Quilting Retreat 2019

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For those of you that don’t know, I attend a couple different quilting retreats with my Mom every year. You can see my post on last year’s retreat here. I also have a couple older posts from 20142015, and 2016 retreats. I’m not a quilter but I have found over the years that a quilting retreat is a great way to get some good reading done! So I tag along and while all the other ladies are quilting, I read! This year I was also determined that I be creative as well so I brought a coloring book to try and enhance my creative abilities. I also ended up helping one of the ladies with a project for a quilt she was making that was super fun! This year was another super productive and fun year, and I wanted to share with you readers a run-down of what happens at our mystical retreat weekends!

Here was my overall schedule for the weekend:

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We started retreat on Thursday afternoon this year, which was earlier than in recent years. The extra time made a big difference and allowed me just a bit more time to get reading and other things done! Below are some highlights and pictures from the weekend:

  • Thursday:
    • First picture colored! I purchased this Magical Planner on Amazon a few weeks ago because (a) I like magical things and (b) I like coloring. I already have a planner but I liked the information this planner has and I’m hoping to learn something new! Below are before and after pictures of the coloring! Love how all the colors really make the picture come alive.
  • Friday:
    • Mom and I went to a local winery, Chamard Vineyards, and did a tasting. We go here every year to get a stamp in our CT Winery Passports and also because we like wine! I snagged a few pictures below from the winery, which is beautiful.
  • Saturday:
    • My handsome husband came to visit! We shared a delicious lunch and then went for a hike. The retreat center where we go for the Quilt Retreat has extensive trails and also various sporting gear. We found a basketball court along the way and decided to stop and shoot a couple hoops (picture below!). There’s also a gorgeous outdoor worship space that I love taking pictures of every year, it’s right on the water and is just so peaceful. Picture included below!
  • Sunday:
    • I helped one of my friends, Debbie, with a quilt she was working on! I like stretching my creative muscles during retreat and I had great fun helping Debbie pick out which fabrics to use for the doggy glasses!

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I also included a picture below of a few other quilts that ladies (and mom) were working on during the weekend and another picture that I colored during the weekend. Also my desk space where I hang out for the weekend is pictured below!

 

2019 Book #35 – The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

51xfHg4LizLTitle: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 6/4/19
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Pages in book: 364
Stand alone or series: #4 in the Cavensham Heiresses series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied, in The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna MacGregor.

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #27 – a book you meant to read in 2018. Especially since I’ll need to read the next book in the series within the next month, I was really wishing I had read this book in 2018!

The characters and emotions of this story really draw in the reader. Daphne was very obviously devoted to Paul and it was so touching to see the extent of her feelings for him. And Paul’s character was perfectly dangerous – like the historical “bad boy.” The story line ended up getting a little cliched towards the end for me but overall it was a sweet and romantic story and I enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series this month.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #34 – Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

41vGuBSXnaLTitle: Bridal Boot Camp
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, women’s fiction
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 51
Stand alone or series: Related to another upcoming release of hers, No Judgments
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Looking for a tropical escape?

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest—and most beautiful—islands in the Florida Keys, home to sandy white beaches, salt-rimmed margaritas, stunning sunsets, and some of the quirkiest—but also kindest and most resourceful—people you’ll ever meet.

Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge hoping she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped. The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.

But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).

But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?

They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I love love love Meg Cabot’s books. And while this was a short (very) story, it was still cute and interesting. It’s meant to lead into the next full length novel she has coming out later this year, No Judgments. I thought this novel was a tad lacking in Cabot’s distinctive humor and style, although it’s hard to pack enough humor into a short 51 pages. I’m looking forward to reading her novel coming out later this year and seeing where this story leads us!

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #33 – The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey

51swIt3Dy6L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Earl Next Door
Author: Amelia Grey
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 300
Stand alone or series: #1 in the First Comes Love series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out. . .

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire. . .

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve read a number of Amelia Grey novels in the past so I was interested to read this first book in her new series. This really was a lovely story and the characters were interesting and genuine. I loved Adeline’s character and also her friends and how loyal they were to her. I hope their stories are also forthcoming in the series! Overall the story line involving the three women and their idea for the school was a great idea – the students, especially the trouble-makers, provided a bit of excitement to the story line. Adeline’s character development through the story and how she overcame her emotional obstacles with a marriage was very heart-warming. And Lyon was the epitome of a perfect hero – romantic and brooding and great. Overall I really enjoyed the story and I look forward to reading both Julia and Brina’s stories (hopefully)!

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #32 – Fumbled by Alexa Martin

41QPClEf5mLTitle: Fumbled
Author: Alexa Martin
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Pages in book: 321
Stand alone or series: #2 in The Playbook series
Where I got the book from: Purchased!

Blurb from the cover:

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read the first book in this series last year (Intercepted) and thought it was hilarious! I wasn’t approved to read this next book in the series through my review sites so I decided to purchase the book on Amazon so I could read it.

I didn’t end up liking this one quite as much as I liked Intercepted, though I did still enjoy it. I find the author’s sense of humor very funny and the sass she gives her characters are all very entertaining. This was a good book with a good cast of characters, but I wouldn’t say it was overly thrilling. It was a fun and easy read. The ending also nicely sets up for the next book about Brynn and Max’s story – which I’m hoping to get a chance to read! This was a fun read and I’d recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #31 – The Suspect by Fiona Barton

51tMFK0fCDL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Suspect
Author: Fiona Barton
Date finished: 5/31/19
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have heard a lot about this author so I was excited to try reading this new release. I didn’t end up loving this one – the plot was interesting but the book felt lengthy to me and some parts felt pretty dry. The author does do a great job of really transporting the reader – I could feel the heat and the grit of Bangkok and I felt the desperation, fear, and myriad of other emotions of the various characters of the story. The ending left things just a tad unresolved, which fit in with the characters and the story line I think but I don’t usually love endings like that. I tend to prefer endings that are wrapped up nice and neatly with a little bow. Overall though I enjoyed the book but it wasn’t a favorite. I am scheduled to read more by this author though and I’ve heard great things about her books. I’d recommend giving this one a try but be prepared that it can be slow in places.

Link to author website

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

2019 Monthly Status Update: May

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May was such a productive month for me! I had Bout of Books mid-month and the last couple days of the month I have been at a reading retreat. I got a lot of reading done and really had a great month! So anyways, here are some highlights from May for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,297
# books read year-to-date: 31
# pages read year-to-date: 10,454

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – 4.75 stars – I loved this one, it was a great read!

Other Posts this month:

No Other Duke But You BLOG TOUR!! 
Getting Hot With the Scot BLOG TOUR!! 
Bout of Books 25 – many posts! 
Product Review – Cashmere Writing Gloves 
Product Review – Color Street Nails

Next Month TBR List:

-Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
-It’s Hot in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson
-The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
-One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase
-Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor