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.
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 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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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
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
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.”
From the moment I first read the description for this book it sounded like a good read. I’m not going to lie there were a few times it got to be a little much for me and I thought about walking away from it. But I didn’t. Overall Julia and Rocco’s story was fun and interesting. This was defiantly a first of its kind book for me. But don’t let my struggles keep you from reading it. It’s always good to broaden your horizons (even in reading) and this book sure did that for me for sure.
Carina Press Blog Tour Program: Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
Title and Author Details
Title: Here to Stay
Author: Adriana Herrera
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press
On-Sale: August 25, 2020
Format: Ebook (Trade Paperback & Audiobook formats also available!)
Ebook ISBN: 9780369700926
Ebook Price: $3.99 USD
Book Description: “Hot, heartwarming, and hilarious…This is a knockout.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Award-winning, highly-acclaimed author Adriana Herrera delivers the sexy, modern enemies-to-lovers romance you’ve been waiting for.
Starting over is more about who you’re with than where you live…
Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year.
She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.
It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South.
The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.
When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.
Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.
When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a trauma therapist in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Her Dreamers series has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and has been featured in The TODAY Show on NBC, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Library Journal and The Washington Post. Her debut, American Dreamer, was selected as one of Booklist’s ‘Best Romance Debuts of 2019’, and one of the ‘Top 10 Romances of 2019’ by Entertainment Weekly. Her third novel, American Love Story, was one of the winners in the first annual Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. Adriana is an outspoken advocate for diversity in romance and has written for Remezclaand Bustle about Own Voices in the genre. She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective. Represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
This was a rough read for me, I’m not going to lie. While I did not hate this book, I did not love it either. This was a middle of the road book for me. I really liked how the book was divided up into parts and I think the overall story was good I just found myself putting off wanting to read this book. It never really pulled me in. And it may very well have been me in a funk.
Have you ever felt something pulling on your heart and you feel signs are pointing you in that same direction? I have been lately and so I think I might try my hand at something new. It might take me years to do and I may not be any good at it. But I think I am going to try and write a book. This is something that has always been in the back of my mind and the depths of my heart but I feel like the world is telling me know is the time to try. It will be a romance of course. I have a few other plot points rolling around already but those I am not ready to share just yet. We will see how this goes.