2019 Monthly Status Update: July

outdated_technology_update_required_thinkstock_871052724-100749659-largeJuly was HUGE! I got so much reading done. I had a vacation at the end of the month but had no internet so I’m just catching up on my blog posts today. Another reason I got so much reading done is that last month I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m now addicted to and am working my way through Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. I’m only allowing myself to read one though for every ARC I get read, so it’s encouraging me to get my reading done faster! So anyways, here are some highlights from July for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 16
# pages read this month: 5,923
# books read year-to-date: 53
# pages read year-to-date: 18,081

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

I’ve been devouring Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and have loved almost all those books so far (on #11 now). Other than that I also enjoyed Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient (4.5 stars), which I read on vacation, and Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (4.5 stars).

Other Posts this month:

Summary Post – NERCA 2019
ARC August 2019 Reading Challenge Sign Up Post

Next Month TBR List:

Check out my ARC August 2019 Reading Challenge Sign Up Post which includes my reading list for August! Looking forward to a successful reading challenge this month!

2019 Monthly Status Update: June

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June was a bit of a slow month for me. Work really took off again and also trying to balance that with still enjoying a few days off doing fun things – there just isn’t enough time in the day! Thank goodness I was at a reading retreat at the beginning of June since that was when I got over 1/2 my books for the month read. I’m a bit behind with review posts too but I’m working on catching up. June is also when I discovered the Fated Mates podcast, which I’m now addicted to and am working my way through Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. So anyways, here are some highlights from June for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 6
# pages read this month: 1,704
# books read year-to-date: 37
# pages read year-to-date: 12,158

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

 

I liked a bunch of the books this month but none of them really stood out among the crowd. Stay tuned next month for some new favorites!

Other Posts this month:

The Earl Next Door BLOG TOUR!!
Quilting Retreat 2019

Next Month TBR List:

-The Starter Wife by Nina Lauren
-Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland
-Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
-How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
-Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
-The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
-The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

2018 Recap and 2019 Goals

I can’t believe 2018 is already over! This has been a whirlwind of a year. We had some challenges this year, some heartbreak, and some joy as well. We had a lot of fun this year, but this year was also a lot of work for me. Work had been taking up more of my time than ever and it’s been hard for me to find enough time for things that mean most to me: my husband, my family, and my friends. I’m hoping to rectify that in 2019, and hopefully spend more time with the people that I love.

So to recap on the goals list that I had set for 2018:

  1. Participate in all the Bout of Books challenges this year – I’m hoping this will help me have more concentrated reading time this year Check! I was able to participate in all three Bout of Books challenges this year, although the August one was a struggle for me to fit in. 
  2. Do any available ARC challenges I can find, including my regularly scheduled ARC August Check! Participated in the ARC August challenge, was able to get a lot of books read!
  3. Read as many off my backlog as possible (right now there’s 52!) Check! I read 7 books off my backlog – although I will be adding a good amount of books from my 2018 backlog. 
  4. Write shorter but also more creative blog posts – I’ve gotten stuck in a sort of outline lately for my review and it gets wordy and I think boring. Hopefully I’ll be able to branch out a little more this year Eh – I got a little stuck in the rut again but I was able to shorten some of my posts so I’d call this a Check I guess.
  5. Also some personal goals! Eat healthier, lose weight, spend more time at home, spend more time with my husband and finish some of the house projects we have going on (including the library!) Again, Eh. I did all these things at some point during the year but not all through the year and I ended up back-tracking on some of them by the end of the year.
  6. I also ended up participating in another reading challenge – the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge! I used this challenge to help me decide which books to chip away at on my backlog, and the 7 books I read from my backlog lists I read with this challenge. It was a fun way to help me read a little more randomly instead of just staying in my comfort zone.

Even though I had a tough work schedule this past year, I’ve still been able to find some time for reading. Sometimes that meant giving up on sleep – sometimes it meant fitting in time at off times, like while watching tv with my husband or in between conversations at a family party. So! Here’s a chart of the books I read by month this year vs previous years:

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And I figured I’d share a couple of my favorites from this past year:

Top Five Books Read in 2018

5. My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris – 4.75 stars
4. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – 4.75 stars
3. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – 5.0 stars
2. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren – 5.0 stars
1. Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – 5.0 stars

Favorite Cover in 2018

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I loved the cover of this book! It was so magical and pretty. I liked reading the novel too, Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

And so we close the past year and look forward to the new year! 

I’m hoping this year brings many blessings and love. I’m hoping to spend more time with my husband and family and give myself some more distance from work at certain times. That being said, I’m also hoping to complete certain reading goals and also personal ones. I’m not setting a number goal again for this coming year since I’m trying to focus (again this year) more on what I’m reading and less on the number of books I read. I get so swept up in trying to get more and more books read and I think I need to slow down and enjoy the reading that I am getting done.

Looking forward to the next year, here are my goals for 2019:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. ARC August
    2. Bout of Books Challenges (2)
      1. BOB 24 January 2019
      2. BOB 25 May 2019
    3. Bookish Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in bingo challenges for certain months for fun: February, June, September and October
    4. Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge – 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR! 
  2. Keep reading my backlog list!
  3. Also read some of the books I own (there are too many)
  4. And some personal goals! Lose weight, focus on healthier eating, exercise more often, more time at home, more time with Kris, and finish some house projects!

I’m looking forward to the coming year and whatever challenges or joys it may come with! I hope you all enjoy a safe and festive New Years!

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The Duke I Once Knew BLOG TOUR!!

The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake was released today December 31st, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book under Book Reviews on my site. See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! This was a really good read and I would recommend checking it out!

SUMMARY

Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.

First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

The sounds of cooing and kissing mortified her. Good heavens, would they never stop? Anyone might walk into the library! They ought to have the decency to take their amorous activities upstairs to a bedchamber.

But, of course, Rothwell did not possess a shred of decency. It made her cringe to recall that she herself had once fallen prey to his allure.

She risked another look over the edge of the table. Her eyes goggled.

The duke was delving beneath the hem of his paramour’s gown, sliding his hand up her ankle and out of sight. The ladybird squirmed and squealed in a frisky attempt at evasion. He leaned down and silenced her playful protests with a masterful kiss.

Abby sank back down again. Her pulse pounded and a blush heated her inside and out. She oughtn’t be so scandalized. Rothwell had a reputation as a notorious rake. Over the years, she had heard many a tale whispered among the neighbors of his disgraceful doings. Yet it was one thing to listen to idle gossip and quite another to actually witness him in the throes of depravity.

And here she was, trapped. What was she to do?

If she made her presence known, the duke would find out that Miss Abigail Linton was the new governess. She could not be absolutely certain that he had forgotten her. And if he did remember, he surely would dismiss her on the spot, for he wanted nothing to do with her. Her spirits fell into a fit of the dismals. That would mark the end of her little adventure out into the world. Oh, she could apply for a position elsewhere, but who would hire her if she’d been summarily discharged from her previous post? She would be forced to return to her brother’s house and resume her predictable life as the maiden aunt, growing withered and gray, shuttled between relatives, with no real say in her future.

The very thought was suffocating.

Nevertheless, she could not continue to crouch here while the two lovers were smooching and whispering. What if their intimate activities escalated? What if they did the deed right here, right now?

The horrid prospect spurred Abby to action. She must try to sneak out of the library unobserved. It was her only hope.

Dropping to her hands and knees, she crept along the carpet, weaving a path between the tables. Her long skirts hampered her progress, forcing her to inch along at a snail’s pace. Rothwell’s black boots were visible through a forest of chair legs. At least he was too distracted to notice her, judging by the amorous sounds emanating from across the room. To be safe, she made a wide berth around the couple. Feverish plans raced through her head. If only she could reach the door and slip out, then all might be well. Perhaps she could convince Lady Gwendolyn not to mention the new governess to her brother. And what of Lady Hester? Was there a chance that she could be persuaded to bide her tongue, too? Should Abby confess the truth and enlist her help? Was it possible to stay out of sight until he departed the Court?

Sweet heaven, how long did he intend to stay?

In the midst of her meditations, she couldn’t help over- hearing the syrupy drivel of their tête-à-tête.

“Your Grace, you are too bold! Such a naughty boy you are!”

“I left boyhood behind long ago. Shall I demonstrate?” “Mm, no. You mustn’t . . . ah, yes. Yes!

Abby grimaced under a tide of acute embarrassment. As she crawled closer to the door, she glared in the direction of the lovers. She could just see Rothwell’s legs pressed against a froth of cream skirts. Blast him and his
debauchery! He was the worst of rogues, the king of scoundrels. A more wicked man had never been born—! Too caught up in remonstrations to watch where she was going, Abby bumped her hip hard against a mahogany pedestal. A little squeak escaped before she could clap her hand to her mouth. At the same instant, a faint clanking noise drew her attention upward.

The globe atop the pedestal wobbled precariously. As she watched in horror, the sphere toppled from its perch and clunked onto the floor, where it rolled straight past the chairs and tables to land at Rothwell’s heels.

“What the devil—!”

Frozen in concealment, Abby watched wide-eyed through the maze of table legs as his boots shifted around. A large male hand flashed down to stop the spinning of the globe. Any faint hope that he might assume it had fallen of its own accord vanished in a millisecond.

Rothwell strode forward, his footfalls sharp and decisive. He came straight to her. To her great consternation, she found herself gazing at the polished black leather of his boots only a few inches away.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “What are you doing in here?”

Abby raised her chin only slightly, keeping her face averted. It was best that he didn’t gaze fully at her—or hear the normal pitch of her voice lest it trigger his memory. “I’m just a servant,” she whispered, “tending to my duties.” “Speak up! Why did you not make your presence known at once?”

His dictatorial tone shredded her better judgment. “I was trying to leave discreetly,” she flared. “It didn’t strike me as wise to interrupt your tryst.” She paused, then added in a more servile tone, “I do beg your pardon, Your Grace.” She felt his gaze boring down like a physical force that threatened to smother her. She wanted badly to look up, to glare into his face and tell him in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of him.

But that would be highly imprudent.

With lightning swiftness, he clamped his hands around her upper arms and hauled Abby to her feet. She found herself staring up into a pair of wintry gray eyes set in a face of unabashed masculinity. Although a dissipated life had hardened his expression and etched faint lines on either side of his mouth, he was more disturbingly handsome than ever. He also seemed taller and tougher, his chest broader and his shoulders wider.

She hated that he still had the power to make the breath catch in her throat. Worse, she hated that he had the authority to dismiss her with a snap of his arrogant fingers. As she racked her beleaguered brain for a way to convince him not to do so, something flickered in those icy eyes.

“Abby?”

ARC August 2018- Update #4

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What a freaking crazy week this was! Busy week at work, and then the Fair was this past weekend and that takes up so much of our time! I tried to stick with the reading schedule, I’ve been really pushing myself for the reading challenge this month and I’ve been enjoying all the extra reading a lot. I didn’t necessarily knock it out of the park this past week since it was such a busy week but I was able to get a bit of reading done. This past week I also participating in both ARC August AND Bout of Books, which was fun and challenging. You can check out my Bout of Books 23 journey here! Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

 

MY PROGRESS

August 2018 ARC’s

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
Our House by Louise Candlish – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
-The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke – Read and reviewed (Week 4)
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
-Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

Additions

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

Backlog ARC’s

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

-A book told through letters
-A book with a five-word title – Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature
-A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z – Read and reviewed The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (Week 4)
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title

Books Read August 20th – 26th

The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke – 4.0 stars
The Killing Game by Nancy Bush – 3.5 stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

This coming week should hopefully be a bit smoother. Really August is just through Friday so there’s only a few days left to get in as much reading as I can. I plan to take Friday off to hopefully fit in a little last minute push to the finish line, but Friday night we’ll be leaving for Block Island for the weekend! Hope everyone else is having a successful reading month.

Bout of Books 23 – Day 7 & Wrap Up

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So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having concentrated time for reading, I decided to participate in all 3 Bout of Books reading challenges / read-a-thons this year! This was the third and final one for this year. I didn’t done as much as I wanted to but it was still ok amounts of successful.

First let’s do my Day 7 (Sunday) update on reading, even though it’s pretty bad.

Update

Sunday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) 0 hours! I was so busy, didn’t get to read much at all
Number of pages I’ve read today: 1 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read:  725 pages
Books read: Continued reading Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia
Challenges: I did not participate in the challenge for yesterday, just too busy this weekend!

And now let’s look at how I fared for my overall Bout of Books 23 wrap up:

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours each day during the week, with hopefully additional hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’ll be working up at the Fair event all afternoon and evening Thursday and Friday and then all day Saturday and Sunday, but I might be able to take a couple short breaks for reading between shifts.
Things definitely did not work out this way. Most of the weekdays I was able to read 1.5 – 2 hours but once we got to the weekend it fell apart. It’s just super hard to concentrate on anything during the Fair because there’s so much work to be done and so much going on. 

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day. One of the reasons I’m especially excited about this read-a-thon is … I’M ON THE SCHEDULE! I submitted a couple daily challenge ideas and one of them was picked! I’m more excited than ever to participate, hopefully I don’t run too low on time.
I did participate in Monday and Tuesday’s (below) daily posts, the other days I either wasn’t interested in the prompt or ran out of time. I was especially excited to participate in Tuesday’s post since it was my suggestion! 

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Books to Read

 

Overall this was not the greatest week of reading for me, I feel that I started off strong but fizzled out at the end due to my other commitments. I was able to get a little reading done at least. I’m looking forward to participating in the next Bout of Books but maybe I’ll skip August’s next year!

The Duke of Seduction RELEASE BLITZ!!

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The Duke of Seduction, an all-new historical romance from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke is LIVE!

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Lady Lavinia Gillingham prefers rocks and dirt to marriage. Her passion is science, and she’s determined to marry if—and only if—she finds a man who supports her interests and intellect. So far, she’s managed to avoid attention on the Marriage Mart, but when the Duke of Seduction pens anonymous letters singing her praises, she suddenly become the toast of the ton and matrimony seems imminent.

William Beckett, Marquess of Northam possesses the reputation of a rake, but is secretly a romantic. Spurned at sixteen, he doesn’t expect to feel the sting of Cupid’s bow a second time, and yet he’s able to woo the coldest of hearts with the anonymous words he publishes. As the Duke of Seduction, he uses his skill to help Lavinia, never anticipating she has no desire for assistance. While Lavinia is pursued by several suitors, Beck is the one who is seduced when he learns that love can strike twice…

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Download your copy today!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ypnYPL

iBooks: https://apple.co/2tptdJo

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TheDukeofSeduction

Nook: https://bit.ly/2tntIDJ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2tlGsLf

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2I8mUzh

About Darcy:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

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Connect with Darcy:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans

Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcyburke

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/darcy-burke

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823441.Darcy_Burke

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/darcyburkewrite/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darcyburkeauthor/

Stay up to date with Darcy by joining her Reader Club today:

http://www.darcyburke.com/join-my-reader-club/

Website: http://www.darcyburke.com