Graduations, Vegas & Future Planning

Posted July 13, 2017 by Rowena in Family | 4 Comments

As of June 21st, my kid is a high school graduate.

It’s so weird to have registered for her college classes for the fall and to be dealing with grown folks business where she’s concerned because she’s my baby and yet this week, we’ve knocked out some pretty big things to get her ready for school next month. She’s off to Colorado for a few weeks to live it up until she has to come back home and buckle down. She’s got plans and I’m glad to see that she’s taking her future a lot more serious than I did when I was her age. Her to-do list is a mile long but she’s making it work. I’m doing a lot of hand-holding but I don’t mind because this is all new to her.

Her graduation was nice, short and simple with not a lot of speakers that spoke for days and it kicked off with her Principal being a complete savage, making me laugh. He opened up the ceremony with, “For those of you who brought big balloons after we told you not to, tuck them in and keep them out of the way.” LOL!

There was a good turnout, as always and I’m fortunate to have such a great family surrounding Brenna with such love and support, no matter how long we go without seeing each other. It’s always love when we’re together.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from Bren’s graduation…

My Graduate

Team Wilson Gang

Bren, Me and Brenna’s boyfriend RJ

My biggest headaches J Hong, Bren and Yusei (missing Kenna)

So Cal Mustangs Crew

The cutest little girls, Logan, Genna and Hunter

Brenna, all lei’d up

On top of Brenna’s graduation, we had her cousins Kenna’s graduation from Redondo Union and her other cousin Makaela’s 8th grade promotion. So we were hecka busy making candy lei’s and trying not to lose any kids…ha! We did eat lots of tacos that week.

This past weekend, we played in our final club team basketball tournament and while I was thrilled that we went undefeated in the tournament, a small part of me found the whole thing bittersweet because I didn’t want the weekend to end. The end of the weekend meant that we played in our last tournament as Mustangs. I’m still low key sad over that.

Here are some pictures from our mini vacation for basketball purposes:

Ran into Lakers Rookie Kyle Kuzma at dinner on Friday night. Here’s the girls picture with him.

Kainoa wanted in on this action so here’s his picture with Mr. Kuzma, who was in Vegas playing in the NBA Summer League

Ran into some family in Vegas right after Kuzma left. Here we are with Jacob!

Right before the Colorado crew went home after spending two weeks in California with us

Turn up picture!

Our last team picture together before everyone goes off to college. We finished out strong as only Mustangs can.

I’m going to miss this team. Brenna played for the same club since she first started playing basketball seriously. Only 5 girls from our original team played in this tournament but we’re planning on getting together one last time before the girls head off in different directions in the fall. Our coach was emotional at our team dinner Saturday night at the M Buffet (so good but so expensive) and it was just a lot of fun reminiscing over days long gone. Remembering games and players and practices and seeing the girls laugh and have fun playing the game they chose to play as kids. A lot of the girls had issues during their time playing for their high schools and this tournament was a reminder tournament for them. A tournament that gave them back the love of the game that was missing in the last four years, playing for different schools and different coaches.

It was so good to see Brenna having fun playing basketball with her friends again. It was great to visit with old friends and chat with them over our kids future. Of the bunch that came to Vegas, only 3 are playing basketball in college. Some are going out of state to universities, some are going to state schools and hoping to walk on at their schools while some are staying home, attending the community college with plans to transfer. Brenna’s plans include playing basketball at the community college and then serving a mission when she turns 19.

Ugh, I’m so freaking old.


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Buddy Review: Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Buddy Review: Dating You, Hating You by Christina LaurenDating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books on June 6th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Goodreads
four-stars

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

Rowena: This month’s buddy review with my book bestie, Bookish Ames is Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren. I have never tried anything by Christina Lauren before and Ames thought that I should so I started my reading journey through Christina Lauren’s backlist with this one.

Dating You, Hating You follows Carter and Evie as they try to figure out how to be together while working together. They had their first date and it went well so they both were looking forward to seeing where dating would take them but when they show up for work on Monday, they find out that their companies have merged and they are now competing against each other to keep their jobs.

Lots and lots of shenanigans happen and overall, I enjoyed the book even though it wasn’t the most original of plots.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I agree. After their super meet cute (I loved how they met) and the sabotage shenanigans started I was reminded of the Hating Game by Sally Thorne. But you know what? I think that dynamic works for me. It creates a believable tension and it’s funny to see two characters match wits with each other. I do have a confession though. I never read the blurb for this book, so going into it blind, I thought it was a New Adult. haha Whoops. So when I started reading about a 30 year old woman I was like “WTF?”

Anyway. Speaking of Evie. I really liked her character. She lives in LA and works for an agency representing actors and actresses. For all that that industry puts a focus on looks, I liked Evie’s confidence. She didn’t focus on her looks and was all about getting the job done. And done well. She was great at her job. So I felt her frustration when her boss kept giving her the short end of the stick. And Carter was a good character too. He definitely had some growth happening with his character. Especially in regards to the sexism in their office. But he grew. And he was cute. These two really learned a lot about each other when they were fighting.

Rowena: I thought their Harry Potter meet-up was cute, too. There were lots of similarities between The Hating Game and Dating You, Hating You but the stories had enough differences that I had no problem enjoying them separately.

LOL, after seeing the cover, I thought it was a New Adult book but not after reading the blurb.

Like you, I enjoyed both Evie and Carter. I liked that Evie never questioned her worth at work once Carter came on board. She knew that she was good but she also knew that being a woman would not benefit her the way being a man benefited Carter. Her frustration was real to me and I even liked the way that Carter felt her frustration and understood it as well. I like the tension between them at work because they sure did light the sheets up after work. Haha.

I liked that in this story, Evie and Carter had already started dating and wanted to continue dating but didn’t know how to go about that in the new circumstances that they found themselves in. I liked that the conflict for Carter was about how to make it work with Evie because he wanted to. Because he really liked her.

This book was a lot of fun and I’m definitely going to read more from this author.

Any gripes?

Ames: Before I get into gripes, I want to talk about the secondary characters. Evie and Carter each had their own friends who I felt were flushed out characters that they had real interactions with. Evie getting upset over Carter’s shenanigans? Her friends would come over and help her drown her sorrows. Carter had friends that were a married couple that were always inserting themselves into his situation with Evie in a good way. Even Carter’s brother had a little bit of a story arc going on. I really liked how these characters made this a fuller story.

Now my gripe. As I’m reading this book, published in 2017, I had a very real WHAT THE FUCK moment over some racism that was very casually and VERY uselessly inserted into this story. There’s a scene at a party when one of Carter and Evie’s coworker made a reference to her and Evie being Eskimo sisters.

WTF

I haven’t heard this term before but I didn’t feel good reading it in that context. In Canada, we do not use the term Eskimo. We refer to our Northern brothers and sisters as Inuit. Second, the meaning behind this term (look it up on Urban Dictionary if you haven’t heard of it before) – its demeaning to Inuit people and to women. I was shocked to see this and it definitely pulled me out of the story. And I wonder how the editor/publisher didn’t flag this? I felt like the context in which this term was used was pretty useless to the story.

I don’t feel like this term was used in a malicious way, I think it just may be an awareness (or lack of awareness) issue on the authors’ behalf. Consider this a teachable moment and do better going forward.

What about you, any issues with story?

Rowena: I agree with you about the secondary characters. I enjoyed Evie and Carter’s friends and Carter’s brother. I liked that they had their own people and weren’t always in each other’s pockets and that those people felt real and fleshed out. I also liked that they had a friend in common, who didn’t want to take sides and was on both of their teams.

I was completely ignorant of that saying “Eskimo sisters” before you told me but in the context that it’s used in the book, I agree that it is racist and that it didn’t move the story along or add anything to the story as a whole so it wasn’t necessary to use.

As for me, aside from that, I can’t say that I had any gripes with the book. It was entertaining, the characters were well written and the romance was pretty steamy. All of that makes for a happy Rowena so, all in all, this was a great first book for me. I would give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Ames: I agree with your rating, 4 out of 5. Despite that one WTF moment, I was really happy with the story overall. I liked the humor over the shenanigans and even the dog! Great characters and loved their sexual tension.

four-stars


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Week in Review (59)

Posted June 19, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

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It’s graduation week so I’m going to be extremely busy doing all kinds of family stuff but I wanted to put up a post about what I’ve been up to…reading wise. Cause I’ve been reading. 🙂

What I’m Currently Reading

Some Kind of Hero (Troubleshooters #17) by Suzanne Brockmann

Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

I’m just about done with this book and while it’s not my favorite Troubleshooters book, I still enjoyed it. There were some points in the story where I wanted to strangle different people but overall, it was a good book. Right after I finish this book, I’m jumping into Stay (WAGs #2) by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy.

What I Read

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon | 4 out of 5
I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne | 4 out of 5
Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren | 3.5 out of 5
Wired by Julie Garwood | 3.5 out of 5

My favorite read of the week goes to I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne. I enjoyed all of the books that I read this week but this one was my favorite. I just liked being in the Oxford world again and I enjoyed Nick and Taylor’s story. I’m seeing that it’s not getting a lot of love around the blogosphere but I liked it.

My least favorite read of the week is probably Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren. It was a good read, a solid first read for me by this author but I just enjoyed the other books that I read this week just a smidge more than this one. Also? This book offended my book bestie, Ames and that played into my feelings on the book. I agreed with her on that one thing so that’s why it’s my least favorite.

Book Boyfriend of the Week


Nick Ballantine from I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

Of all of the guys that I read about this week, Nick is probably my favorite. His story kind of broke my heart and I loved seeing him fall in love with Taylor, even when she was being difficult. He wasn’t perfect by any means because I wanted to throttle him something fierce near the end of the book but after all was said done, I still loved the hell out of him so that’s why he’s this week’s book boyfriend of the week.

What I Reviewed

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

What I Posted

Nothing. Gah. I’ve been so busy trying to bring my book blog, Book Binge back to life that I haven’t had any time to update this blog. I promise I’ll do better!

What I Got for Review

The Final Score by Jaci Burton
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

What I Bought or was Gifted

I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne
Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
My Roommates Girl by Julianna Keyes

There you have it, my week in review. How was your week?


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