelly’s panicked screams. I was covering my face in an attempt to ward off his punches when everything went black.

My eyes shot open as I looked around wildly. I didn’t recognize anything in the room I was sleeping in. After a few minutes, I relaxed when I noticed Tasha asleep in the bed next to me.

I hadn’t even realized that I had fallen asleep sitting up, until Tasha rolled over and moaned.

“Twitch? What are you doing here?” She yawned.

“Sorry, you had a nightmare. I came in to try to calm you. I must have fallen asleep.” I put my legs over the bed and stood up.

“It’s okay, just stop screaming at me,” she groaned.

I chuckled and then I went to the bathroom. Grabbing a bottle of water and aspirin, I walked back to the bed and handed them to her.

“Thanks.” She popped the aspirin in her mouth and downed the bottle of water. “I don’t really remember much of last night. I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable,” she said shyly.

“No worries. I have dealt with many drunk people before. You were fine,” I laughed.

“Ugh,” she groaned. “I let her get to me.”

“I figured that. You okay?” I asked, making sure to lower my voice.

“Yup, I’m here to do a job. That’s all!” She was getting fired up. “I’m not going to let her and her selfish need for my forgiveness get to me.”

“Okay, well, you feeling good enough to get this show on the road then?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” she said sitting up, stopping for a second as if noticing something for the first time and looked at me accusingly.

“Did you undress me?”

“Nope, that was all you,” I chuckled. “Carried you to the bed after you passed out on the sofa, but you woke up and started stripping. I hightailed it out of here as soon as I realized what was happening. I only came back in when I heard your nightmare.”

She looked around, seemingly for the first time, and saw her clothes and shoes sprawled across the floor and shook her head.

“This is why I never drink whiskey,” she sighed dramatically.

“You drank whiskey?” I asked flabbergasted.

“Yeah, and a lot of it.” she replied. “Can you leave so I can get dressed, please?”

“Sure thing.”

 

Author Bio:

Ember Raine Winters is a new author who just self published her first book. She went to community college to study political science and philosophy. She is currently taking classes to get her BS in business majoring in Sports management. She is an avid reader mostly fantasy and science fiction with a little romance thrown in as well. She loves writing Science Fiction mainly dystopian but is trying her hand in Fantasy as well.

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Blitz + Giveaway: Serenade

Serenade
Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.

Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

This was it, now or never.

I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.

I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…

I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…

Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.

“Stop fighting,” he said.

His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.

“Stop… please,” he begged.

His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.

“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.

We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.

“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.

He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”

He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.

“I promise,” I said.

 

Author Bio:

Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.

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Tuesday Teaser & Intro: My One True Highlander

first-chapter-first-paragraph

I have already started – and nearly finished! – five books this month, but I also said I wanted to finish my first batch of NetGalley books by the end of April. I’ll be starting this book later this week…but I still have two more to go. I don’t think I’m going to get the entire batch read, but I am working on whittling my NetGalley list down!

29875862Synopsis ~ My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go…

Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms…forever…

 

Prologue

“Oh,” Lady Marjorie Forrester muttered, taking a hasty step backward to avoid Lord Belcast and his wildly unpredictable walking cane. “Well, a good day to you anyway, my lord.”

Pulling her shawl more closely around her shoulders against the October chill, she even gave a polite half curtsy at his swiftly retreating backside for good measure before she continued up Bond Street. One never knew who might be observing, after all. The Season had ended weeks ago, and only those lords and ladies with the most urgent business chose London over the countryside and hunting, but Mayfair was never empty. And so she kept her eyes level, her chin high, and her expression a pleasant half smile. Ladies didn’t show perturbation. Everyone knew that.

Chapter 1

Graeme, Viscount Maxton, stripped off his heavy work gloves as he strode up the hill toward the house. “Calm yerself, Connell,” he urged, “before ye split the seat of yer trousers.”

His youngest brother continued circling and leaping about like a pine marten after a mouse. “But it’s the Maxwell!” the eight-year-old exclaimed, grabbing one of Graeme’s hands to pull him along. “Ye said after last year he’d nae darken our doorway again, but there he is, himself! The Duke of Dunncraigh! And two grand coaches!”

 


Teaser

The innkeeper, apparently also aware of the reputation of his countrymen and of the impact a kidnapping would have on the popularity of his establishment among English travelers, escorted her to every room in the inn, and opened every door himself. [Loc617]

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 is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon. Link up HERE.

 

Blitz + Giveaway: The Gentleman’s Promise

The Gentleman’s Promise
Frances Fowlkes
(Daughters of Amhurst, #3)
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

A social pariah due to her scandalous activities, Lady Sarah Beauchamp yearns for redemption to obtain a husband. The assistance of Society darling Mr. Jonathon Annesley gives her hope of success. However, the more effort he puts into helping her, the more she realizes the only esteem she wishes to earn is that of the handsome Jonathon. However, her reputation would potentially ruin his political aspirations.

Offering a gentleman’s promise to help his sister’s friend regain the favor of the ton should be easy for son of a viscount, Jonathon Annesley. After all, he’s well liked and considered a rising star in Parliament. Until he learns Sarah’s ultimate goal is a husband. No man is good enough and could ever appreciate her for all she is. But she is not for him—his focus rests solely on gaining reforms for society’s weakest members. Yet, a promise made cannot be broken…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

After viewing her all-time favorite love story, “Anne of Green Gables”, at the impressionable age of ten, Frances Fowlkes has been obsessed with affable boy-next door heroes, red-heads, and romance stories with lots of “highfaluting mumbo jumbo” written within their pages. It only seems natural then that she married the boy who used to pull on her curls in her high school English class, had not one, but THREE red-headed boys, and penned multiple love stories with bits of flowery prose.

When not writing, Frances loves spending time with her family, fangirling, and planning her next vacation.

Frances Fowlkes, originally a northern mid-westerner, now lives in the southeast with her ardent hero of a husband, three playful and rambunctious boys, and one spoiled standard poodle.

A self-professed Anglophile and summa cum laude graduate of LeTourneau University, Frances Fowlkes combines her passion for happily-ever-afters with her interests in both American and English histories.

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Review: King of the Friend Zone

ABOUT THE BOOK

31752357Title: King of the Friend Zone
Author: Sheralyn Pratt
Publisher: Wicked Sassy
Release Date: August 2016
Length: 351 pages
Series?: Power of the Matchmaker #9
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed.

Esme thinks Jon is paranoid.

The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him.

When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance.

They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other.

Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

my review

The Skinny

Hunter and Esme have grown up their whole lives with one another. Their mothers were best friends, so naturally they became best friends. Esme keeps up with all of the calls for service Hunter is dispatched to, competes with him for steps on her FitBit, and constantly keeps up by texts. They are integral parts of each other’s lives, which they quickly learn the hard way after being ripped apart by jealousy – Esme’s jealous fiancé, that is. Jon is a straight up douche that goes for the jugular and single-handedly cuts all communication between the lifelong best friends and manipulates Esme into making decisions she later regrets.

While Esme is figuring it out with Jon, Hunter is busy working with a street kid named Kenny. Shauna, his social worker, has brought several kids Hunter’s way before…usually the end of the line.

The Players

Hunter – a hot fireman

Esme – a crisis manager

Daryl – Hunter’s fireman coworker

Grace – Esme’s friend; she helped Grace out in a bad situation before

Luke – Hunter’s best friend; he flips houses

Kenny – a kid in the system; assigned to work with Hunter at his boxing gym

Shauna – Kenny’s social worker; in an abusive relationship

The Quote

He kept going, ignoring his phone when it buzzed yet again. But Andy didn’t. “Someone named, uh, NOT TODAY SATAN is blowing up your phone, Hunter.”

“Leave it,” Hunter said, still going strong.

“Another psycho?” Andy guessed, clearly trying to distract him.

“Basically,” Hunter said, earning an arched look from Daryl in his peripheral vision.

The Highs and Lows

  • Real. What I loved most about this story was so real. Hunter’s reactions and inner dialogue were so on point. He thought – and sometimes said – what everyone else was thinking. Sometimes it wasn’t the best time or place, but he was honest with himself. And with others, even when they were in denial. *cough* Esme *cough*
  • Jon the Jackass. Seriously, the guy had a major problem. He was the best worst guy ever. Right from the start he immediately hones in on Hunter and creates problems. He is very manipulative and selfish. I was hoping Esme would catch on, but the girl was blind. I thought he was going to slip up in front of other people, but he was always able to keep his cool. A master manipulator, knowing when to turn it on and turn it off.
  • Esme’s Stalking. Seriously, NOT TODAY SATAN. Esme asked for certain things from Hunter – demanded them – and then went against everything she asked him for. I could not wrap my brain around that, even as a woman. I tried feeling some sympathy for her, but I couldn’t. She was a character I didn’t really like. She abandoned all of her character and integrity and beliefs.
  • Shauna’s Story. While Shauna knows Hunter on a professional level due to her work, he and his firemen friend Daryl do their best to help her out in a sticky situation. She works with Kenny, a young rough and tough kid who doesn’t believe in Hunter’s methods. The change in Kenny is profound, and he and Hunter (and Esme) play an intregal part in Shauna’s story.
  • The Fun. I love how fun Hunter is. He is such a jokester. The conversation he has with Daryl and his girlfriend about if they were a TV show was quite humorous. As was the engagement party.
  • The Cookie. Miss Pearl’s cookie cart in the park was genius. No two cookies every taste the same, and she has incredible wisdom she imparts to Hunter and Esme.

The Take-Away

This was a fun read! I really like reading from Hunter’s perspective. Esme rubbed me after a while, but she still had a story to offer.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheralyn was born at an early age, with 10 fingers and 10 toes. She is proud to report that she currently retains all 20 digits. Described by one reviewer as “the bomb dot com” (url already claimed… bummer), Sheralyn has been a karate instructor, musical theater performer, a beach bum, freelance writer, nomadic traveler, and, yes, a private investigator. At the moment she enjoys working with and training her dog to give the poor thing breaks from sitting and Sheralyn’s feet with the unbearable task of watching someone write a book.

Sheralyn currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, although as people who know her can attest to, that is subject to change at any time 😉

Find the author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads