Tag Archive | Southern Belle Charm Blog

Reading Funk

For about the last month I have been in a huge reading funk. I have started two different books and I get about 75-100 pages in and I hit a brick wall. I hate walking away from a book unfinished but that is what I have done with both of them. They were both Harlequin Romances so maybe I just need to take a little break from Harlequins. Usually I love a good Harlequin Romance. So this weekend I started a non-Harlequin and we will see how it goes.

My two books I hit a brick wall on…

New Home Town Fan

When I was off work for a week in early December (a little break in between the Holidays). I watched a few episodes of HGTV’s Home Town. Now I have never been a fan of HGTV, so never paid much attention to the shows or their stars. Well let’s just say I am a HUGE fan now. I want to go to Laurel Mississippi. And I have even purchased their book. And I have looked at their online store. It’s that Southern Charm I’m telling you. I love all things southern!

Sorry It’s Been A While

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. The last few weeks have been a little crazy. I had plans for all these great Christmas and end of year/new year posts but then COVID snuck in our backyard. Long story short my aunt tested positive almost four weeks ago, and while we thought she was doing okay and, on the mend, last week the bottom fell out and at and at one point it was not looking too good, but the last two days seem to be steps in the right direction. So, it has been a roller coaster ride since New Year’s Eve. (To give it a name and since we are a Disney Family and we have created a Disney Monster the last week has been the Tower of Terror.)

Because of COVID and the way she was choosing to live her live during COVID, I have not seen my aunt since late August/Early September and then it was only for a small family dinner outside. Hopefully she really is heading in the right direction.

Christmas Movies, Music, and Reads

Christmas Movies:

We are roughly a month into the Christmas Movies so I thought I would share with you the ones I have liked so far.

Hallmark Channel:

🎄 Never Kiss A Man In A Christmas Sweater

🎄 Christmas With The Darlings

🎄 One Royal Holiday

Hallmark Movies and Mysteries:

🎄 The Christmas Doctor

🎄 Deliver by Christmas

🎄 The Christmas Ring

I am not completely sold on the Lifetime Movies but I did like The Yule Blog one.

On a side note: I love White Christmas but have not watched it yet this holiday season. But I have never seen Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. Maybe 2020 will have to be the year. 😷

Christmas Music:

I am not a huge fan of Carrie Underwood’s but I have been listening to her new Christmas album some and I will admit she can belt out the hymns. On a side note nobody sings White Christmas like Bing Crosby. Guess you know my favorite Christmas song and album now.

Christmas Reads:

⛄️ Current Car Read: Wrapped Up In Christmas Joy by: Janice Lynn

⛄️ Current Read: Temptation at Christmas by: Maureen Child

⛄️ On Deck Read: Christmas on Peach Tree Lane by: Jules Bennett

⛄️ Already Read: The Long-Awaited Christmas Wish by: Melissa Senate and Their Christmas Baby Contract by: Shannon Stacey

Southern Belle Reads: First Christmas Read of the Season

So I decided Christmas Reading Season started with the Christmas Movies and I have already finished my first one.

This is part of the Dawson Family Ranch series that I love. This series has been a bright spot in this crazy year of 2020. I’m just sad that I have to wait till early next year for the next one. But then again if I’m onto Christmas Reads I would of probably waited anyway.

5 & 10 Reading: Time to Start Back Up

When I first thought up my 5 & 10 Reading my original intention was for it to be a way to get some self-help reading into my life. You know the books you want to read but really can’t bring yourself to read (or at least for me). My thought 5 pages each morning Monday through Friday (before getting ready for work) and 10 pages a day on Saturday, Sunday, Vacation Day, and Holiday (the days I don’t have to go to work). I was doing okay at first then I had to make some changes to my morning routine which took away some of my downtime and I let my 5 & 10 Reading slip away. But now I have been able to make some changes in my morning routine that gives me my downtime back. So I have decided to start my 5 & 10 Reading back up and I’m starting with more inspirational/motivational books for a while and then move into the self help books. These are books that I really want to read but my romances always won out. It might take me two months to read one book but at least I’m getting some different types of books into my reading.

Christmas Movies Week 1 Takeaway

Christmas Movie Season has started! I just love when the Christmas Movies start playing 24/7. Here are a few takeaways I have observed from the first full week.

1) Lifetime does not have movies 24/7 (even though they are advertising it)

2) I’m not sold on this Saturday and Sunday 8:00 new movies on Hallmark and 10:00 new movies at 10:00 on Movies and Mysteries. I get why they are doing it, but that means I have to stay up till 12:00 if I’m really into the Sunday night movie and my alarm goes off at 4:40 on Monday morning.

3) While the Lifetime Movies are okay they just don’t hold up the Hallmark Movies (at least to me).

4) Maybe it’s because we went so long without new movies I am actually enjoying some of the new movies and not feeling like they are the same plot just with different actors.

Happy 95th

This month Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry celebrated 95 years of music, laughs, and good times. I’ve sat in the front row, I’ve been to an induction show, and I have even seen a show at the historic Rhyman Auditorium in downtown. I have laughed, cried, and sang along. I’ve seen legends, up in coming stars, and top of the chart artists. I love the history of the Opry and the fact that they have kept the circle unbroken for these 95 years, through think and thin, sadness and dark days. Happy 95th Grand Ole Opry!

Marriage By Arrangement by: Sophia Singh Sasson

The perfect read for those steamy summer nights. Sometimes the biggest risks in life are the ones that bring you all the happiness in the world. I was drawn into Rani and Arjun’s story from page one. The sparks were flying from their very first meeting.

MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT by Sophia Singh Sasson – Title information, author bio, author links & sales links

Book description: 

When a business proposal turns very personal…
Rule #1: Don’t fall for the client.
Because he’ll rock your world…

Architect Rani Gupta will never let a man compromise her career or freedom again. Which is a problem now that her newest client is irresistible hotelier Arjun Singh—aka the sexiest bachelor in India. A little fling with this gorgeous man would be scandal enough. But a fake engagement might just be more trouble than they bargained for—especially if Arjun has a prior arrangement!

Author bio:

Sophia puts her childhood habit of daydreaming to good use by writing stories that will give you hope, make you laugh, cry and possibly snort tea from your nose. She was born in Mumbai, India, and has lived in the Canary Islands, Spain and Toronto, Canada. Currently she calls the madness of Washington, DC, home. She loves to read, travel to exotic locations, bake, scuba dive and watch Bollywood movies. Contact her through http://SophiaSasson.com.

Author links: ● Author website: http://sophiasasson.com/● Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophia_singh_sasson/?hl=en● Twitter:https://twitter.com/sophiasasson?lang=en● Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSophiaSasson/● Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14584440.Sophia_Singh_Sasson

Sales links:● B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marriage-by-arrangement-sophia-singh-sasson/1136665452?ean=9781335209290● Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Arrangement-Nights-Mahal-Book-ebook/dp/B082WHMVCQ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=marriage+by+arrangement&qid=1593186014&sr=8-1● Google: https://books.google.ca/books/about/Marriage_by_Arrangement.html?id=zRrFDwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y● Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335209290● Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488063084_marriage-by-arrangement.html● Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49427408-marriage-by-arrangement

Excerpt, MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT by Sophia Singh Sasson

***

“Are you okay?” Rani asked.

The changing stage lights threw seductive shadows across her face, and he felt himself gazing into her dark eyes. He’d always thought she was beautiful but tonight she looked spectacular. He knew she wasn’t wearing a designer dress, and if he had to guess, she probably hadn’t spent all day at the beauty salon getting her hair and makeup done. Yet she looked more stunning than any woman he’d ever met. Those heels that she clearly hated showed off her long, shapely legs and the way her hair framed her face made him want to weave his fingers into it. She was looking at him with such intensity, it seemed she could see into his soul.

“Just family drama,” he said, surprising himself. He pulled his hand away from hers before he was tempted to take things further. Last night when he’d said good-bye in the car, he’d felt such an urgent need to kiss her that he’d almost canceled their plans tonight. He prided himself on always being in control.

He took a sip of the neat whiskey he’d ordered, hop-ing the raw burn down his throat would bring him back to his senses and shake loose an idea on how to deal with his family.

“Tell me about it.” Rani leaned in close to him, and he caught a whiff of her vanilla scent.

Where do I start? With Divya or Hema? Hema was a not a problem to solve. She was an obligation he had to come to terms with. “My sister Divya has been offered a job in Jaipur and wants to take it, but that’s not done in our family.”

“Why not?”

He shifted in his chair.

“What I mean is, what is your parents’ specific concern beyond the fact that it’s not the tradition? The parampara?”

He looked at her in surprise. She gets it.

“I think they fear that if she’s financially independent, she won’t follow the house rules.” Even as he said the words, he realized how horrible it sounded. “You have to understand that my parents are doing what they think is best for her.”

“They’re trying to control her.”

“They are trying to protect her.”

“I don’t think we’ll agree on that point. So what do you plan to do?”

“I’m thinking of secretly increasing her allowance. That way she can buy what she wants without having to ask my parents’ permission. That’s how this whole job thing started. She wanted to buy a car for herself and they questioned her spending.”

Rani shook her head. “You’re not understanding her.” He frowned. While he wanted Rani’s perspective, she didn’t know Divya. Arjun talked to Divya almost every day. How could Rani be so confident in saying he didn’t understand his sister?

“Divya doesn’t want to work just to buy things. She wants to work to have a sense of purpose, of independence. To do something meaningful with her life. I don’t think you can appreciate what it’s like for an intelligent person to sit at home all day with nothing to do. It’s maddening.”

“She has lots of things to do. There is staff to man-age, social events to plan, charity work. My mother is always complaining about how busy she is.”

“But those aren’t things that satisfy a young, educated woman who doesn’t want to be a socialite. She wants do something that is uniquely hers, and have control over some aspect of her life.”

It seems you’re speaking from personal experience.” She nodded. “My ex-husband’s family didn’t have your kind of wealth but they were comfortable. My in-laws asked me to quit my job, which I foolishly did. My days were filled with shopping and social events that I couldn’t care less about. I’m guessing your sister lives a similar life. Working is not about the money, it’s about independence. Of the many things I lost during my marriage, the one I lament the most is my career. I was almost at the point of making senior architect at RKS when I left. After the divorce, I had to start at the bottom of the junior level because I’d been out of the game so long. Divya doesn’t want to become obsolete.”

Arjun spread his hands. “So what do you suggest I do? My mother will not agree to let her get a job. I’ve already tried to convince her and she is firm on this point.”

“What is Divya qualified to do?”

“She studied law.”

Rani chewed her lip, and he found himself staring at her. “Your business is big enough that you surely need lawyers.”

He nodded. “Of course. I have a couple in every city that we have a hotel.”

“So hire her for your legal team in the Jaipur office.” “Jaipur is an hour away from our home.”

“Do you do the commute?”

He rubbed his neck. It could work. “We have a trusted driver who could take her every day.”

It was a nice idea. His brother, Sameer, had no interest in working for the family business, and Arjun could use a trusted person to take on some of the responsibilities of the company while he was in Vegas. He was tired of having to wake up in the middle of the night to get on the phone with someone in India.

“It’s a potential solution. Thank you, Rani.”

The crowd became louder as the warm-up act wrapped up and introduced Russell Peters. Rani started laughing at one of the jokes. Arjun hadn’t heard it. All he could focus on was the way her mouth crinkled, and the happy sound of her giggles and laughter. He’d been with a fair number of women in the last several years; all of them had been socialites who clearly understood that he wasn’t looking for an emotional attachment. His relationships were always physical. None of them had made him want to connect emotionally like this.

“Am I really more amusing than the comedian?” Rani turned to him, grinning.

He smiled sheepishly. “You certainly are more beautiful.”

Her eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly. He took a breath to keep from leaning over and kissing her irresistible lips. As if reading his mind, she suddenly snapped her head back towards the stage. He took a long slug from his glass of whiskey.

So what if we work together? The project would be over in less than six months and he’d be returning to India to a lifetime of obligation. If she was attracted to him too, what was wrong with a brief affair? He knew how to be discreet; he would protect Rani, and make sure there would be no fallout for her at RKS. After all, what happened in Vegas could stay in Vegas.

***

A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers

I have been a fan of Rochelle Alers for a few years now so for me this was a must read. Not only did the story appeal to me but so did the author. This was a fun read. I really enjoyed the characters and the storyline. The main character, Zoey, is the kind of character you find yourself rooting for to find a happily ever after. A great summertime read.

A WINNING SEASON by Rochelle Alers – Title information, author bio, author links & sales links

Book description: 

Sliding home…for a lifetime.
The girl next door…or a grand slam love?

Baseball ace Sutton Reed’s returned home triumphant after years in the majors. When he moves next door to a troubled young man, he’s determined to help—for the boy’s sake and for the boy’s gorgeous older sister, Zoey Allen. After sacrificing everything to keep her family together, Zoey has no time for romance…even with a hometown hero. But will this unlikely combo be the home run love story they all deserve?

Author bio: Hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today’s most popular African-American authors of women’s fiction, Ms. Alers is a regular on bestsellers list, and has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing and a Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award. Visit her Web site http://www.rochellealers.com

Author links: • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rochelle_alers/?hl=en• Twitter: https://twitter.com/rochellealers?lang=en• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rochelle.alers• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/107119.Rochelle_Alers

Sales links:• B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-winning-season-rochelle-alers/1136387501?ean=9781335894793• Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084JNV4YL/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1• Google: https://books.google.ca/books/about/A_Winning_Season.html?id=serODwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y• Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335894793• Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335894793_a-winning-season.html • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51183102-a-winning-season

Excerpt, A WINNING SEASON by Rochelle Alers

***

Sutton gave Zoey her mug, noticing her hand had trembled slightly when their fingers touched. “Are you all right?”

“I’m good,” she said.

He wanted to believe Zoey was all right but the rigidness in her body said otherwise. He stood and moved to a nearby chair. “I’m sorry if I invaded your personal space.”

She lowered her eyes, staring into the contents of her mug. “It’s okay.”

Sutton drank his coffee, staring at Zoey over the rim. He was perceptive enough to know she had been completely at ease with him the day before, but this morning her body language said otherwise, and he wondered what he’d said or done to make her uneasy.

Suddenly it occurred to Sutton that he may have made a faux pas when he had referred to Zoey as pretty lady, especially when he did not know whether she was involved with someone. “I’m sorry, Zoey.”

She halted putting the mug to her mouth. “For what?”

“For making you uncomfortable because I called you pretty lady. Hell, I don’t even know if you’re involved with someone.”

Zoey swallowed a mouthful of coffee. The corners of her eyes crinkled when she smiled. “I really have to give it to you, Sutton Reed.”

A slight frown marred his natural good looks. “What are you talking about?”

“You did not make me uncomfortable, and if you wanted to know if I’m involved with someone, then all you had to do was ask.”

A hint of a smile replaced his frown. “Are you?” The seconds ticked as she met his eyes. “No. And I can’t afford to because of a promise I made to Kyle and Harper when they were little boys. I told them it would be just the three of us until they were old enough to take care of themselves.”

Sutton set his mug on a side table. “I can under-stand you  ​that promise when they were boys, but I doubt if Harper would hold it against you if you decided to start dating.”

“Right now, Harper has no say in how I live my life.”

“Is he giving you a problem?”

Zoey went completely still. “Why would you ask me that?”

“I was sitting out on the porch when he came home last night. Someone had dropped him off and I noticed he was a little unsteady on his feet.”

If Sutton saw Harper coming home obviously under the influence, then Zoey wondered how many of her other neighbors had also witnessed it. Zoey did not want or need people gossiping about the Allen boy drinking or possibly drugging. She had managed to raise Kyle to adulthood without an incident, but life was testing her because Harper had decided he wasn’t going to make it that easy for her.

“I don’t know you and you don’t know me, Sut-ton, and there’s no way I’m going to dump on you about my problems.”

Sutton angled his head, giving her a long stare. “You’ve lived in the Falls all your life and you should know that folks here always look out for one another. Those who have more than they need always share with those who don’t have enough. And it’s not al-ways about money.”

Zoey knew he was right. The people in the town had been more than generous when tragedy struck her family. Even now some folks still asked if she needed anything. She nodded. “You’re right. I give thanks every day that I live here and not somewhere else, because without the help of Preston McAvoy, the chamber of commerce and the worshippers at the church, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you.”

The local law firm had handled her legal prob-lems; local contractors had volunteered their services to make certain the house was free of violations; a company selling and installing gas heaters set up an installment plan for her to pay off the cost of the unit over three years.

“So once Harper graduates you plan to stay here?” Sutton asked.

Zoey smiled. “Where would I go?”

He shrugged broad shoulders under his tee. “I don’t know. Maybe you’d prefer someplace that has a little more excitement.”

She took another sip of the delicious brew. Sutton had made the coffee exactly how she liked it. “The Falls has enough excitement for the four thousand-plus folks who live here. Someone had submitted a proposal to the town council to open a club and it was unanimously voted down. What we don’t need is a club with people getting drunk and acting like fools. The town council in Mineral Springs has closed two clubs in the past four years because of fights and rowdiness.”

“The Springs has almost twice our population, so there’s bound to be a few more incidents than we have here.”

“Speaking of excitement, why did you decide to move back here after spending half your life in Hot-lanta?” Zoey had asked the question that had plagued her since hearing word that Sutton Reed was moving back to Wickham Falls.

Sutton closed his eyes for several seconds. “I never really got used to living in a big city. The crowds and noise didn’t upset me whenever I was at the stadium, but once the game was over all I wanted was some-place quiet where I could decompress.”

“Whenever you were interviewed you seemed so confident, so in control of yourself.”

“That was all an act, Zoey. I’d learned early on to switch it on for the cameras and microphones. There was one Sutton for the sports reporters and another Sutton when he was home behind closed doors.”

***