Bout of Books 23 – Sign Up Post


So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having concentrated time for reading, I am participating in all 3 Bout of Books reading challenges / read-a-thons this year! The first one was in early January and I got a good amount of reading done. The next one was in May and between work and personal stuff I didn’t actually get a ton of reading done.

This one though is going to be a doozy. I’m also participating in ARC August this month, plus I have a huge event coming up next weekend, the Terryville Fair, where I’m working up at the Fairgrounds literally the whole weekend sun up to (well after) sun down. Hopefully I can still carve out a little reading time but I’m also going to try and be realistic about this.

For those of you who don’t really know much about Bout of Books, it is basically a week-long, no pressure read-a-thon that has been going strong since 2011! Here is a description directly from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I’ve been reading pretty close to on schedule lately and I’m hoping to continue that trend over the next week!

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours each day during the week, with hopefully additional hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’ll be working up at the Fair event all afternoon and evening Thursday and Friday and then all day Saturday and Sunday, but I might be able to take a couple short breaks for reading between shifts.

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day. One of the reasons I’m especially excited about this read-a-thon is … I’M ON THE SCHEDULE! I submitted a couple daily challenge ideas and one of them was picked! I’m more excited than ever to participate, hopefully I don’t run too low on time.

Books to Read

List is a little shorter than some of my previous challenges, but I have to be realistic about my time constraints. I would’ve loved to take the whole week off and just read non-stop but work has been consistently busy since just about a year ago. Anyways, I’m really looking forward to this week-long reading challenge devoted to reading ! If you do want to join make sure to add yourself to the page’s Sign Up Post by Tuesday, August 21st at 11:59pm! Happy reading!

ARC August 2018 – Update #3


What a whirlwind this week has been! Busy week at work, a weekend trip to a wedding in PA with my family and a couple other social dates also, but I was able to make a lot of time for reading still! I’ve been really pushing myself for the reading challenge this month and I’ve been enjoying all the extra reading a lot. And this coming week I’m participating in both ARC August AND Bout of Books, so lots more reading to come! Plus the Fair is coming up this week – so basically I’m planning not to get any sleep this week! Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:


August 2018 ARC’s

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
Our House by Louise Candlish – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
-The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke
-Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
-Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia


-Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler – Read and reviewed (Week 2)

Backlog ARC’s

I’m actually using a reading challenge to help me whittle away at the 2016 and 2017 backlog list, so for this challenge I’d like to get to the following:

-A book told through letters
-A book with a five-word title – Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature
-A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title

Books Read August 13th – 19th

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – 5.0 stars
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – 3.75 stars
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant –  stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

This week is going to be hectic that’s for sure. I’m just going to try and push through and keep at it – I’ve so far been mostly successful at balancing my productivity between work and reading and other. Let’s hope I can keep it up this week!

2018 Book #72 – Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

51J9Ryy9yvL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Cowboy, Cross My Heart
Author: Donna Grant
Date finished: 8/19/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Heart of Texas series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene in the second book in her Heart of Texas series, Cowboy, Cross My Heart, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close―and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger―without risking his heart?

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Read a total of 500 pages” box, since I’ve done that by now for this challenge.

I read the first book in the Heart of Texas series, The Christmas Cowboy Hero, a couple months ago. In that book, Brice was still a kid in high school, so I was interested to see that they were coming out with book #2 in the series featuring his story. Brice as a hero in his own book though, wasn’t quite what I expected him to be. Not that it was bad necessarily, just wasn’t what I had envisioned for his character. The plot was ok, but the whole story line ended up being a little too cheesy for me. Brice and Naomi were over the moon for each other from the beginning and while I did like how well their characters fit together, it felt almost too easy. There was no conflict between them, which just doesn’t feel realistic. Other than that it was a cute story, just wasn’t one of my favorite romances. I thought it was ok, and I’d still be interested in reading Caleb’s story (Brice’s brother) to round out the series.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page