Tag: fictionbooks

Dan & Kara’s Story all in one place–plus meet their families

Welcome back to the world of Gansett Island, as one of the island’s favorite couples finally gets their own book. The couple: Dan Torrington & Kara Ballard.

Now…if you’ve been reading the Gansett Island series by Marie Force, you know that Dan & Kara’s story has plays out over several different books—they’ve been a ‘featured’ couple—but never the ‘main’ couple of a book. That all changes with this particular book, we get to revisit their whirling romance on Gansett Island, and get bits and pieces of their lives before coming to Gansettt and when they’ve been ‘off-island’ as well.

So why are they getting their own book now? Well—have you read Hurricane After Dark (the latest in the Gansett Island series)? If you have—you know how that particular book ended…and without giving away any spoilers—it’s exactly how this book ends as well.

I loved this book—Dan and Kara have always been a favorite couple within the series, and it was nice getting some of history (both as individuals and as a couple)—not to mention a different ‘view’ of a certain event from a previous Gansett Island book (the boys’ sailboat accident). Yes—I did just refer to the McCarthy men & their friends as ‘boys’.

I look forward to the new series coming out later this year or early next year, and I still hope that Dan & Kara will be popping in every so often within Gansett as well. This is a great book to not only introduce you to a beloved couple from Gansett Island—but the rest of the group as well, in addition to new individuals that will be popping up in the spinoff series Downeast (again later this year—or probably early next year). I give this prequel five out of five stars and will be going back to re-reading it numerous times throughout the rest of 2024. 

So–grab a cup of coffee (or tea), a cozy chair and settle in to catch up with friends both old and new.

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Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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Second-chance Romance: Everett & Bethany’s chance…Review of The Path to You

Welcome back to Texas, and the Wilder brothers.

The Path to You is Everett’s and Bethany’s story.

Bethany was briefly introduced in ‘Always the One for Me’ as a guest at one of the weddings held at Wilder Resorts.

Everett has the feeling that he’s met Bethany before…but that ‘couldn’t have happened’…he’s just a Wilder and she’s a movie star.

Now, Bethany is back at the resort hiding out after her current relationship crashes and burns.

She confronts Everett—and they both get some startling news…

Him—they had met before and shared a wonderful weekend together…

Her—he suffered a traumatic brain injury overseas, that resulted in loss of memory of basically anything that occurred within a few months prior to his injury—including their time together.

Can they now make a run at being a couple…or will Bethany’s stalker get in the way…

The answers and more can be found within the pages of ‘The Path to You’.

I absolutely loved Everett’s and Bethany’s story, and can’t wait for the stories for the last three Wilder brothers—therefore, I’m going to have to wait until I’ve read all of them before I can chose my absolute favorite story.

If you like growly, slightly grumpy heroes and heroines that can also save the day—I suggest picking up a copy of The Path to You (or really any of Carrie Ann Ryan’s books).

The Path to You is a five out of five star, and highly recommended read.

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Procrastination…derails majority of December’s progress

My apologies for ‘disappearing’ last month…my other laptop more or less died on me…and I was sulking and scared to see if I could pull anything off the backup hard drive. Needless to say–I’m going to strive to be better (or more consistent) in posting here, and on other sites as well.

So we’re officially in 2023…today is New Year’s Day–and I’m aiming to see the silver lining daily.

That means we have a new ‘blank slate’ for writing our life story…we have 365-days to progress towards our goals or potentially wallow in our comfort zone…personally I’m aiming towards making significant progress towards my goals this year.

The last third of 2022 was not an easy time…and it’s going to be bleeding over into the start of 2023…

The ongoing family medical issue is still ongoing…and currently we’re having to look into long-term skilled nursing facilities…with the small hope that she’ll recover enough there to be able to come home at some point this year.

While I’m happy that 2022 is over…it could have left on a slightly nicer note—we had to deal with a flat tire on our way home yesterday from visiting family in the hospital. Yet another little expense we weren’t expecting for early January. 

I’m working at looking for silver linings daily…cause life still has me feeling massively burnt out—and I know that it’s also part psychological…

I’m hoping that by the end of the year—I have a better grasp on my mental health…though I won’t be surprised if at some point I do get diagnosed with moderate cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘November in Review’ on December 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 100.6 million cases and now as of January 1st —we have reached just a little over 102.5 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are going up slightly…but that probably is due to the holidays and everyone traveling.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I’m boosted, but still wearing a mask if going into stores—because I haven’t gotten my flu shot yet…

Still trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—therefore, I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for January, it’s time to look back at the goals I set for December and see how I did with each of them. The goals for December included:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Get the second blog up and going
  9. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing
  11. Setting up goals/ ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

So how did I do with each of them?

120-155K steps:

I barely managed to hit the minimum goal–but I did and slightly surpassed it at 121,549 total steps for December.

Partial walk at Boomer Lake and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day:

No walks at Boomer last month, and while I in theory had five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement I still haven’t gotten around to writing down what those intentional movements were (just going by the ‘active’ minutes on the fitness watch).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…partially read several non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them yet.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

Managed to read four and they were:

  1. Billionaire Unclaimed: Chase (The Billionaire’s Obsession #18) by J.S. Scott
  2. State of Shock (First Family #4) by Marie Force
  3. Only Mine (Honey Mountain #5) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Tor’s Solstice Surprise (Dragon Knights novella) by Bianca D’Arc

Still need to write min book reviews for these plus The Path to You (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Commit to the no spend challenge:

Only managed to do barely half the month in terms of no-spend days. Due to the ongoing family medical issue—I’ve fallen back into the bad habit of spending money on things that (at times) I don’t really need.

Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings

I’ve more or less managed to meditate and/or sit quietly each night…managed daily gratitude journal entries, and did daily oracle card drawings (might not have written them down though).

Craft time:

Finished the second abstract needlepoint project:

Second abstract needlepoint project finished off with buttons.

Slowly starting a third needlepoint project as well.

Get the second blog up and running

Nope…once again–one of the bigger goals for January

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…didn’t work through any modules of any course this past month

Writing, writing, and writing:

Did do some writing…though once the other computer started to act up–the writing and research kinda fell by the wayside…so I need to get back into the habit yet again.

Setting up goals/’master’ plan for 2023-2028

I’m slowly setting up the goals for 2023 (BINGO card style) and am working on the ‘master’ plan for the year and beyond. I know that my new normal is probably going to consist of a family member being in an assisted living facility now (though hopefully within a few months if they make enough progress they may be able to come home)…which means I can focus more on moving my life forward instead of being in a slight limbo of not knowing what is going on.

So, a little progress was made during December…and I feel like I’m already ten miles behind on what I need to be doing for 2023. At least I have the master tracking sheets for January set up (managed to finish those this morning)…and I have a couple of ideas of how to continue to make progress on time/project management as I head into 2023.

Goals are going to be in the BINGO card format—I’m also going to be copying those BINGO cards into my weekly/daily journal planner—so that I can actually reference back to them more than just once a month (or year).

In addition, I’ve removed the Facebook app from the phone (as one way of helping to save money—since that is one of paths of my book buying splurges), and will be deleting the Farmville 2 app from the kindle again (started playing that again mid-month and spent a little too much money on it)…or just play it slowly.

In addition I’m going to attempt to re-download and make use of the self-control app (blocking myself from Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and various other sites during the day)—hopefully it will work on the newer computer (for some reason it stopped working on the older one several months ago).

So, what does that mean for January and 2023 in general??

Well, hopefully I’ll be cutting down on the amount of debt I have (aiming to go at least 27 or 28 days of each month without spending any money)…goal is to have the debt down somewhere between a quarter and three-fourths by Dec 31st.

It also means that I’ve gotten serious about research/writing/content creation and am posting/publishing on multiple sites on a fairly consistent basis.

So what are the goals going to be for January?? Well, the major goals are going to be:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movmemnet each day (starting to also keep track of what that intentional movement is)
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Write at least three mini book reviews
  6. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aim for at least 25 days; goal being 28-29)
  7. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Get the second blog up and running
  10. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  11. Writing, writing, and writing
  12. Finishing the ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

These goals are probably going to be staying the same throughout the year…the step goal will change monthly (going up and down)…and once I have my ‘master’ plan for the next few years drafted—the final goal will change or possibly disappear.

I know where my ‘distractions’ are…and all I need to do now is develop a plan/schedule for working around them (since a big part of my ‘distractions’ are reading and/or playing various games on the kindle).

2023 is going to be the year of success, progress, and change…every little step forward is a step towards those dreams.

Therefore I will also be leaning more into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

They’ll be giving me ample practice at time and project management–and these also go hand in hand with consistency and productivity.

In addition the words I’m choosing for 2023 will also include: Change, Strength, Health, Self-care, and purpose.

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Finding their way back to each other: Review of Always the One for Me–Evan & Kendall’s story.

Welcome back to Texas and the Wilder brothers…

‘Always the One for Me’ takes place shortly after ‘One Way Back to Me’ and features Evan and Kendall.

Evan and Kendall have a history and past—they met on a plane to Vegas, had a whirlwind romance and got married.

Then things fell apart…or more specifically—Evan had a hair-brain idea on how to keep Kendall safe…

Now Evan is out of the military and trying to run a resort/winery combo with his brothers in the middle of Texas.

One position that needs to get filled—head chef

The top candidate happens to be Kendall, Evan’s ex-wife.

Promising to be civil to each other, she’s hired as the head chef for the Wilder Resort and Winery.

Well, they still have chemistry through the roof…

Can they have the discussion—that they should have had years ago, and find their way back to each other?

What types of trouble will the Dodge family try this time?

The answers to these, and a wonderfully written enemies-to-lovers story can be found within the pages of ‘Always the One for Me’.

I absolutely love this series and am waiting for the other brothers to get their happily-ever-afters before I try to pick a favorite.

I’m also hoping for more guest appearances by their in-laws up in Colorado as well.

While this review is late (Always the One for Me has been available on-line for a few months now)—I give it a solid five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who love the Montgomery Ink world, or who wants to give Carrie Ann Ryan’s books a try.

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What ties the Montgomery generations together? Cheese, ink, & family

Welcome back to Colorado, and the next generation of Montgomerys.

Bittersweet Promises is the ‘kick-off’ book for Montgomery Ink Legacy series—which will be following all the ‘kids’ of the original Montgomerys as they navigate adulthood—honoring their parents’ legacy—but at the same time carving their own paths.

Bittersweet Promises is Leif and Brooke’s story.

Leif is all grown up, and while he’s opened another tattoo shop—he’s still figuring out life…

Like will he find the type of connection he had years ago in Paris??

Brooke is now a single mother, who packed everything up and moved back to Denver—taking a professor position at the local university.

As they start to unpack, a neighbor offers to rope her cousin into helping them unpack—and who is the cousin—none other than Leif Montgomery…

Their paths haven’t crossed in years…since Paris…can they talk and find their way back to each other?

They both have issues to work through…

Leif still struggles with early childhood memories, and trying to figure out who is sending him ‘odd messages’.

Brooke is trying to her son settled, and get a lab up and running…and not everyone is happy to see her…

Will they overcome their obstacles and find their way back to each other?

The answers…plus guest appearances by numerous Montgomerys can be found within the pages of Bittersweet Promises—which is now available for purchase everywhere.

I absolutely loved this book and the premise for the series—the next generation of Montgomery kids all grown up and making their own paths. What I really love—is the glimpse of the original Montgomerys—because lets face it, I don’t see any of the Montgomerys just sitting back and letting their kids face the unknown and possible dangers.

Of course, there is cheese, snarkiness, and just a feeling of coming home when you start reading any book within the Montgomery Ink World.

I’m looking forward to the next several books in the series, and can’t wait to read Lake’s story.

Bittersweet Promises, Montgomery Ink Legacy #1 is a five out five star book

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Nico & Sofia’s Story: How Much I Want; Miami Nights #4

‘How Much I Want’, is bringing us back to Miami and the Giordino family and friends.

‘How Much I Want’ can be seen as a continuation of Nochebuena (the Miami Nights holiday story)—though you don’t necessarily have to read it before starting ‘How Much I Want’.

This is Nico & Sofia’s story.

Sofia and her son Mateo were introduced in the first book of the series ‘How Much I Feel’, and have been spotted throughout the other books as well.

Nico is the older brother to Maria, Dee, and Milo and cousin to Carmen, Domenic Jr. and others.

Nico had the reputation of a player, but was working on changing after meeting Sofia when she started working at his family’s restaurant.

Sofia has her plate full—working, taking care of her son, and finalizing her divorce.

Image (c) Wildfire Marketing Solutions

She’s noticed Nico, but at the same time has ‘sworn’ off relationships.

What happens when the relationship-shy Sofia decides to give Nico a chance?

Mix in the possibly dangerous ex, ‘lost’ family, and the rest of the Giordino family—and you have ‘How Much I Want’.

So pull up a seat, a cool beverage, and a fan; then sit back and enjoy ‘How Much I Want’. I loved the latest trip down to Miami, and I may decide to binge read the series again on the next stormy, rainy day that I’m stuck inside.

I give ‘How Much I Want’ five out five stars, and I totally loved Nico and Sofia’s story. I look forward to the next story in the series, and can’t wait to see how the family grows.

Another winner by Marie Force.

This is an ARC review and all images have been supplied by Wildfire Marketing Solutions

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Introducing the first of the Wilder Brothers: Eli

Welcome to Texas, and the Wilder brothers series.

This is a ‘spin-off’ series focusing on Eliza’s brothers (who were first briefly introduced in Inked Obsession [book two of the Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins mini-series]).

One Way Back to Me is the first in the series and focuses on Eli and Alexis and takes place about two years after ‘A Night for Us’ (the free prequel to the series).

Eli and his brothers bought land from a retired Air Force general, and are slowly figuring out the ‘civilian’ life—including how to run a resort and winery.

Each brother has their own little piece, and the resort and winery are going well—but they need a wedding coordinator.

They’ve gone through two wedding coordinators in two years, and are desperate for one that will last.

Who should apply for the job—the one woman that Eli didn’t think he’d ever see again—Alexis.

Alexis applies for the job, as she is need of a new beginning after the disastrous end to her marriage.

The brothers hire her on as the new wedding coordinator for the Wilder Retreat and Winery.

Alexis and Eli realize that their attraction to each other wasn’t just a ‘one-night’ thing.

While they’re trying to figure out their relationship—someone comes ‘knocking’.

What does Alexis’s ex want? How big of a pain will the Dodge family be, and who is being hired as the top chef???

The answers to those questions, and a ‘surprise’ visit from a few familiar faces from Colorado can be found within the pages of ‘One Way Back to Me’.

I absolutely loved this book and the introduction of Eliza’s brothers. I will freely admit that when I read she had six brothers—I had my fingers crossed that there would be another spinoff series.

Carrie Ann did not disappoint with this book. I loved Eli and Alexis’s story, and am going to have to hold off until all of the Wilder boys get their happily-ever-after before I can decide on my ‘favorite’.

So, grab a drink, pull up a chair and settle in to find out what the Wilder boys are up to and I’m hoping to see a glimpse of Eliza and family in each additional book.

I give ‘One Way Back to Me’ five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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Warning: Ranting and reviewing last months goals. 2022 is becoming a rocky road.

So, we’re two months into 2022, and I’m getting really tired of living through historical events. I’m hoping to ‘reset’ come March, and become a little more productive than I’ve been the past two months.

I mentioned last month, that I felt like I should treat January as the ‘tester’ month—well, if January was the ‘tester’ month, February was ‘flat’ and I need to really ‘reset’ this coming month and figure out the daily schedule—when I say I’m going to be working (researching/writing/editing, reading or doing crafts) and when I decide I’m done for the day.

So, we’re now about two weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘January in Review’ on February 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 76.2 million cases and now as of February 28th —we have reached a little over 80.6 million cases (an increase of a little over 4.2 million cases). Numbers are going down—I think in part to kids getting vaccinated (five and up), and others getting their booster shots.

So, why am I getting tired of living during historical events? Well, I could go on and on about the damn pandemic—but now it is the possibility of world war III that may be on the horizon that is pissing me off.

Last week Russia invaded Ukraine for absolutely no damn reason. While there have been swift sanctions against Russia, they haven’t stopped or turned around. My respect for the Ukrainian population is through the roof considering the odds against them. Also—I don’t hold anything against the general Russian population (considering the number of people who have been protesting the war, both in person and via writing). My irritation/grief/anger is towards particular individuals (whom I’m not naming—because I’m not giving them those ‘seconds’ of fame).

Somehow we need to develop both a universal anti-bullying law and a universal ‘pay/earning/savings’ cap and then work on improving education and other aspects of life.

Looking at the world—problems are arising from the huge gap in wealth between people. I truthfully don’t think that anyone needs to be a multi-billionaire or aim for becoming a trillionaire.

Also—there is no planet B, and trying to colonize Mars or the moon—that isn’t happening anytime soon. True there were plenty of sci-fi shows in the late 1990s/early 2000s that showed humans conquering space and starting colonies on far-flung planets—but that would require both belief and funding for science (two things lacking in the current day and age).

So, it would be nice if the huge companies would pay their employees above a ‘living’ wage, pay their fair share of taxes, and possibly give back to help protect the planet that we all call home.

So, in a nutshell—I’m tired of bullies (political/economical), and wondering when the next ‘disaster’ is going to strike. Therefore, before looking ahead to setting goals for March, I need to look back at the goals I set for February and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for February included:

  1. At least 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walking, chores, lifting weights, yoga, pilates, ect)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. No spend days/No-spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 120-140,000 steps; I actually managed to reach the goal step, and actually slightly surpassed it. I managed to get 140,796 steps in during February. This included mostly walks with Chaos through the neighborhood and a short walk at Boomer Lake. We had quite a few winter days (snow/ice) that had me house bound.

Daily Intentional Movements:

There was ‘daily’ movement—though some days it was just ‘wandering’ around the house. There were eight walks with Chaos, a short walk at Boomer Lake, a couple of times shoveling the driveway & sidewalk (snow and/or ice), and doing chores. I’m still in the process of ‘developing’ a intentional movement calendar/game-board.

Reading at least one non-fiction book:

The only non-fiction book that I finished this month was ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson. I have been bouncing between several others, and also added quite a few others to the reading list as well.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

So, I read numerous fiction books this past month—but have only done one mini-book review:

Inked Craving (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan

The other books that I read this month included:

  1. Tattered Stars by Catherine Cowles
  2. Rescuing Annie (Delta Force Heroes #12) by Susan Stoker
  3. Someone Like You (Wild Widows #1) by Marie Force
  4. Cry for Me by R. Sullins
  5. The Redeeming Love series (nine books) by J.E. Parker

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:

Didn’t do so well this month—my response to the possibility of the world ending is to spend money. Aiming to improve during the month of March—I’m planning on only a few ‘large’ orders from Amazon and the handful of e-book preorders.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings:

Time outdoors was dependent on the weather this month (as that is usually the case during the winter and/or summer months). I did manage to take Chaos for several walks, did a short walk at Boomer Lake (it was really windy that day), and spent some time outdoors.

Meditation/sitting quietly is still a work in progress. Due to elderly cats that are having ‘issues’, I’ve decided not to have a ‘permanent’ meditation area. Instead I’m in the process of designing an meditation area that can be put together when I want to meditate, and then taken apart afterwards.

I’m getting better at both daily gratitude journal entries and doing the daily oracle drawings. I only ‘missed’ a day or two of the drawings, and for the most part have managed to find something that I’m grateful for each evening.

Daily Craft time:

This is still something that I’m also working on improving. When I have ‘free-time’ I either decide to read, or possibly play the game Klondike. Though there have been a few days that I took the camera out, or did a color-by-number on the kindle. The craft goals for March include: a new cross-stitch project, and at least eight days of photography (either iPhone or actual camera).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I watched two short Skill Share courses on mind mapping:

Mind mapping-beginner’s guide and Mind Map Mastery

These two courses were chosen because I wanted to ‘refresh’ myself on the basics of mind mapping. Since I’m in the progress of trying to both increase and ‘diversify’ my writing portfolio (via the blog, LinkedIn, volunteer writing, and other future prospects)—I want a ‘better’ way of brainstorming (instead of just a ‘vomit’ list of words and bullet points).

So the only goal that I basically ‘missed’ was the limited spending challenge goal. I realize that I’m an impulsive buyer, and when I get frustrated/irritated/scared/angry I have a habit of spending money to make myself feel better. The goal moving forward—only to play Klondike in the morning and/or late evening (and only spend money on the game possibly once a week), read at least three non-fiction books before buying more, and to limit the ‘amazon’ purchases.

This coming month that will probably be limited to three (possibly four) purchases. I have a rather large one ready to buy (numerous spirituality books, dog treats, and some more thread for cross-stitching); I will need to purchase my niece her birthday present at the end of the month, and the download of turbo tax (on the compatible laptop).

There may also be one or two more donations to groups that are giving support to Ukraine during this shit-storm that they’re enduring.

Over the past few months (and if I’m honest—the past few years), I’ve had the silent debate on how to connect all of my various social media platforms together. We’ve all been told that when it comes to job searching (or even starting our own businesses) that there are certain topics shouldn’t be touched on (unless they’re the direction you’re going in). Those topics are usually politics and religion.

We’re told to keep things ‘neutral’ or to have more than one profile (and keep one of those ‘private’ to where it can’t be spotted), on these topics. I’d thought of doing that—but have come to the realization that I’m not going to do that.

I know what I believe in (education for all, human rights for all, women’s right to chose, climate change is real, freedom of religion, and freedom to marry who ever you want—just to name a few), and I do share memes and other things that point out when others in power don’t hold up to those beliefs—and I’m no longer going to apologize for my beliefs and stances.

With that being said, what are my goals for March?

March goals will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; Hopefully with heading towards spring, there can be at least one walk at Boomer Lake and several walks thorugh the neighborhood with Chaos
  2. Figuring out my intentional movement calendar/board-game (aim for at least five minutes of intentional movement each day)
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Finish two-to-four (if not more) fiction books
  5. Recommit to the limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings, and overall commitment to improving my mental and spiritual health
  7. Craft time–complete one new cross-stitch project and at least eight days of photography (iPhone or camera)
  8. Continue working on expanding my writing portfolio
  9. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

In addition to the above goals—I’m also going to work on improving my time and project management skills as well (as being better at both will help me reach the above goals and all other goals as well).

I’m also sending happy thoughts/good vibes to the people of Ukraine fighting for their country. War doesn’t solve anything, and as my grandfather (a WWII vet) stated: “War is hell”.

It seems that this decade isn’t going to be ‘smooth sailing’, and each year gets bumpier than the last. It seems that as a species, we have yet to ‘learn’, ‘process’, and ‘internalize’ that statement: ‘War is hell’. I’m afraid that until we manage to realize that, and fix a whole plethora of problems, we’re not going to escape the past—we’re going to keep repeating it (with different names and locations).

So, if you follow me on other sites—you will see me making political and religious statements. I won’t apologize for those statements, but will say this—if they (the statements/memes or whatever) make you upset/mad or whatever—ask yourself, why? I don’t share things to offend, but I do share to help try to educate, but also to show my stance of various topics.

Therefore on the eve of this new moon, I send healing thoughts and vibes to the people of Ukraine and Russia. Nothing is gained through the loss of lives…

Namaste…

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Back to the Montgomery Ink World: Review of Nothing But Ink

Welcome back to the Montgomery Ink world.

‘Nothing But Ink’ is set within the Fort Collins branch of the Montgomery family, and features Clay and Riggs.

The story also features an appearance by some of the members of the Denver branch of the family.

Clay is first introduced back in the ‘original’ Montgomery Ink world (Inked Expressions), and has grown up a lot since then.

Riggs was first introduced in ‘Inked Persuasion’ as the owner of a local bar ‘Riggs’ that the Montgomerys frequently go to.

Unknown to the others—Clay and Riggs knew each other in high school…

Coveted looks have been shared up to this point…when they take a night just for themselves.

Clay doesn’t think he has room for someone else in his present, not with having to care for his cousins…

Rigg’s past is back to haunt…

Can they find their way back to each other??

The answer, plus the more can be found within the pages of ‘Nothing But Ink’.

It was nice to see Clay and Riggs get their story, and to see how far Clay had grown since Inked Expressions.

I enjoy every trip back into the Montgomery Ink world (and probably should schedule a weekend to binge read all the interconnected series), and Nothing But Ink, delivered another breathtaking hit.

I give Nothing But Ink, five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who likes a second-chance romance and it’s a ‘perfect’ introduction to the world if you haven’t read any of the previous books.

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