The Simple Wild (Wild #1) – K.A. Tucker

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Published August 7, 2018

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.


Just putting this out there. One of my favorite reads of 2019. This was such an emotional and great read for me, I don’t think anything can really live up to it this year.

This book is about Calla who is 26 and has lived in Toronto since she’s been a little girl. Her mother left Alaska with her when she was a toddler because she couldn’t handle the wild, like her father did, a man who’s blood and soul lived and breathed in the Alaska wild. From the time they left, Calla tried to keep in touch with her father, hoping one day he’d get on a plane to see her instead of piloting through the wild to see everyone else but her, and her mother. The final straw came when her graduation rolled around and although he promised, he didn’t show. And since then she refused to even pick up the phone when the Alaska area code would show up.

Calla’s mother had moved on, with Simon and he’s been such a great father figure to Calla, one day when she gets a phone call from a woman in Alaska telling her that her birth-father has cancer and is starting treatment soon, and how he’d like to see her. With Simon’s advice, Calla packs her bags and heads off to the Alaskan wild. Calla meets Jonah who flies her from Anchorage to Bangor to start this journey of truly meeting her father, but Jonah and Calla’s relationship doesn’t start off too great. The two of them begin as not the best of friends. But my goodness, there’s so much to Jonah, so many little nuggets of him that you just can’t help loving more and more. Same thing with everyone featured in Bangor.

Other than the romance portion of this book reeling me in, since it was more of a slow burn than anything which is something I totally love. I live for slow burn romance with that tension and just ugh! It’s so great. The relationship between Calla and Wren was something that like really got me. And I think it’s because I connected to it in a way. My dad always traveled as a kid, he spent like 4 years overseas when I was a kid working with this company in Indonesia, and then he lived in a different state for my whole high school and some of college years, mind you, he and my mother are not separated. He just took jobs that allowed him to take care of his family the best he could. But, I feel like I connected with Calla and Wren’s relationship because my dad was absent a bit in my formative years and now that I’m an adult, married with a kid, he and I connect more often. We have this growing bond and so it made it so easy for me to appreciate all aspects of this book.

It’s such a great read, really well written, and again, probably a 2019 favorite/top read.

5/5 Stars

The Stopover (The Miles High Club #1) – T.L. Swan

The Stopover by T.L. Swan
Published September 26, 2019

I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York.

The food, champagne, and service were impeccable.

The blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better.

He was suave and intelligent.

We talked and laughed, and something clicked.

Fate took over and the plane was grounded, and we had an unexpected stopover for the night.

With no plans, we made our own.

We danced and laughed our way around Boston and had a night of crazy passion that no woman would ever forget.

That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him—until today.

I started a new job and met the CEO. You can imagine my surprise to see those naughty blue eyes dance with delight when he saw me across the mahogany desk.

But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. My life has changed, I have responsibilities.

I just got an email.

He wants to see me in his office for a private meeting at 8:00 a.m.

Naughty blue eyes have no place in the workplace.

What kind of private meeting does he have in mind?


So, let’s be honest, if you’ve seen my goodreads shelf, you’ll notice I’ve been reading a lot of romance and smutty stuff. Not sure why or how I got looped into this genre, but I did, and I’m not complaining. I’m not complaining because I stumbled upon many books I enjoyed, and even this one. I seriously enjoyed this book. I was reading so many enemy to lovers books and such, and there were so many books that just went by so quickly that I never fully felt satisfied with the book. With this book clocking in at just over 500 pages it took me a little longer to get through and I was so happy that this book had a slight slow burn and ups and downs that it did.

This story follows Emily who is trying to get home from a wedding in London, is waiting to check in her bags and some guy just flips out on her. So she gets upgraded to first class where she meets a guy who is super smooth, and there’s a crazy spark between the two of them. With inclement weather on the way to New York, the plane touches down in Boston where they spend the night together. A year later Emily gets the job of her dreams at Miles media company and as she goes to meet the CEO, she’s face to face with the man from the stopover.

So that’s just the beginning of all of this. And oh my god does this story turn into a hell of a roller coaster. I couldn’t stop reading, even to the point where my husband was like “uhhh, are you going to sleep anytime soon?” There’s so much between Emily and Jameson Miles, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The way they grow together, clash, burn and even blossom together it’s a great and it doesn’t happen in a quick 300 pages like most of these books do.

Things pick up when Emily finds out someone is selling stories to a rival media company, and brings things up to Jameson and his brother Tristan who run the New York office. They set her up to feed in fake stories to figure out who is selling stories. It really has such a great plot outside of the romance aspect of this which is why I enjoyed it so much. I don’t think I would have if it did. And Emily is also a strong female character rivaling Jameson’s alpha male personality.

I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough to people who enjoy the romance/smut genre.

4/5 Stars

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler – Kelly Harms

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
Published May 1, 2019

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.


Amy Byler is a single mom taking care of her 15 year old daughter and 12 year old son, her husband went to Hong Kong for business and never came back, deciding to abandon their family and live on his own and eventually move onto a younger woman. And suddenly Amy is in a drug store and BAM! her ex-husband John is right there by the band-aids. And from there, Amy’s life just starts to change. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to deal with that, but Amy keeps it together and deals with the shit-storm like she always does. Coming back home after being gone for three years, John tries to make things better by offering to spend time with the kids he’s missed over the summer.

With being relieved of her motherly duties, Amy begins to focus on herself. She books a trip to NYC and gets tickets to a librarian conference she’s been wanting to go to. She reunites herself with an old friend who works at a magazine and they come to the idea of “momspringa” where as a mom, one leaves the nest and takes a vacation to get away. Although, conflicted with the feeling of abandoning her kids, Amy comes to terms with “momspringa” and starts coming into her own, learning who she is once again now that her kids are getting older and less dependent on her. She even finds a summer fling in Daniel, the sexy librarian.

This book is SO GREAT. It’s funny, entertaining and really kind of pulls at your heart. It’s such a great book about finding ones self and really figuring out who you are after a time of being lost. I, as a new mom have begun to feel a bit lost in who I am. I spend all day at work, go get my son, head home, put him to bed, and do some chores around the house and that’s pretty much it. I could understand Amy in how she feels like she’s lost her own identity. I feel like that’s why Amy is such a great character. She’s a woman who’s put herself aside for the well being of her family, who has sacrificed as much as she can and still perseveres and finally gets her time to figure out herself and really does take that leap to find out what she wants in life.

There’s a lot of wit, laughter, smiles, and even sometimes I was on the brink of tears or sadness for her, but I have to say, I think this book is actually one of my favorite 2019 reads. I was apprehensive when I first picked it up, but really diving into this book, I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.

4/5 Stars

Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5, 2012

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 


So this is a re-read for me, I decided to re-read this series and I’m not regretting it. Although, I prefer the Six of Crows duology over this trilogy, I’m still enjoying immersing myself in this story and world. I absolutely am obsessed with Leigh Bardugo’s writing. It’s something that really just has the power to draw you in and keep you sucked in her words and it’s like her writing just grabs you and doesn’t let go which is something I feel like a lot of YA Writers struggle with. Since reading a lot of YA, other than The Raven Cycle, Cinder Series, and Throne of Glass. I don’t think I’ve been so drawn into a universe. 

Was I blown away by like the plot, characters, development etc? Yes and no. I enjoyed the plot quite a bit. I thought it was interesting to have Alina and Mal just be “normal” until her powers manifested. I thought it brought some spice into their relationship other than the girl pining over the boy. But my goodness, after that it was like OVERKILL. We get it, she’s the sun summoner and she’s powerful and it causes riffs between the two of them because he’s not a grisha.

Personally, the only characters I thought of as worth while in any way were the Darkling and Genya. They were like the only two who really had any substance. I LOVE the Darkling, probably one of the better villains I’ve read through YA. And Genya just had so much personality compared to anyone else. She was strong, sassy and confident, but also shy and soft spoken when it came to David. She just was great.

Shadow and Bone is always a great read, I have to say Bardugo does a great job of making a really good jumping off point for a action filled, and suspenseful trilogy. It had been so long since I read this the first time, that reading through the twists and reveals of certain plot points made me appreciate the thought that went through setting up everything that happens in this and the other two books.

5/5 Stars

It’s happening!

Okay, so, here we are. October 1st. The first day of the spookiest month of the year, and I have officially announced my NaNoWriMo project!
I’m officially freaking out. If any of you are creative writers and have any tips, please feel free to comment them. And if you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo, add me as a friend!

If you’re wondering what I’m writing, here’s a little snippet into what I’ve thought up so far :

Aravae wants learn how to wield magic but, as far as she knows magic is something she’s only heard about in fairytales and bedtime stories her mother has told her since she was a young girl. 

One day she finds the an Amulet that she recognizes from a story her mother used to tell her as a child. A story about a sorceress who used it to help her defeat an evil mage in a far away land. She then leaves home in hopes of finding magic and awakening it once more.
—-
Aravae’s mother Vanora has stolen magic and kept it safe from the world because if her daughter awakens magic once again, the Shadowbane Trials will begin, where her sisters will gather together to see which of their daughters is worthy of the Shadowbane Crown. A crown that can turn the most pure of heart to madness and evil.

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published  August 9, 2016

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


I’ve read this book 5 times since last year, and I am a woman obsessed. I literally re-read this all the time because it’s just SO GOOD. If every contemporary romance was written this way, I’d be reading romance exclusively. And I’m like also expecting this to be picked up for the most amazing rom-com movie ever created because I don’t think I could live in this world if Lucy and Josh don’t come to life EVEN MORE somehow.

Lucy and Josh hate each other, they work as exec assistants to their respective co-CEOs of the publishing house they work for and are both fighting for the same promotion. Josh is pretty stern and unyielding while Lucy is a people pleaser…she bends over backwards a bit too much to please people if you ask me (this coming from a fellow people pleaser…). After a kiss in the elevator and a company outing, Lucy and Josh begin to get closer throughout the book.

The one thing that I think I love the most about this book is that Josh has all these layers that kind of get stripped away one by one as you read on which is SO satisfying and makes him such a great character because you continue to learn more and more about him since he’s so shut off while Lucy is so open. It makes for a great dynamic between the two of them that I can’t get enough of.

This book is funny, thoughtful, and pulled on my heartstrings a bit at times (especially when Josh actually showed emotion). I can’t express how much I want all of you to read this book, because it’s one I keep going back to time and time again when I can’t think of anything else to read because it satisfies my that much.

4/5 Strawberries 

Neanderthal Seeks Human – Penny Reid

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
Published  March 13, 2014

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 
1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 
2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 
3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. 

To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan—aka Sir McHotpants—witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn to make her an offer she can’t refuse.


What a great re-read! I don’t think I fully reviewed this book the first time I read it, but this book kick-started me into being OBSESSED with Penny Reid romances (especially the Winston Brothers series). I absolutely love the way she writes romance. It’s so unique and unlike anything else in the genre. I feel like most of the time you find super steamy romances, and although yes, this had some great romantic tension. This book was more about the intellectual and emotional love, which I greatly appreciate.

Janie is such a great main character, she’s super smart and different. I don’t think I’ve read many books with such a quirky main character. She was so robust, and her wealth of knowledge, it made stuff really interesting. And it was easy to sympathize with her when she got laid off and her whole jerk of an ex. I actually found myself connecting a lot with her. I had a few exes cheat on me and have been laid off about three times in the span on my design career. So it was really easy to connect with Janie on a more personal level, which is why I feel like I really enjoyed this book.

But Quinn, although sweet, I felt like he lacked a little something, I wasn’t sure what, and I’m still not sure unfortunately. Maybe it was because it was so easy for me to figure out who he was in this whole plot? I can’t really put my finger on it. But I loved watching their romance grow. It was really cute and sweet. And I have to say if you’re looking for a romance that has a great growth in love, pick this up. Quinn genuinely loves Janie for who she is and that’s something super special and really constant throughout the book, and it warmed my heart from the first moment.

This book is a great read, it’s funny, light-hearted, has some good twists and turns, and is all around a great feel-good romance.

4/5 Stars

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon
Published  August 10th 1998

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


Almost 900 pages, and almost a month of reading/listening and I’ve finally completed this new favorite. This book GAVE ME LIFE. It completely tore me apart and then just picked up all the pieces and put me back together. I can’t believe I not only finished Outlander but that it took me this long to even dive in. I’m so proud of myself for getting through this monstrosity after a massive hiatus of reading.

I absolutely have to give credit to the way Gabaldon writes. It’s so descriptive and entrancing, I felt like I was there with everyone as everything was happening. Which kept me going, and all honesty made it hard for me to put this book down so I could feed my son or pay attention to what my husband was saying. I don’t think I’ve had a book do that to me in quite some time. I do think I had an advantage to others though because I watched the show first. And so a lot of the Scottish words were familiar, and to be quite honest, the show follows the book so closely, I was very impressed. I remembered so much happening in the show, just as it did in the book which made me very happy.

There’s just so many layers to this book, from the slow burn romance that very much picks up to a steamy romance, the battles, horse rides, witches, fairies, political intrigue. It’s all there and it makes almost 900 pages seem to fly by. With so many characters you don’t get quite bored because although Jamie and Claire are most definitely the center of all of this, you do get invested into other characters (personally, I do enjoy Murtagh quite a bit). But I have to say, I am SO SO SO impressed with Gabaldon being able to bring such a filthy and awful villain to life in Randall. “Black Jack” Randall, is the most vile human being I’ve ever read about and literally turned my stomach every time I had to read about him. And that means she did such a great job writing him.

I just can’t stop thinking about how much I now love this book. Claire being such a great main character, and Jamie *swoon* (oh my dear Jamie) as well. I can’t believe that she wrote Outlander with the intention of it being a practice book for whatever book series she was actually planning on publishing. So, although I made Outlander my main mission in life to finish it and fall in love with it like I have, I don’t think I’ll be reading book two right away. I think I need to let Outlander just settle in my bones while I read other books and come back for Dragonfly In Amber.

5/5 Stars

Welcome Back

Hello friends.
It’s been a while, I know. I’m sorry to say that life got the best of me, and my pregnancy just drained me of everything little ounce of energy I had within me. So, keeping up with things like blogging, instagramming, reading, you know…the fun stuff kind of got swept to the wayside.

Today I write to you all with some great news. Now that I’m a new mom, I decided to put even more on my plate and get back to blogging and even possibly podcasting/vlogging. Now, you may ask yourself “If she’s a new mom and she’s so frantic already, why is she adding more stuff to her plate?” Well, the answer lies in that saying about idle hands.

I cannot live my life just doing nothing. I always want to do SOMETHING. And as a graphic designer I have this overflowing well of creativity that i just can’t stop from spewing out all these creative outlets I want to explore. That, and I refuse to let motherhood take away what I want from my life. I love my son more than anything, but being a victim of crippling depression at times, I need to make sure I put my mental health state in a good place and do things that make me happy on top of loving my little ball of chunky sunshine as much as I can.

So I’m back to blogging. I’ll be writing in as much as possible and even chronicling some new stuff…like how I signed up for NaNoWriMo this month. Yep, that’s right. I have some ideas in the works for a fantasy book and this is the year I’m starting it. Which is why you may actually see me doing some vlogging if I feel as though I have the time to do so.

I’m so excited to get back into this space again and get back to letting you all know about the books I plan on reading, am reading, and did read through the rest of 2019.

So now, without further ado, a picture of my beautiful boy Andrew.

Fam Shots (Digital) (2 of 10).jpg

Storm Front – Jim Butcher

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Published April 2000

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.


So this is the second time I’ve read this book. And this series actually has some great memories that comes with it. My husband (boyfriend at the time) suggested I read this book because he was OBSESSED with it and was the only series he’s actually gone all from start to finish with, and he couldn’t recommended it enough to me.

I decided to pick it up but I didn’t get through it all so one of the goals I decided for 2019 was to try and get through all the current Dresden Files books. In hopes that Peace Talks (book 16) comes out soon.

Reading Storm Front for the second time, I fell in love all over again. Harry is probably one of my absolute favorite book characters of all time. He’s snarky/witty which I LOVE , and just is a great wizard “detective”. I don’t get bored reading these books at all and I just keep churning through them non-stop and it’s so satisfying. There’s so many twists and turns. And now, like my husband, I now recommend this series to everyone who is remotely interested in mystery and fantasy.

All the other characters are just as great as Harry as well though which I think is something really special about this series. I’ve never read a series where I get so invested in ALL characters. Harry, Murphy, Toot Toot, Bob, even Johnny Marcone, YOU GET INVESTED PEOPLE, AND IT’S SO DAMN GOOD.

I know this isn’t the best of the best reviews but it’s seriously just something you can’t put down and just continuously desire more. PLEASE READ THIS SERIES.