Tag: romancebooks

Mix the birthday shots, sprinkled with a ‘little white lie’-equals Addison & Luca trying not to freak out

Welcome back to Colorado and the Cassidy brothers…and their friends (which may include an Montgomery or two). Last Minute Fiancé is Addison’s & Luca’s story and takes place shortly after Good Time Boyfriend.

Luca is the youngest Cassidy brother, and a vet…who has been dealt a little bit of heartbreak in the past. Addison is Denvey’s best friend, enjoys numbers, and is stuck in a job that she isn’t sure if she still loves or not. At a birthday party…they both might have had a few too many birthday shots & cake…and it might have led to a few things in the bedroom. 

What happens when you’re working in a male dominant field and find out that you might not get the promotion that you’re more than qualified for…because you’re a single, independent woman? Well…you might talk your best friend into going along with your little ‘white’ lie…that you’ve engaged…and, oh could he take the weekend off to come to a business retreat with you? After a little in-home test confirms something else?

What to do when you’re both freaking out about the results of that little in-home test, your boss is a giant a-hole, and your ex gets the promotion?

Throw in some family drama, wine, kittens and puppies—and you have the storyline for Last Minute Fiancé. To find out how Addison & Luca navigate the ups and downs of what life is throwing at time…plus catching up with Luca’s siblings—grab Last Minute Fiancé as soon as it comes out.

I love these little spin-off series that Carrie Ann does from the wider Montgomery Ink world. You not only get to know a wonderful group of people—but it gives you a lot of books to later buy and binge read. Last Minute Fiancé is a five out of five stars, and I can’t wait for the final book in this ‘short’ series, which is due out in October—but until then, grab a series (or two…or three) and get to know the Cassidy brothers, the Montgomerys, and all their friends and family.

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Finally getting Naomi & Amos’ full story…with a touch of cake, cheese, & wine

Welcome back to Texas and the Wilders. There’s a wedding coming up…but then again—there are always weddings, since the Wilder Retreat is a wedding venue.

But this is a special wedding…it’s a Wilder wedding.  But the main scope of the story—is that Naomi & Amos finally get their time in the spotlight.

Naomi & Amos have been around the Wilders since the beginning…they were actually employees that decided to stay on when the Wilders bought the winery/resort from the previous owner.

Throughout the books—they’ve had an on/off relationship…but it all comes full circle in A Wilder Wedding.

I loved seeing Naomi & Amos get their time in the spotlight…and Amos did need to have a little sense knocked into him by the Wilders.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Wilders—you know who’s getting married…and if you haven’t…well you should probably grab the last book (or two) to catch up with everything that’s been happening around the Wilders.

It wouldn’t be a Wilder book if there wasn’t just a little bit of mayhem…because they seem to attract it like honey. 

What mayhem? Well—it’s a little bit of family drama (possibly not the Wilders), and just a little bit of drama in general.

I give A Wilder Wedding five out of five stars. I love this series, and am glad that there were the cousins to bring in to keep it going for a while longer. I’m looking forward to Wyatt’s story later in the year.

The best thing about A Wilder Wedding—you technically don’t need to have read the rest of the books in the series…this is a perfect ‘introduction’ to the loud and loving Wilder family.

A Wilder Wedding will be available to purchase on Monday May 13 from all online bookstores. So plan on taking Monday afternoon off…grab a cup of tea (or coffee, or whatever), a good chair and settle in to visit some possibly new friends down in Texas as they come together to host a family wedding.

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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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Greer, Noah & Ford: The Latest Montgomery Ink Poly Family

Welcome back to Colorado and the Montgomery Ink family…where the next generation is taking center stage.

Best Friend Temptation takes place shortly after Longtime Crush and is Greer, Noah, and Ford’s story.

Greer was introduced in Longtime Crush—she’s Raven’s best friend and business partner in the bakery that is next door to the Montgomery Ink Legacy tattoo parlor.

Noah works with family security company, and is the son of Maya, Jake, and Border (the original Montgomery Ink trio).

Ford Carr is Noah’s best friend, and a fellow employee in the security business.

Greer has a crush on both Noah and Ford…but doesn’t think anything would come of acting on it…as she thinks they’re a couple and she doesn’t want to get between them.

Ford and Noah….have feelings for each other…and are both crushing on Greer…

Men…especially when one is a Montgomery…have the tendency to over-think things…

Greer becomes their roommate after her rental house is set on fire and she needs a place to stay.

As they navigate becoming roommates and housemates…they all realize they want more—together.

Strange things then start happening…

Can the three of them figure out what is causing the strange (and sometime dangerous) incidents? Will they figure out that they’re perfect together? The answers and more are within the pages of Best Friend Temptation.

I always love returning to the Montgomery Ink world…it’s catching up with old friends and making new. This book was an extra treat—we got to meet Ford & Greer’s siblings…siblings that are probably going to get their own spin-off series…which means more sightings of Ford, Greer, and Noah in the future.

I also loved this book, because it gave a chance to catch up a little with Maya, Jake, and Border and see some of the other Montgomery Ink family members.

Five out of five stars. So, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever; a comfortable chair, and a copy of Best Friend Temptation—the best way to spend a Monday night.

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The nanny and tattoo artist: Review of Happily Ever Never

Welcome back to Colorado and the next generation of Montgomerys.

What I love about Carrie Ann Ryan’s series is that secondary characters are never overlooked. Usually one or two couples get their happily ever afters via novellas.

Happily Ever Never is one of those stories, and is May and Leo’s story.

Both May and Leo were first introduced in Bittersweet Promises (the first of the Montgomery Ink Legacy series).

Leo is a tattoo artist at Montgomery Ink Legacy (the tattoo shop run by Lief, Nick, Sebastian and Lake).

We first met May on her one and only blind date with Lief, and then she became the nanny to Brooke’s son Luke in Bittersweet Promises.

May had made a promise to her father—to keep looking until she found her happily-ever-after.

She made a deal with family members—every other blind date—they’d chose her date.

She feels she’s become the ‘queen’ of first dates…as no one sparks enough interest for a second date.

She then decides to swear off dating after a specially horrendous one results in her car getting totaled.

Leo has a crush on May…but doesn’t want to potentially mess up the dynamics of all their little groups…and foolishly listens to the other guys.

Which results in him managing to mess things up for awhile…

To find out how Leo fixes things…and how many ‘first’ dates they go on…pick up a copy of Happily Ever Never today.

Happily Ever Never is a five out five star read, and I love the glimpses into lives of all the Montgomerys…looking forward to the series continuing.

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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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July in Review: Reading, meditation, & spirituality goals on track

So, we’re in August—which means we’re now over halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: five months; or 153 days; roughly 21.9 weeks; or 3,672 hours.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

While the year isn’t totally mellowing, I think things are ‘slowing down’…though to be truthful, I’ve been staying away from the news for the most part this past month.

I’m still pissed about the supreme court overturning Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

It also seems that the US ha fallen into yet another recession—which is going to make finding a job a little more difficult (but I need to find something so that I can start really paying down the damn credit cards that I’ve overused the past eight months).

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘June in Review’ on July 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 89.3 million cases and now as of August 1st —we have reached just a little under 93.1 million cases (an increase of a about 3.8 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

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

I will probably getting my booster shot within a couple of weeks—only because I plan on possibly trying to find something on campus (in terms of potential part-work).

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for August (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them. The goals for July included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least sixteen days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps:

I missed the minimum goal by about 5,000 steps. I only managed to get in 130,460 steps during July. It was an extremely hot month, and I only managed to do a single partial walk up at Boomer Lake.

While there were weekly walks up to the corner store to get the weekend newspaper–majority of the week I was only averaging about 3,000 steps per day.

One walk at Boomer Lake, and five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake last week. The temperatures were usually in the upper 70s/low 80s by the time I’d normally be walking on the weekends. When you add in the humidity and total sun—I decided not to risk heat stroke/illness by walking.

Finishing at least one non-fiction book:

I finished the following:

  1. Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology by Michael J Benton
  2. HUSH MONEY: How one woman proved systemic racism in her workplace and kept her job by Jacquie Abram, Deborah Harris, and Delilah Harris
  3. Locked in Time: Animal Behavior unearthed in 50 extraordinary fossils by Dean R. Lomax and Robert Nicholls

Which brings my non-fiction reading to ten books so far for 2022. If I want meet the ‘original’ goal I set of 24 books read in 2022, that means I need to basically read three non-fiction books a month for the rest of the year.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published):

I finished:

  1. Along Came You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Buroga
  2. Grace Under Fire (Buchanan/Renard/MacKeena #14) by Julie Garwood
  3. Resilience After Dark (Gansett Island #25) by Marie Force (Book review written)
  4. Love Under Two Architects (Lusty, Texas #46) by Cara Covington

I think I was also rereading various books by Julie Garwood and Marie Force to get ready for the latest in both of their series.

Which brings me to 67 total new fiction books read this year so far…and considering how many I’ve bought hut haven’t read yet.I could probably triple this number if I didn’t have various other things to also be doing during the day.

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (goal is at least 16 days)

I’m getting better at this…managed to do not quite two-thirds of the month with no spending (managed 20 days)…There were several large purchases this past month (including numerous e-books). The goal for August—is a single purchase from Amazon (in addition to any books pre-ordered).

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

Well, the time outdoors for the most part was only in the evenings when I took the dogs out. We were in the triple digits for most of July, and when its like 81F feeling like 87F at 7am—I just didn’t feel like dealing with humidity for any long walks.

I managed all three of the other goals: evening meditations (I’ve started using soothing pod meditations and can usually keep the eyes close for half if not all the practice); I did a daily oracle card drawing and wrote one thing I was grateful for each night in my journal.

I think it helped that I had all three down on my July BINGO card.

Craft time:

I managed to do a little photography and spend some time on Canva, plus doing some color-by-number on the kindle.

I should get back to the needlepoint and/or jewelry creation (would be a good use of time, when I ‘unplug’ at 8pm).

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

I finished the last module for the medical writers organization (just need to do the assignments and post those within the Facebook group to possibly get the certificate of completion).

I also started watching the course on podcasting (its about seven hours), but decided its on hold until I either get the microphone and other equipment needed or download an voice recording app on the computer to play with (macs don’t come with that app preinstalled).

In addition I also started watching the course on infoprenuer: create information products and online courses on Udemy.

Writing, writing, and more writing:

In terms of writing—I’d managed to get a good amount done (there were the weekly assignments for medical news bulletin); I’m continuing with a weekly ‘post’ series on LinkedIn (molecular cloning step-by-step), and I’m starting a thoughtful Thursday post series as well.

There were only a handful of posts written for the blog though (something I’m working on changing).

I realize that with pivoting the blog to be more multi-facet (including science/medical/health topics in addition to the normal creative/reflective/hobby posts)—I may be both gaining followers and possibly losing followers (via wordpress) as well.

But that is what happens when you start trying to really figure out who you are, who your ideal ‘client’ base is, and the types of posts you’re going to be putting out.

So I did manage to get a BINGO for July…just not sure what the reward for that BINGO is going to be yet.

July BINGO Card

It was almost two BINGOS–but I haven’t changed the url of the blog, and the editorial calendar is still a work in progress.

In addition I set up a BINGO card for August as well…I’m finding it a little easier to work towards goals, if I have a way of checking them off that’s fun.

August BINGO card

You might notice that I ‘messed’ up a square–I accidentally put meditation down twice on my list of items for the August BINGO card, which meant I accidentally put it down twice on the card….

The website addy/url will probably be changed at the end of the week. I’d made a rookie mistake last month—I’d come up with several ideas for new urls, but totally forgot to see if any were already in use/claimed.

I ran a poll on LinkedIn to get some feedback, and when I decided yesterday to check on the status of the winner (plus some runner-ups), I found they were all in use. Which meant back the drawing board in terms of ideas, and another poll on LinkedIn.

Though, the ‘winner’ seems pretty obvious even this early in the duration of the poll (one week), that I will probably be updating it on Friday (August 5th).

I have it as a goal (on the August BINGO card) to create a editorial calendar for both the blog and then LinkedIn as well. This means I’ll have an idea of how often I’m posting and what posts require more ‘research’ than others (for both the blog & LinkedIn).

If I try to have a similar posting schedule of original content—I’d be driving myself crazy.

LinkedIn is going to have three ‘long’ post series (Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays), plus I do a reintroduction post on Mondays; which leaves Wednesday and the weekends.

The weekends are networking time (Saturday is the big day via different social Saturday threads), and self-care time.

Wednesday may be a random type of post (I’d been thinking Wednesday wisdoms, but it may vary).

The blog on the other hand, is where I need to be careful…

People have signed up to be notified when I post a new blog post…I’m pretty sure they don’t want to be getting a daily email stating that there is something new. Therefore I’m going to try to have most weeks be just one or two posts; though there will be some weeks when there are more (depending on books I read and write reviews over, new/full moon goals and review, month in review and so forth).

Currently I’m thinking of starting a Tuesday science blog series, working with molecular cloning and then come September work in the Friday medical topic blog series.

Some weeks may have numerous posts, other weeks only two. Plus I’m going to be working on getting the various birds’ pages up and published (so there will be a blog post here and there covering the various bird pages that are getting published).

With all that said, what are my goals for August? They will include:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 20 days; goal is 30)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

In that regard—I will probably ‘unplug’ from the computer around 8pm or so in order to just read or possibly work on a craft project (or even brainstorm/mind-map an outline for a science topic).

So—how has your summer been progressing, and which goals are you finding it easier to keep?

Namaste….

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Review of Inked Temptation: The end of an ‘era’

Welcome back to the Montgomery Ink world! We’re back in Fort Collins, Colorado and Archer is finally getting his happily-ever-after.

Inked Temptation takes place about a year or so after Inked Craving and features Archer and Killian.

Archer is the last ‘single’ Montgomery…and he’s trying to figure out what he wants after his marriage ended…Yes, Marc is no longer in the picture…

He decides to do a lot of the remodeling of a cabin on his own…and literally falls for his neighbor…

Killian is trying to make peace with his past and wanting to be left alone with his dog…

While the ‘neighbors’ might be growly towards each other…maybe they’re just what the other needs…

Though someone seems to be out to cause problems for Killian…

Will these two realize that while they may not be ‘perfect’, they’re ‘perfect’ for each other?

The answer to that question, plus finding out who is causing problems for Killian, in addition to seeing all the Montgomerys can be found within the pages of ‘Inked Temptation’.

I absolutely adored the book and was happy to see Archer getting his happily-ever-after (Marc just didn’t seem like the ‘fit’ for him). While I’m ‘sad’ to see the end of this group of Montgomerys—I can’t wait to see what is in store with the next generation…I’m going to assume a little ink, and probably a whole lot of cheese.

I give Inked Temptation five out of five stars and highly recommend any Montgomery Ink book as a jumping off point into the Montgomery Ink World.

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Six months down…six months to go…June Goals in Review

So, we’re in July—which means we’re halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: six months; or 184 days; roughly 26.3 weeks; or 4,416 hours.

Whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

The year isn’t mellowing at all…and seems to be trying to spiral downhill faster and faster each month…

The supreme court overturned Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

Thanks to six jackasses on the court (all of which should be impeached for lying under oath—opinion on Roe v Wade is usually asked during their confirmation hearings and at least five stated it was law) I have to add another layer to the job search (figuring out which companies are going to support women’s right to choose).

Needless to say—the anxiety has been acting up royally.

Now it is easier to get a damn assault rifle than it is for a woman to get life saving medical care.

It’s time to end the filibuster, expand the court, and enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘May in Review’ on June 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 85.9 million cases and now as of July 1st —we have reached just a little over 89.3 million cases (an increase of a about 3.4 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

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

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for July (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them. The goals for June included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish two non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini-book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps:

I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps in for the month…144,303 steps to be exact. I managed to be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum in terms of steps—I would have been able to hit and surpass the goal if the weather had been slightly cooler (I only managed two walks up at Boomer this past month).

At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed two walks up at Boomer this past month. We’re in summer—which means that our daily temperatures are ranging somewhere in the 90s to 100s. The two mornings that I managed were two days that we had ‘cold’ fronts moving through the state.

I’m still working on trying to ensure that I’m doing five to ten minutes a day of intentional movement…it’s difficult to get in, when you have a 100 pound dog sprawled across your bedroom floor a good portion of the day. Both Boozer and Chaos basically are my ‘shadows’ for majority of the day…workouts might be ‘returning’ in the evenings when everyone else is home and I can ‘lock’ the dogs out of the room for thirty minutes or so.

Finish two (of the many) non-fiction books I’ve started to read. I managed to read:

  1. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor
  2. UNLIKE A BOSS: Positive Leadership Skills You Wish Your Manager Had by Alexander N. Andrews

Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published). I managed to read:

‘Re-reads’ included the entire Gansett Island series (currently at 24 books) by Marie Force–the 25th book is scheduled to be released on July 19th; and I also read the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna family series (currently at 13 books) by Julie Garwood, as the 14th book is also due to be released on July 19th.

The ‘new’ books that I read this past month included:

  1. Montgomery Bites (Anthology & Cookbook) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Suzanne Johnson (book review written)
  2. Forever with Me (Everhart Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. Can’t Help Love (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  4. Hidden Waters (Tatter & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  5. Inked Temptations (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Book review coming early July)

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 12 days)

I decided last month that the new ‘goal’ was to be a little better than the month before. The ‘minimal’ goal for June was set at 12 days of no spending and I managed 16…so slightly over half the month…and that will be the goal for July…at least 16 days of no spending…

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

Well, since summer has made it’s presence known—the time outdoors has been regulated at times to the evening when I take the dogs out, or earlier in the day.

Thanks to various things this month—I need to get back into mediation/sitting quietly, writing in the journal, and doing daily oracle card drawings.

I’ve found that as long as I do a few stretches before bed, I sleep somewhat decently—no stretches, and that is when I toss and turn.

Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry):

I created one needlepoint tapestry this month. I decided that before working on Rolex’s memorial tapestry (since it will rather complex), I would do a couple of smaller pieces to get the hang of working with the cotton fabric.

The first one I completed was a flower:

Cotton tapestry #1–freestyle drawn flower…

I still need to work on tying off the fabric and the different types of stitches…but not bad for the first time working with the cotton fabric.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)

I managed to finish the LinkedIn Unlocked course (I just need to go back through and make a list of the various action items). It was a really good course that highlighted a couple features of LinkedIn I was unaware of—but am slowly starting to use more often (especially the ‘build your resume’ feature).

Writing, writing, and more writing:

I managed to get some writing done this past month—I’ve been posting on LinkedIn some graphics and slowly introducing the molecular cloning series as posts (I’m also through the ‘planning stage’ of the experiment).

I’m in the planning stages for various projects for the blog and other sites—as I’ve realized that I really need to figure things out, get a portfolio together, and start seriously job hunting…

So how did I do overall: I would say that I managed to meet eighty percent of the goals that I set for June. The reading goal was at 100%, as was the craft goal (different tapestry—but it was finished), the rest were somewhere between sixty and eighty percent and it all averaged out to eighty percent.

July goals will be almost identical, though I know that I won’t be spending huge amounts of time outside, and I’ll be lucky to get a single walk in up at Boomer (so I’m not really going to aim for weekly walks).

We’re entering the second half of the year, and the third quarter. Its time to reset, refocus, and commit to various long term goals: getting a remote position (or starting a freelance business), getting into the best shape of my life, and focusing on my strengths and values: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative; knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/transformation.

So what will be my ‘repetitive’ goals for July? They will include:

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 16 days)
  6. Time outdoors (probably briefly in the evenings), mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drwings
  7. Craft time (work on a needlepoint project and/or create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course (looking at possibly either seven best ways to get paid as a writer and/or the sorthcourse on podcasting)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

I recreated a new bingo card for the second half of the year, and will be creating a bingo card for the third quarter and then for July (some of these goals will be finding their way to that bingo card). I’ll also be working on the multi-prong personal/professional development plan that I originally tried to put together last month (and ended up having an anxiety attack over).

I mentioned to a couple of people that my biggest ‘problem’ is that I’m overzealous and try to cram months worth of ideas/goals into a shorter time period, and then allow my inner critic/imposter syndrome to drag me back into the comfort zone when I ‘fail’ to achieve a goal in say five days when in reality it would take five weeks to achieve the goal.

I also will be trying to decide on a new web addy for the blog/website, as I still want to have a multi-facet site (the ‘professional’ communication side and the ‘personal’ hobby/creative/reflective side)…and everything is up for renewal this coming month.

I’m actually thinking of restarting both the 90-day content creation/research challenge as well as restarting the 101 goals in 1001-day challenge (I’ve tried this one several times; latest was doubling the time frame to 2002 days).

The goal of restarting both is to be a little more focused on things (at least in terms of the large number of goals).

I truthfully don’t think a single month has gone ‘smoothly’ so far this year…I’m just trying to roll with the tide and punches…

I deleted the one game from the kindle again, and once I feel like I’m on ‘auto-buy’ again, I’ll save things on the computer, shutdown the computer and go outside for a few minutes (minus all electronics).

How are you handling the stress that is 2022?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

2021 favorite fiction books, and reading goals for 2022

So I’d mentioned in ‘2021 in Review’ that I managed to read at least 105 fiction books.

They were all within the romance genera (paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary, or a combination of the three).

While it would be difficult for to pick my top three (or even five)—believe me, someone asked me on LinkedIn for my top three fiction choices, and it took me three hours to pick them, I’d like to share my favorites (ones that I will re-read again). While I thought of including both 2021 releases and then others that I bought last year–I decided to make it just a 2021 release list.

My favorites included:

The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers (first three books were technically released in 2020–though I read them at the beginning of the year) and Luna Harbor Series by Claudia Burgoa (both to have new releases in 2022)

  1. Call You Mine (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4)
  2. As We Are (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5)
  3. Yours to Keep (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6)
  4. Finally You (Luna Harbor #1)

Books by Avery Gale:

  1. Catalina (The Alders, #10)
  2. Falling for Fallon (Master of the Prairie Winds Club #12)

Books by Marie Force:

  1. Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  2. State of Affairs (First Family #1)
  3. How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3)
  4. Come Together (Butler, VT #7)
  5. Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #24)
  6. State of Grace (First Family #2)

Books by Bianca D’Arc:

  1. Snow Dragons (Dragon Knights #16)
  2. Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17)

Books by J.S. Scott:

  1. Billionaire Unexpected–Jax
  2. Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper

Books by Carrie Ann Ryan:

  1. The On My Own Series (four book series that was released in 2021)
  2. The Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins series (fourth and fifth books set to release in 2022)
  3. Ravenwood Coven trilogy (final two books set to release in 2022)

Books by Shelly Laurenston:

  1. Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4)

Books by Cara Covington:

  1. Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42)
  2. Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43)

Books by Rhyannon Byrd:

  1. A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3)

Books by Catherine Coulter:

  1. Vortex: A FBI Thriller

Some of these books I’ve waited literally decades for (A Scent of Magick), and I did go back and re-read the previous two books to remind myself of the overall plot line. Other books (such as the Lusty, Texas series) I don’t really go back to re-read, because the new book may (or may not) build on previous story line.

I had bought the first three books of the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series at the end of 2020–but read them during January 2021. Those books were included in the long list of books in my 2021: year in review post.

I did re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force prior to State of Affairs being released in April.

Other books from the 2021: year in review will probably also end up on a ‘re-read’ list over the next few years, but were left off this list–since they weren’t technically released last year.

Heading into 2022, I have numerous books pre-ordered (but currently not the same number that I did in 2021)—but I also purchased a ton of free e-books during 2021, so I have plenty to chose from to read this coming year in addition to the few that have been pre-ordered.

My fiction reading goals for 2022 include:

  1. Reading at least forty fiction books, and I know that I can easily double if not triple that number (since I do enjoy re-reading certain books/series).
  2. Write a mini-book review for each ‘new’ book that I read this year (so that will hopefully be at least thirty mini-book reviews for blog and other sites)
  3. Expand my reading genera (since I usually stick with the umbrella of romance). So I will probably look at sci-fi/fantasy and mystery/thriller releases and possibly try to find an new author or two (possibly even more).

Who are some of your favorite mystery/thriller or sci-fi/fantasy authors?

No Comments BooksReflections