2020 Monthly Status Update: August

August-Holidays

August flew by! The cooler weather is finally here (at least for the last couple days) and I am LOVING it. I also have set up a new desk space in my home so that I have a dedicated area while working from home and it is just perfectly functional and beautiful. I am really looking forward to the next month and to catching up with work tasks. I did have to focus a bit more on work over the last month so I haven’t had as much time for reading but I am trying to stay as productive as possible! Here are some reading highlights from August for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 5
# pages read this month: 1,710
# books read year-to-date: 59
# pages read year-to-date: 19,413

Other Posts this month:

Here to Stay BLOG TOUR!!
ARC August Reading Challenge

Favorite books from this month:

I liked the books this month but didn’t particularly love any certain one

Next Month TBR List:

  • One by One by Ruth Ware
  • Nowhere to Hide by Leslie Kelly
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
  • The Glass Queen by Gena Showalter

Next month is also my BIRTHDAY month so I’m planning to read a couple books in the fairy-tale retelling theme! My husband and I have been watching Once Upon a Time lately and I always love the Descendants movies – I always find it so fun to hear a classic fairy-tale story told in a new way.

I hope everyone has a great September! Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2020 – WRAP UP

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And so wraps up another ARC August! This wasn’t my most successful ARC August, I have been stressed about work and haven’t had as much time for reading lately. I still tried my best but I only got through a handful of books that I wanted to. Here’s how I ended up on the ARC Reading challenge for 2020:

MY PROGRESS

August 2020 ARC’s 

-The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson – Read and reviewed
-Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting – Read and reviewed
-Here To Stay by Adriana Herrera – Read and reviewed
-Wednesdays, Walks and Wags by Melissa Storm – Read and reviewed

Backlog ARC’s

-Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell
-Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford
-One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase
-A Season of You by Emma Douglas
-A Better Trust by Valerie Joan Connors
-Lies by T.M. Logan
-29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

I didn’t get to any of my backlog ones. And I even ended up adding a 2020 August one that I got last minute and didn’t get to that one either. But that is a wrap for this year’s ARC August! I had a great time reading and I am already looking forward to next year’s challenge!

Here to Stay BLOG TOUR!!

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Here to Stay was released today!! (August 25th), and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I’m still finishing up my read but so far I am really loving this book! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt:

SUMMARY

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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 Remezcla and 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.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

Julia

I stepped into the elevator and shoved my phone into the pocket of my dress, took a moment to send a prayer to the employee discount that let me buy bomb clothes on a nonprofit worker budget, and did some mental math of what could be going on.

Was the program really in trouble? Could we actually get shut down?

Nope, I would not go there. I would not think about what it would be like to get on a plane back to New York dumped and unemployed. Not happening.

A distraction. That’s what I needed. Just as the door to the elevator was about to close, someone got in. The fact that I was eye level with the base of his throat was a good clue as to who it was, but when he opened his mouth and the now familiar knee-weakening baritone echoed off the walls of the elevator, I got my confirmation.

“Morning, Ms. Ortiz.” That voice could be used for interrogation tactics. Every muscle in my body loosened at the same time whenever I heard it.

I squeaked out a “Morning” and took my time lifting my head all the way up to look at the last person in the world I wanted overhearing my conversation with my mother.

Him.

Rocco Fucking Quinn, otherwise known as the “Team Leader” for the consulting firm looking to bag my job. The guy with the New York City-est name on the planet. I hadn’t exactly gotten personal with Mr. Quinn, but I picked up on that accent the first time we met.

“What’s good?” I really tried to sound polite, but my Queens jumped out in situations like this. I did not gulp, because I could not let this fucker see me sweat. I managed not to cut my eyes at him, but it was a close call.

I took him in, ramrod straight, every hair in its place, not a wrinkle in sight, and decided he could not be the proprietor of the laugh-choke from before. The man seemed to be completely lacking a sense of humor. I knew he must have teeth but I’d never seen them.

Yeah, definitely not him. That fact rallied my spirits a little bit as I stood close enough to pick up on how he smelled. Like the ocean and something woodsy. That was not helpful information.

Without saying another word, I ran my eyes over him. It struck me that he was not wearing something bespoke like pretty much everyone here. Don’t get me wrong, he still looked good enough to eat, but he was clearly on a budget. And at a place where everyone looked like they were heading to a New York Fashion Week photo shoot, it was sort of jarring. Still, the suit fit him well. And there was no question, this guy could wear the fuck out of a suit. I held back a whimper when I envisioned him in a Brioni or a Zegna. They’d have to put out a heat advisory for the building if that ever happened.

“I thought I could detect a familiar accent when I was coming down the hall.” His perfectly blue eyes twinkled at what I was certain was an expression of utter mortification on my face. He sounded pleasant enough, but he was also alluding to the fact that I was yapping on my phone. This wasn’t the first time he tried to be cute. Rocco Quinn seemed to like fucking with me. And it was only a matter of time before he stepped on my last nerve and I reamed him out.

Thankfully, just as I was scrambling to respond to his comment, the elevator got to my floor. I was planning to just leave him hanging and run off, but he was hot on my heels.

Dammit.

“Sounds like your mom misses you.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Why did he have to act all fake nice?

I nodded without looking at him. “She does. Listen, Mr. Quinn—”

“You can call me Rocco.”

Nope, that was not happening. I was not letting this sexy bastard talk me into getting all chummy with him. I was already on thin ice as it was. He could keep his pheromones and his slick-as-fuck expressions to his damn self. I came to a dead stop a few feet away from the conference room door where my boss—and whatever shitty news she was about to give me—was waiting.

When I turned around, Rocco was looking down at me with an expectant smile. God he was handsome, that jet-black hair so dark it almost had a tinge of blue and those eyes, piercing. And I guess he had teeth after all, and of course they were perfect. Asshole. I shook my head hard when my traitorous brain started wondering what Pantone color his eyes would be.

Get your head in the game, Julia del Mar.

I straightened my back, determined to fight off the debilitating effects of those gleaming teeth and perfectly pink lips. I had to remember this niceness was probably his way of getting us to let our guard down. He was here to find ways to cut jobs. I was not about to mouth off and get myself fired, but I needed to get some things clear.

“Look.” I was proud of myself for not rolling my neck or pointing at his face. “I know you’re trying to be nice, but you make me nervous.” I pulled on the hem of my blue polka-dot dress and smoothed my yellow cardigan, avoiding eye contact at all costs.

“Why do I make you nervous?”

Uh, maybe because you’re here to close down as much of the foundation as you can.

I refrained from actually saying that because I had not been raised by a Puerto Rican man and Dominican woman just so I could act like I had no home training with the guy who could get me fired. But it was a close call.

“I’m sorry for saying that. You don’t make me nervous.”

Lies.

Rocco Quinn didn’t just make me nervous. He made me want to run my hands all over that big-ass body and moon over his almost but not quite curly hair and blue eyes, in spite of the fact that I knew he was out here gunning for my entire program. And yet, I still wanted to kiss the hell out of him while I climbed him like a sequoia.

Copyright © 2020 by Adriana Herrera

ARC August 2020 – Update #1 – August 1st to 15th

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Since ARC August is a little less scheduled this year (and since I’ve been busy with work and haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like), I’ve decided to do fewer check ins this year! Fortunately, today is Goal Day so I was able to focus on getting some reading done. From August 1st to today, here’s where I stand right now:

MY PROGRESS

August 2020 ARC’s 

-The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson – Finished today! Will post review later today likely
-Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting – Read and reviewed
-Here To Stay by Adriana Herrera
-Wednesdays, Walks and Wags by Melissa Storm – Reading next!

Backlog ARC’s

-Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell
-Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford
-One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase
-A Season of You by Emma Douglas
-A Better Trust by Valerie Joan Connors
-Lies by T.M. Logan
-29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

I’m hoping to get a little more reading done over the last half of the month but we’ll have to see how things go! Work will continue to be busy and I’m trying to focus as much energy as I can into getting caught up for right now. Anyways, I hope all you readers out there get to enjoy some down time! Happy reading!

2020 Monthly Status Update: July

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July has somehow come and gone – this year is flying by. Which is both shocking and not surprising to me considering I hardly ever leave the house. Working from home has been both a blessing and a curse – one of the upsides of it is that I have been finding more time for reading. Unfortunately I’m a bit behind with work so I’ll likely have to buckle down and cut down on my reading time. Here are some reading highlights from July for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,129
# books read year-to-date: 54
# pages read year-to-date: 17,703

Other Posts this month:

Incognito Ex BLOG TOUR!!

Favorite books from this month:

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson
  • Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting
  • Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
  • Wednesdays, Walks and Wags by Melissa Storm

I’m also planning to participate in the ARC August reading challenge next month and I’m very much looking forward to it! Happy reading everyone!

ARC August 2020 Reading Challenge Sign Up Post!

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Woo Hoo! ARC August is here again, and I can’t wait to dig into some of my backlog and my upcoming releases. I still have wayyyyy too many ARC’s from the past FOUR years (jeeze) that I never got a chance to read, plus I have some great titles coming up in August! I’m not only doing ARC August this month but I’m also trying to get Bingo in the Ripped Bodice Summer Romance Bingo, so most of the ARC’s I’ll be reading this month will be romance. For those of you that don’t know, ARC August is a month-long reading challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. and the only participation requirement is reading ARC’s! I participated in this reading challenge for the last five years (20152016, 2017, 2018, and 2019), and every year this reading challenge has helped me be super successful and productive. I hope to continue the productivity with this challenge this year since I have so much to read! I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to happen for 2020 but I am so happy to participate again. The bingo last year was so fun and I was hoping it would be repeated this year but I’m glad just to have the challenge to participate in again this year!

So here is the list I’m going to be working off of for this year’s challenge:

August 2020 ARC’s 

-The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson
-Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting
-Here To Stay by Adriana Herrera
-Wednesdays, Walks and Wags by Melissa Storm

Backlog ARC’s

-Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell
-Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford
-One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase
-A Season of You by Emma Douglas
-A Better Trust y Valerie Joan Connors
-Lies by T.M. Logan
-29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

And that’s my plan! I’m looking forward to a lot of the books I have lined up for August and I can’t wait to get to reading!

Incognito Ex BLOG TOUR!!

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Harlequin is featuring their category romance in an August 2020 series blog tour! Incognito Ex will be released August 1, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I recently read this novel and while the plot didn’t appeal to me personally there was a lot to like about this novel and it is still a great example of a Harlequin series novel! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt: 

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SUMMARY

When she is targeted by a vicious mobster, a past love is her only hope.

When a Russian gangster targets Coral Staufer, she is desperate for help. Coral stumbles across an undercover agent none other than the man she loved and lost, Trevor Stone. Trevor will risk anything to stop her from becoming a mob casualty…even risk his career to protect Coral. But when their past love reignites, their entire mission—and very lives—are at stake.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author photo_Geri Krotow

Geri Krotow is a Naval Academy graduate and Navy veteran. She has traveled to and lived in many places abroad, including South America, Italy and Russia. Her family has finally settled down in Central Pennsylvannia but Geri still writes about all the places she’s been. An awardwinning author, Geri writes the Silver Valley PD for Harlequin Romantic Suspense

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BUY IT HERE!

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EXCERPT

3D cover_INCOGNITO EX by Geri KrotowTrevor Stone never took his eye off the ball while undercover. Never. But as he fought to keep these thugs from harming Coral while processing the fact that he still had to get her out of here, he was distracted. The last several days, working alongside ROC gang members, he’d felt her nearby, as if the invisible thread that connected them had come alive again.

He’d known she lived here, knew this was the farm she’d inherited. He knew what one rogue ROC member had done to the barn last January and hadn’t been able to fight his protective instincts toward his ex, years after they split. He’d volunteered for the mission, stupidly thinking that he’d be able to ensure her safety while not coming into direct contact with her.

What he could never have predicted was how he’d react when face-to-face with Coral again.

His hands clenched painfully tight, and all he wanted was to throw Coral over his shoulder and run for the Appalachian Mountains that surrounded Silver Valley. Take her far from this night, to a place where ROC couldn’t touch her. And yes, away from seeing him again, especially like this.

The raw fact that she was about to be assassinated by one of the two lower-level ROC crooks was all that kept him focused. The complication that she’d just blown his cover, carefully cultivated over the past two years, was a sideshow. One he’d have to address, but later, after he got her out of here alive. When he was far from her, and knew she was safe.

“What did she call you? Who is Trevor?” Disbelief, suspicion, anger snaked across the ground as the two other men cried out, and he figured he had about two seconds to act.

“Stupid girl took a hit to her head.” He spoke as Grisha, the undercover identity he’d adopted to help the Trail Hikers, the secret government agency that he worked for, and his sole focus was to break up the ROC’s hold on the East Coast.

“I’m not a girl, and my head isn’t that messed up. It is you, isn’t it?” At least she’d lowered her voice. It wouldn’t be a surprise to her to know he was still doing undercover work. How could she forget? It had been the death knell of their marriage.

Coral’s initial appearance of frailty after the conk on her head had morphed into righteous anger. He didn’t blame her, but he couldn’t keep looking at her. Three long years without one glance at her, without her eyes on him, without the sound of her voice, threatened to destroy any focus he had left.

He gave himself a quick mental shake. If she didn’t get them killed with her words, he was going to blow it with his inability to block out the distraction that was Coral.

“We have to get out of here.” He addressed the other two men, both young and not the brightest, working for Ivanov, the ROC head honcho. “The cops are com-ing. You two take off. I’ll meet up later. I’ll take care of her, trust me.” He nodded at the road, and the two men craned their necks to verify his claim. The sirens screamed in the night, and he saw the flashing lights move down the highway in the distance. He took the opportunity to lift Coral from her bent position and pulled her up against him, his arm raised as if he was going to strike her.

“Don’t talk. Follow my lead. And don’t say my name again.” He murmured into her ear, his lips against her skin out of necessity. He couldn’t risk the others hearing him. “Now yell when I move my arm, like I’ve hit you.”

Coral’s strangled gasp nearly threw him out of his reality as an undercover agent posing as a working ROC stiff. Her voice tried to drag his mind back to hazy, hot California days when they’d spent all day in bed, getting up only to eat. It wasn’t fair that a single sound from her still did this to him. That the sur-real connection they shared hadn’t perished with their marriage.

“Kill her now, Grish.” Adam was pissed, in pain from the gunshot wound, and wanted Trevor to prove he wasn’t Trevor, that Coral really was suffering from a severe head trauma. ROC agents weren’t high on trust, and Trevor, as Grisha, was new to their local group.

“It’d be stupid to do it here. She’s easier to move while she can still walk. Let me take care of her, then I’ll come back for you both. Stay low, don’t use your flashlights. The police will stop at the farmhouse first. We’ve got time.” He wrapped his arm around Coral’s waist—she was thinner, but still steely strong—and half dragged, half ran with her to where he’d seen her car earlier in the day, when he’d made his own excursion out here.

Self-recrimination threatened to stop him in his tracks as he knew he should have made doubly sure she wouldn’t be on the property when ROC came looking for Markova’s treasure. But he’d run out of time to verify his source who’d told him she’d be out tonight. Even with her being here, he’d never have expected she’d catch them—usually his ROC associates were somewhat competent. Unlike these two.

Thank God for inept thugs.

When they were what he estimated was halfway to her car, he pulled out his pistol and held her tight with his other arm. “Hang on. I’m going to shoot at the ground, to let them think it’s you.” He quickly fired two shots at the dirt, making sure the bullets had nothing to bounce off, making it sound like he’d just eliminated a witness.

The sirens were close, and he saw the patrols turn into the long drive leading to the barn area.

“What are you doing here, Trevor?” Her voice shook, but he couldn’t tell if it was shock or anger. Probably both.

“I’ll explain later. Right now we can’t be seen by anyone.”

“But that’s the police—I called them.”

“I can’t be spotted, and for now you’re with me.” He had no way of knowing which officers were re-porting, and he couldn’t risk being taken into custody. Only two SVPD officers were cut in on his deep undercover work.

Now the woman on his arm was one more added to the list of people in the know. The woman he’d never forgotten, whom he’d still go through hell and damnation for. His ex-wife, Coral.

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Monthly Status Update: June

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June started out VERY strong for me reading wise since I was “off the grid” but then once I was back from vacation I had so much work to do it was hard to get much reading done. Here are some reading highlights from June for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 13
# pages read this month: 3,993
# books read year-to-date: 45
# pages read year-to-date: 14,574

Other Posts this month:

Nothing else for this month

Favorite books from this month:

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren (4.75 stars – love all their books)

Year One by Nora Roberts (4.5 stars – different and really interesting)

Next Month TBR List:

  • One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  • Incognito Ex by Geri Krotow

And then I’ll also be catching up on backlog! I’ve been reading more lately from my personal library too (both physical copies and kindle copies) and I love the balance I’ve been finding between reading things that I’m scheduled to read and reading things just because I want to read them. And I’ve been participating in a book club again which I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to sitting in the sun and reading during the warm and sunny month of July. Happy reading everyone! And I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend!

2020 Monthly Status Update: May

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May was another great reading month for me! I’ve been able to spend a lot of time at home lately and in between working I’ve been loving all the reading time I get. I also participated in a reading challenge in May so that allowed me to really focus more time on reading. Here are some reading highlights from May for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 4,086
# books read year-to-date: 32
# pages read year-to-date: 10,581

Other Posts this month:

A Royal Kiss and Tell BLOG TOUR!!

LOTS of posts with the Bout of Books 28 reading challenge

Favorite books from this month:

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan – 4.5 stars (I didn’t read this for the blog but because I heard about it on the Podcasts I listen to and it is SO GOOD but VERY intense so just be prepared to devour it in one sitting and to be emotional)

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – 4.25 stars

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – 4.25 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • A Woman Alone by Nina Laurin
  • Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair by Kyra Radcliff

 

And then I’ll be catching up on backlog! And reading a couple things from my own library! I’ll be traveling to a vacation spot this weekend and I’ll spend all week next week in paradise with not much to do other than reading! Which I am very much looking forward to. Happy reading everyone!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 7 & Wrap Up

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I’ve participated in the Bout of Books reading challenges in the past few years and I’m usually able to get a good amount of reading done – I’ve found it’s a great way to help me focus on reading and have concentrated reading time. I was especially excited for this month’s Bout of Books since 1) I have a lot of time to relax at home right now (welcome to the pandemic) 2) I had a pretty bad reading slump this year and didn’t read for almost two months so I’m looking forward to diving into some great reads and 3) work this year has been intense so I was more eager than ever for some relaxation time!! I got a good amount of reading done this week and it was great to spend some time focused on the blog and participating in the challenges.

First let’s do my Day 7 (Sunday) update on reading.

Update

Sunday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 146 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,412 pages
Books read: Started Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich
Challenges: I did tweet about Sunday’s challenge which was just a stretch goal challenge!

And now let’s look at how I fared for my overall Bout of Books 28 wrap up:

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least an hour Monday and Tuesday and then from there I’m hoping to read at least 3 hours a day, hopefully more.
I met the daily reading goal all of the days! Overall the pandemic really helped me since I can’t exactly go anywhere. I honestly probably would’ve gotten more reading done but I started playing a game in an app on my phone and it quickly got me addicted so I was distracted for some of the days. Overall I read over 23 hours for the challenge so I’d call that a success!

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. I’d really like to just focus on getting back into reading and devouring my books. My traditional busy season at work goes from January to April and it was a killer this year, especially with all the additional issues presented with the pandemic. I gave up on reading for pretty much February through the beginning of April since all I was doing was making myself more tired staying up too late reading. I’ve just recently picked up reading again and it’s been going well but I need to get back on board with my reading schedule and catch up on books I missed over the last couple months!

I was able to read every day, which was probably easier than normal since I took the second half of the week off of work.  I also participated in 5 out of the 7 daily challenges, the two that I missed were logistical issues.

Books to Read

  • Finish Outfox by Sandra Brown – Done! Review will be posted later this week
  • Read Close Up by Amanda Quick – Read and reviewed
  • Read BuzzBooks Romance sampler – Read and reviewed
  • Read Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia – Read and reviewed
  • Read Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – Read and reviewed
  • Read a book I own (TBD) – Skipped
  • Read Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich – Started on last day of challenge but haven’t finished yet

Overall I thought I did super well with this challenge and made a lot of time for reading! I’m hoping to also participate in the August Bout of Books this year but that will be dependent on a few scheduling items. Either way, I had a great time this past week! Happy reading everyone!