The Monthly Recap: January 2020

Posted February 11, 2020 by Rowena in Books, Features | 1 Comment

The Monthly Recap posts are a way for me to take a look back and reflect on my previous month in books. From the books that I read, the books that I got, and the books that I need to read. I always lose track of what I have, what I need to read and I need these posts to keep me honest with my damn self because I be forgetting shit. So here’s what my January 2020 month in books looked like.

Monthly Book Stats

Books Read: 14 | Books DNF’d: 0
Books Purchased: 9 | Books Received for Review: 5 | Reviews Posted: 10
Highest Grade: The One for You | Lowest Grade: The Kissing Game

What I Read

1. Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue (eBook) | 4 out of 5
2. Grand Theft N.Y.E. (Heist Holidays #1) by Katrina Jackson (eBook) | 4 out of 5
3. The One for You (The Ones Who Got Away #4) by Roni Loren (eARC) | 5 out of 5
4. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn (eBook) | 3.75 out of 5
5. Headliners (London Celebrities #5) by Lucy Parker (eARC) | 4 out of 5
6. The Rebel King (All the Kings Men #2) by Kennedy Ryan (eBook) | 4.25 out of 5
7. Heartland (True North #7) by Sarina Bowen (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
8. The Witness by Nora Roberts (eBook) | 4.25 out of 5
9. Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones (eBook) | 4 out of 5
10. The Kissing Game by Marie Harte (eARC) | 2 out of 5
11. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (eARC) | 3.5 out of 5
12. Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #7) by Lisa Kleypas (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
13. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (eARC) | 4 out of 5

1. I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne (Audio) (Re-read) | 4.25 out of 5

What I Reviewed


Lady Derring Takes a Lover (The Palace of Rogues #1) by Julie Anne Long | 4.25 out of 5
Marriage on Madison Avenue (The Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne | 3.5 out of 5
The One for You (The Ones That Got Away #4) by Roni Loren | 5 out of 5
Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson | 4 out of 5
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue | 4.25 out of 5
The Kingmaker (All the Kings Men #1) by Kennedy Ryan | 4.75 out of 5
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn | 3.75 out of 5
Headliners (London Celebrities #5) by Lucy Parker | 4 out of 5

Getting Played (Getting Some #2) by Emma Chase | 4.75 out of 5
The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole | 4 out of 5

What I Got


The Rebel King (All the Kings Men #2) by Kennedy Ryan
Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones
Don’t Break Me by Ash Ley
Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young
Crush, Interrupted by Zaida Polanco
Pulling Doubles (The Wright Brothers #2) by Christina C. Jones
Bending the Rules (The Wright Brothers #3) by Christina C. Jones
Christmas with the Wrights (The Wrights Brothers #4) by Christina C. Jones
Devious Lies (Cruel Crowns #1) by Parker S. Huntington

What I Got for Review

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Heartland by Sarina Bowen
Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams
One Last Chance by Therese Beharrie
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

There you have it, what my January 2020 in books. How did yours go? Did you read your newest favorite book? Did you read anything that you absolutely hated? Did you get anything that you’re super anxious to read? Share all of your details in the comments!


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The Weekly Recap (145)

Posted February 10, 2020 by Rowena in Books, Features | 0 Comments

I’ve been a busy bee in the last couple of weeks so blogging has taken a backseat to all of that. Work’s been kicking my butt, but I’ve also had just a bunch of things going on. On top of work kicking my ass every single day, Caiden and his new baby sister Baby Matalasi have been visiting us in California so I’ve been spending a lot of time with the family. Lots of family dinners, family game nights and five crowns.

Caiden, Lasi and their parents are driving back home to Utah right now and already, I miss them tons. It’s been a loud and awesome couple of weeks with them in town but real life hit them hard in the last week so it was time for them to return home and help bury Markus’ brother. I miss that face on the left so much!

I’ve also been really busy with work. I’m a staffing manager at my job and I’m in charge of making sure each job that comes in for my regions (I cover all of the central states all of the states in the middle from Idaho to Kentucky and down to Texas). We get hella jobs in so I’m busy from the time I start work for the day until I clock out. I only have about 24 hours to make sure each job is staffed so I’m constantly mapping projects, checking project manager schedules, checking each PM’s monthly billing and just all manner of crap. I deal with all kinds of people throughout the day from pissed off PM’s to upper management trying to squeeze more work out of us and for the most part, I’m happy with my job. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people, I communicate with people across the country all the time and most of those people are nice and I enjoy making things work. On the other hand, it’s a lot of work. I work a lot. I’m salaried so I can work as much or as little as I want and still get paid the same but I find that I’m constantly wondering about jobs long after I’ve logged out so I’m still trying to find a healthy work and personal life balance. It helps that my bosses are happy with my work and that I’ve gotten another raise so woo hoo for that. It’s a consistent effort on my part to walk away from work so fingers crossed that I figure that shit out because my blogging life has dragged a bunch because I work so much. I miss yall.

Now, onto the books…

What I’m Currently Reading
The Weekly Recap (145)One Last Chance by Therese Beharrie
Series: One Day to Forever #3
Published by Harlequin, Carina Press on February 17, 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Third Person
Pages: 262
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: 2020 A-Z Challenge, 2020 Goodreads Challenge, 2020 New to Me Challenge

Of all the charity events in all of Cape Town, Zoey Roux had to bump into her husband at this one

Six years ago, Zoey Roux secretly married her best friend Sawyer. But all that did was destroy the best relationship she’s ever had. They went their separate ways, but Zoey never could go through with a divorce. Seeing him again at her sister’s charity event is a shock, but also enlightening: no matter how much she still loves him, it’s time to let him go.

Zoey was Sawyer Wilson’s first love. She broke his heart, but his feelings never died. Love was never their issue—only timing. Seeing her again is a shock: in a perfect world, she would run back into his arms. Instead, she’s asking for a divorce.

But a lot can happen in twenty-four hours: old wounds can heal, first loves can be reunited. And a second chance might just lead to happily ever after.

This book is approximately 74,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

I’ve never read anything by Therese Beharrie but I need to fix that because I’m finishing this up and should be done by end of the day and I really liked this best friends to lover, fake relationship, and second chance romance. She mixes the tropes really well and I adored Zoey and Sawyer so much.

What I Read

The Witness by Nora Roberts (eBook) | 4.25 out of 5
Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones (eBook) | 4 out of 5
The Kissing Game by Marie Harte (eARC) | 2.5 out of 5
I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford #2) by Lauren Layne (Audio) | 4.25 out of 5
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (eARC) | 3.5 out of 5
Yes No Maybe So by Becka Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (eARC) | 3.5 out of 5
Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
P.S. It’s Always Been You, Pt. 1 by Lauren Blakely (Audio) | 3.25 out of 5
House Rules (Uptown #3) by Ruby Lang (eARC) | 4 out of 5
The Upside of Falling by Alex Light (eARC) | 3.25 out of 5

I included all of the books that I read in the weeks since my last weekly recap post and of this bunch, my favorite read was Chasing Cassandra and my least favorite read was probably The Kissing Game. There’s a lot of good stuff in this bunch so you guys should definitely add them to your TBR piles because they’re good stuff.

What I Reviewed

The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan | 4.75 out of 5
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn | 3.75 out of 5
Headliners by Lucy Parker | 4 out of 5
Heartland by Sarina Bowen | 4.25 out of 5
Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones | 4 out of 5

What I Posted

The Weekly Recap (144)
My TBR Pile: January 2020

What I Got

Devious Lies (Cruel Crowns #1) by Parker S. Huntington
I Think I Might Love You (Love Sisters #1) by Christina C. Jones
I Think I Might Need You (Love Sisters #2) by Christina C. Jones
I Think I Might Want You (Love Sisters #3) by Christina C. Jones

What I Got for Review

First Comes Scandal (Rokesbys #4) by Julia Quinn
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee

P.S. It’s Always Been You, Pt. 1 by Lauren Blakely

What Made Me Laugh

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


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My TBR Pile: January 2020

Posted January 14, 2020 by Rowena in Books, Features | 6 Comments

Yeah, so this post is coming to you guys a little late because I started the year off hella lazy, but I wanted to make sure that I did post this up so that I can do a better job of tracking the books that I plan to read each month. I do a lot of buddy reads, book club reads, review pile reading and I plan my reading months out in advance. This feature is to track how I’m doing on my monthly TBR and I’m starting fresh this year so wish me luck!

Here’s what I’ll be reading this month.

January’s TBR PILE

The Witness by Nora Roberts
Released on April 17, 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 492
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller — and will leave people hungering for more.

Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers #1) by Christina C. Jones
Released on January 11, 2016
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 334
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited

When 26 year old Reese accepts a position as a grad assistant, she has no idea an unpleasant encounter with a student will lead to the discovery of what she calls “the trifecta”: fine, intellectual, and a little bit rude – three qualities she finds irresistible in a man. She has no intention of doing anything with that discovery – nothing long term, at least. But everybody knows what happens to best laid plans.

Jason is a grown man. 28 years old, seasoned and scarred by his real-life experience in the world, he’s at Blakewood State University to finish his degree and move on. The last thing he’s interested in is the female population on campus… but sexy, infuriating Reese might be a notable exception.

This isn’t a story of opposites attract.

More like counterparts clash.

Neither of them is afraid to do battle, and neither is willing to back down. Love and war, win or lose… somebody’s gonna end up getting schooled.

Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Released on November 8, 2019
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 104
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Bailey Thorne doesn’t hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school…and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She’s had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he’s left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten–and she’s the teacher. It’s going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast…and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator’s fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It’s his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she’s caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there’s a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can’t seem to walk away first.

Heartland (True North #7) by Sarina Bowen
Releases on January 28, 2020
Publisher: Self Published
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Source: Author

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

The Kissing Game by Marie Harte
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

“I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.”

Game on.

Rena Jackson is ready. She’s worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she’s almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena’s also a diehard romantic, and she’s had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He’s got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he’s got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Rena’s about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.

At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He’s been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he’s way out of his depth and she’s slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play…

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé’s infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother. Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne!

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…

Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6) by [Author Name]
Releases on [Date]
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Everything has a price…

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her…

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun…

Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed
Releases on February 4, 2020
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

House Rules (Uptown #4) by Ruby Lang
Releases on February 10, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 152
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.

Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.

A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.

Three months. With strict boundaries.

Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.

Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.

One Last Chance (One Day to Forever #3) by Therese Baharrie
Releases on February 17, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 262
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Of all the charity events in all of Cape Town, Zoey Roux had to bump into her husband at this one

Six years ago, Zoey Roux secretly married her best friend Sawyer. But all that did was destroy the best relationship she’s ever had. They went their separate ways, but Zoey never could go through with a divorce. Seeing him again at her sister’s charity event is a shock, but also enlightening: no matter how much she still loves him, it’s time to let him go.

Zoey was Sawyer Wilson’s first love. She broke his heart, but his feelings never died. Love was never their issue—only timing. Seeing her again is a shock: in a perfect world, she would run back into his arms. Instead, she’s asking for a divorce.

But a lot can happen in twenty-four hours: old wounds can heal, first loves can be reunited. And a second chance might just lead to happily ever after.

What books are on your TBR pile for January? Anything good that I should keep my eye out on? Please share the books you have on deck to read next month.


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