The Ultimate Betrayal!!

My dear readers, I hate to admit it, but I am considering committing one of the most terrible atrocities of all time. After 8 years of loyal service, and perhaps the most meaningful relationship of my adult life, I am debating the purchase of a new Kindle.

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Now, why is this such a betrayal you might ask? Simple. This is the only Kindle I’ve every owned, and I’ve come to view it as something I could never live without. Hands down one of the first things I’d need with me if I were to be deserted on an island. More importantly, technically it is in working order. I can read through a book just fine, the battery still holds a decent charge, the screen is in ship shape (for the most part), and it just has a few minor scuffs on its edges from being dropped an indeterminate number of times.

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I can also still load new books and divide them into my fabulously organized categories. But this is where the problem arises. It…takes…forever to do so. Several minutes will have passed by the time my Kindle manages to sync with my new purchases, and the lag time in moving a book to a new category has reached a point of hilarity. I find myself having to open the Kindle app on my phone to read a bit just to pass the time. Also, every once in a while it freezes up and I have to hold the power button to “off” for a good five minutes to force it to restart.

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Therefore, I think the time to purchase a newer version may have finally arrived. And this is where a new dilemma comes to the forefront, and one that I’m asking for all of your help in solving. Which one should I buy as a replacement? I currently own the 2nd generation Kindle, and while I always thought it was light and convenient to carry around, I’ve discovered that compared to some of the more recent generations it’s basically a brick weighing down my purse. Considering I literally carry my Kindle with me every day, something lightweight is extremely important. Although, I won’t lie it’s also kind of nice to be able to turn my purse into a battering ram when necessary.

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In addition, seeing as I read almost 150 books last year, a version that doesn’t strain the eyes is also paramount. I don’t want anything that looks like a computer screen. While a Kindle will never feel like a real book, it needs to look like one as much as possible. So, do you all have any suggestions? Honestly, I’d prefer to stick to a Kindle rather than another brand, but if you have a compelling reason to consider something else, feel free to put forward any recommendations in the comment section!

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2016 in Review!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post everyone! Personally, I blame the holidays, and the fact that I entered into a food coma basically every night for the last week and a half. Who knew home cooking could be such a deterrent to productivity?

After the New Year celebrations officially conclude, I usually provide a wrap-up of some of my favorite books from the previous year, as well as a total count of how many books I read. I’m sorry to say that for the first time in three years I failed my designated reading challenge goal!

At the start of 2016 I had set a reading goal of 150 books, and sadly I only finished reading a total of 108. Such shame and humiliation!! You’d think with all the flying I did to China, Australia and all over the USA that I would have found some more time to read. What can I say though? The free movies always call to me on airplanes. That being said, I’m happy to report that just three days into 2017 I’ve already finished reading a book, and it was freakin’ amazing, so hopefully that’s just a sign of good things to come!

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Alright, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite reads from the past year. If you’d like to read my full review of each one, just click on the title!

Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen: An amazing paranormal romance read that contains cougar shifters, polar bear shifters, and a tantalizing amount of sexual tension that will leave you wanting more. Some other great reads from Ms. Owen I read this past year include Crimson Dahlia, Her Demigod Complex, and the Worse for Were. This woman makes me love paranormal romances!

Breathe for Me by Natalie Anderson: Nothing like experiencing a range of fun sexual fantasies with an ex-lifeguard. It’s a quick read with interesting characters, and there’s a good mix of sweet, sexy and a touch of sadness.

Clingstone by Marti Ziegler: One of the best Civil War romance novels I’ve ever read, with an amazing male hero that I want for myself. Suspense, emotion, war, and awesome character development.

Haunted Souls by Kathryn Knight: I’m not normally one for ghost stories, but this one draws you in and won’t let go. A soldier returns home with PTSD to discover he has a son he never knew existed, and a ghost is haunting the house of the woman he loves. Talk about a stressful homecoming.

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Love in the Light by Laura Kaye: This was definitely one of my top reads of the year. Laura Kaye’s writing is superb. You’ll laugh, cry, and possibly even weep like I did, as we get a glimpse into the world of someone living with depression.

The Marriage Ultimatum by Charlotte O’Shay: Taking the concept of the “marriage contract” to a whole new level! Lovable characters who seem different on the surface find they have more in common than they thought by having survived difficult pasts. They also have some explosive chemistry.

Of Love and Betrayal by Louise Lyndon: This historical read has the perfect mix of intrigue, suspense, lust and romance. Not to mention two lead characters you can’t help but adore.

Seize the Flame by Lynda J. Cox: This novel has everything you could possibly hope for in an exciting western romance: a brooding bounty hunter, a brave woman on the run from an abusive husband, and the two of them trapped together in an isolated cabin during a snow storm. Loving it.

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She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla: An emotional read that left me in tears, no matter how hard I tried to keep them at bay. Filled with endearing, yet also imperfect characters, you’ll probably roll your eyes at some of the silly mistakes that all young college kids are bound to make. But if you stick with it, you’ll see the beautiful relationships that can bloom and evolve in Sheridan Hall.

Tangled Vows by Stella Hunter: Definitely one of the better romance novels featuring a love affair between a male celebrity and an average woman that I’ve read in a long time. It’s a quick and sexy read. A little bit of suspense is thrown in at the beginning, and there’s the hint of enough family drama to make your household seem like a haven of serenity!

That One Moment by Amy Daws: In my opinion, this was definitely one of the best of the entire London Lovers/Lost in London series. It covers some intense subjects, but there’s also a decent amount of humor woven in as well. From Vi’s over-protective footballer brothers, to her ball-sniffing dog Bruce. Oh, and did I mention it’s sexy as hell?!

Wedding Day by Erin Bevan: If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance featuring a dashing cowboy, a bit of intrigue, a good handful of sexual innuendos, and not too many detailed sex scenes, then this is definitely the book for you. From single parents to stalkers, bets, a cowboy contemplating his rodeo career, and a virgin heroine torn between two men, it’s all here! Another great read by Ms. Bevan is the delightful Christmas romance, Wrapped Up in You.

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Well there you go! That’s just a small sampling of some of my favorite reads from 2016. Thanks for reading everyone! And here’s to hoping that I actually reach my reading challenge goal in 2017.

2014 in Review

What a year! I never imagined I would read so many books in 365 days, and I actually have my aunt to thank/blame for it. In September of 2013, I was visiting my aunt in Atlanta when she told me that she sets a goal each year to read 52 books, one for each week of the year. She pulled out her yearly book lists and we looked through them together. At that point, she had never actually reached her ultimate goal, but got close a time or two. I thought it would be a fun little experiment to try out for myself the following year. Little did I know how much this “New Year’s Resolution” of mine would impact my 2014.

beach jumpTo say that I surpassed the 52 book goal is a bit of an understatement. I think I reached that number by March. But it wasn’t until a vacation to Grand Cayman in July with my sister that an idea started to form in my head. I loved reading all of these romance novels (my genre of choice/addiction), but I had nobody to discuss them with. The majority of my friends and family never seemed to find the spare time to read, and when they did it was either mystery novels or non-fiction. Not exactly the smutty sexy stuff I was reading. So, while sun-bathing in my lounge chair on a beach in Grand Cayman I thought to myself, “What if I started a blog where I reviewed romance novels, and put my opinions out there for others to see?” Alas, when I returned from vacation, Romance Novels for the Beach was born. You know that picture I have for my profile/avatar? That’s me jumping on the beach in Cayman. I thought it appropriate to use for my blog, as that’s where I first got the idea to begin this crazy journey of being a book blogger.

I never thought my blog would get as much attention as it has these last five months, and for that I have all of you to thank. I wish I could thank you all individually, but good God! We’ve all got places to go, people to see, and New Year’s parties to get to. To date I am just shy of 1500 total followers. I doubt I’ll go over that number by the end of this year, but here’s to hoping. I do love sharing comments with all of you, and especially those who are repeat readers. A few of you have asked if I’ve written a romance book of my own, or have plans to do so. The answer to that is a big resounding no. I have nowhere near the talent nor the patience necessary to sit down and organize all of my thoughts into a full-length book. I’ll just have to settle with judging other people’s work 🙂 Another unexpected bonus of this blog: all of the amazing authors who have asked me to review their books. You all have so much more talent and bravery than I, and you should be nothing but proud of your accomplishments.

By this point I’m sure you all are screaming at your computer or iPhone screen, “So how many books did you read already?!”. Oh, did you want me to tell you that little number? Alright then, don’t get your panties in a twist. Although with the kind of books I’ve been reading lately, that’s kind of a common occurrence. Tee hee. Anyway, the total number of books I read in the year 2014 was…drum roll please…approximately 247. Why approximate you ask? Well, I keep track of all of my books using this system called Calibre (best thing ever, you should totally download it), and some books were short novellas, while others actually contained multiple books from one series combined into one Kindle file, so the exact number is a bit hard to track down. But there you go, with a goal of 52 books I read a total of 247.

Some of you might be wondering what my goal is for next year. Here it is: read FEWER books!! My God, did I ever see the light of day? Or have a social life? Actually, I manage a pretty good balance of work life, social life, and blog life, but still! Imagine what I could do with myself if I only read 100 books instead of over 200. I’ve decided to not put a number on it though, because I think that’s what got me into this pickle in the first place. Once I exceeded 52 books I wanted to see how far I could actually go. Next year I’m just gonna read however many books I can, whenever I can. Ugh, I have a feeling that by the end of 2015 I’ll either read 20 books, or over 300. Can’t wait to get started!

Overall, it’s been a great year for reading. I’ve encountered some amazing books, and I’ve also read some that made me want to chuck my beautiful Kindle against the wall. Poor little thing never did anything to deserve such violence. Below I’ve decided to include a top ten list of my favorite novels of the year. If you come across a book that sounds interesting, you can just click on it and a new page will open up to where you can view it on Amazon. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have to add a few to your 2015 TBR list! Happy reading everyone, and I hope you have a very Happy New Year!

1. Both Sides of Love by Kimberly Wenzler– one of the best and most emotionally intense books I read all year. An amazing look at how one woman’s secret could impact multiple relationships in her life.

2. From Rags by Suzanne Wright– Jaxxon and Connor first met in foster care, but haven’t seen each other in years. Now that they are both successful adults, Connor tries to reconnect with Jaxxon, but she’s still pissed that he left her alone years before.

3. Defying the Odds by Kele Moon– The first book in an amazingly addictive series! Melody is on the run from her abusive ex, and has trouble trusting others. But UFC fighter Clay is all kinds of alpha male who has the urge to protect and love her.

4. Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye– Ah, I want to read this book again. This is definitely the best ‘trapped in an elevator’ love story I’ve ever come across. We have a scarred hero, and two lovers trapped in the dark. What more could you ask for?

5. Sudden Response by R.L. Mathewson– You’ve got to love two friends who decide to become more. These two emergency responders can’t fight the attraction which has suddenly crept up on them. And I can’t fight my love for this book!

6. Tangled by Emma Chase– Another first book in a series which is awesome. The book is told from the male POV, which I love! Drew is a total playboy, but doesn’t know how to adapt when his feelings focus on just one woman who already has a man of her own.

7. Driven by K. Bromberg– This book is freakin’ intense, and just leads to a trilogy which is more mind-blowing. We have a woman dedicated to helping others who comes across a billionaire playboy. When she says no, he just pursues her more and more. But he has a history of his own which could have a devastating impact on their relationship.

8. Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey– This book has comedy, sexy love scenes, neighbors falling in love, and a man in uniform. Need I say more?

9. Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare– Most of you know how much I love the Billionaire Boys Club series, and this is actually the second book in that series. Hunter considers himself to be a scarred and ugly beast, but when he comes across the beautiful Gretchen he wonders if she might be the one who can look past his physical appearance and love him for who he really is.

10. Perfection by R.L. Mathewson– This is one of my favorite books in the Neighbor from Hell series, but I definitely recommend you read the entire series from the beginning. Every book is funny, sexy, and has a great story. The fact that the 5th book just came out a few days ago has me beyond excited! The reason I enjoyed this book more than all the others is that it deals with a woman who is overweight, and the man who falls in love with her even though she isn’t model-thin.