Monthly Recap: July 2016

Posted August 2, 2016 by Rowena in Family, Features | 2 Comments

I can’t believe July has already come and gone. It zipped right on by and I’m struggling with trying to keep up with everything. Between family stuff, basketball stuff and work stuff, I’m all filled up with stuff to do. I also have loads of blog stuff and review book stuff to do too. Oy.

July brings about two very special birthday shout outs:

Happy Heavenly Birthday to my brother Seko and to one of my besties Holly. Both are some of my favorite people and I thought about them during their special days.

1. Mel’s surgery: This month, my brother Mel had heart surgery that kind of freaked everyone out, including Mel. All is well now but it was a pretty rough week when a scheduled treadmill test turns into a rush trip to the ER and a quadruple bypass surgery scheduled. We spent a lot of time at the hospital as a family and praying that all will work out for Mel. He’s out of the hospital now and is recuperating at home. He’s doing well but he’s not 100% yet. I’m not posting a picture of Mel because he told us that we better not post any pictures of him on Facebook, any social media or whatever so you guys get a picture of my sister Ingrid and my niece (Mel’s daughter) Jenna from our shenanigans at the hospital.

2. Mustangs play Ballroom Basketball in Vegas: July and August every year is for Vegas for our family. We have the club tournament that our girls play in July that is played at the Westin at Lake Las Vegas where the entire tournament takes place in the ballroom over there. Very fancy but super fun. It’s always a good time going to Vegas and this time wasn’t any different. My sister Blanche and her daughter Cheridan along with me and Brenna stayed with my sister Ingrid and we watched some good basketball in the fancy ballroom and ate some really good eats. All in all, it was a short but very fun trip.

I’m more of a TV Show watcher but since most all of my shows are on hiatus right now, I’ve been watching a lot of movies outside of reading my little heart out. Here’s what I watched in July.

1. Me Before You: This movie. Ugh. After I read the book, I had no interest in watching the movie but then they freaking cast Khaleesi as Lou and Finnick as Will Trainor and I couldn’t help myself. As much as the book gutted me (and pissed me off because hello? Romance reader here), I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I ugly cried too. A lot. Not one single damn was given though. I watched it three times in July.

2. Suits: My show Suits is back and my love for all things Harvey and Donna has returned. Lots and lots of drama with Mike in jail for all of his crimes, Harvey and the gang trying to save Mike and themselves with all of the drama that came after Mike went to jail. This season hasn’t been my favorite but I’m still really intrigued by how Harvey and the gang are going to save themselves. I still love this show though.

3. Undrafted: This movie cracked me up from the beginning to the end. Every single person in this movie is hilarious. Chace Crawford, Tyler Hoechlin, Manny Montana, Aaron Tveit were all in this movie and it entertained the socks off of both me and my daughter Brenna. She loved this movie and loved Chace Crawford’s character the most…especially when he sings “Bands a make her dance” while throwing money. Funny stuff, this movie.

1. O Oe Mo A’u by Sammielz: I first heard this song when watching Chloe and Markus’ wedding video and I really liked the song. The lyrics, really…it’s a Samoan love song and it’s got a pretty melody that sucked me right in. It also inspired the story that I’m working on so hopefully I’ll get that sucker written. Fingers crossed.

2. Countdown by Beyonce: A couple of weeks ago, I attended the talent show for my brother in law’s family reunion because our kids were dancing in it and I was really impressed with how well my nieces Cheridan, Chach and Chelsea danced to their medley of Beyonce songs. This song stood out and it’s been on repeat while at work. I liked it even more when my white guy friend at work sang the song word for word, shoulder poppin’ included. Haha.

3. You and Me by Marc E. Bassey: Yeah, I’m still listening to this song. I’m still loving this song. Probably my favorite song of the summer right now…and yes, I’m listening to it while I’m writing up this post. Ha!

1. Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally | 4 out of 5
2. Hell Breaks Loose (Devils Rock #2) by Sophie Jordan | 3 out of 5
3. To Have and to Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne | 4.25 out of 5
4. Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson | 3.75 out of 5
5. Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh | 4 out of 5
6. You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini | 4 out of 5
7. Back to You (Coming Home #2) by Jessica Scott |
8. Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake | 4 out of 5
9. For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne | 4.5 out of 5
10. Torch (Wildwood #3) by Karen Erickson | 3.75 out of 5

I only read 10 books last month and that needs to change because I’m really behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I need to keep reminding myself to get my shit together but whatever, my favorite read of the month goes to For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne. I freaking loved both Heather and Josh. They rocked my socks and even when I wanted to smack some sense into Josh, I loved him. That was such a great book and I’m even more thirsty for Alexis and Logan’s book.

My least favorite read of the month is probably Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan. There were a bunch of stuff that made me roll my eyes down the street but I did enjoy that book. Reid was a great hero and the way that everything wrapped up made sense so I wasn’t mad about reading that book. Still, of all the books I read in July…this was my least favorite.

Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson
To Have and To Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne
Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh
Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watt
Stay Until We Break (Hub City #2) by Mercy Brown
Smolder (Wildewood #2) by Karen Erickson
Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally
Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen

Look at me go. Yay me!

Here are the new to my bookshelves book that I got in July. Some books I bought, some books were gifted to me but most are books that I got for review. Lots of goodies in there, too.

I’m super excited about all of the books that I got this month. Some of the books that I got, I couldn’t even wait to get started so I didn’t. I immediately jumped into them even if I was reading something else at the time. I can’t wait to get all of these books I better not fall into a reading slump.


For Mother’s Day, I got a Happy Planner and I have freaking loved the hell out of this thing. I use it all the time. I plan things out, I jot blog post ideas out in it, I keep track of the things that need to be tracked and set reminders of things that I actually remember and seriously, this planner is everything. I will never not have a Happy planner for all of the years to come. Love!

There you have it…a quick recap of the month that was July 2016 in my life. How did your month go?

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Week in Books (28)

Posted August 1, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Week in Books v2

Lots and lots of changes are being made in my life right now and I’m not sure how I’m doing with coping with all of the change. The biggest change is that my ward is being dissolved and everyone is being shuffled to new wards. The boundaries are set in a way that all of my friends are going to one ward and I’m going to the other ward. I’m giving myself a little bit to throw myself a pity party and then I’m going to get over it and start going to my new ward with my family. It’s just that I’ve been going to Church with these guys since I was in diapers and I can’t imagine showing up for Church and not seeing my favorite people in the world anymore. It’s going to suck to not be able to see my favorite old ladies in Relief Society anymore.

So for the next week or so, I’m going to look like this:

Haha, I crack myself up.

Currently Reading

This week was a better reading week than normal (in July at least) and I’m happy with the progress I made on my reading challenge. I’m only 4 books behind now as opposed to 7 the last time I checked. Yikes. Get it together already, Ween!

Anyway, my first read in the month of August is:

Wild Embrace (Psy/Changelings #15.5) by Nalini Singh.

The “alpha author of paranormal romance”* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible…

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander…

A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play…

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries…

I took a little bit of a break in between Allegiance of Honor and Wild Embrace so I’m looking forward to jumping into this one even though the book is a bunch of smaller stories from already established characters. It’s a Psy/Changeling book, I’m not going to complain.


You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini | 4 out of 5
Back to You (Coming Home #2) by Jessica Scott | 4 out of 5
Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake | 4 out of 5
For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne | 4.5 out of 5
Torch (Wildwood #3) by Karen Erickson | 3.75 out of 5

My favorite read of the week goes to For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne, hands down. That book was fun and everything I’ve come to love from a Lauren Layne book. I loved seeing Seth and Brooke again, I loved seeing the heroes of the books form their bromances and the girls of the books be there for each other. This is such a great series and I’m pretty anxious for Alexis and Logan’s book. I also really liked Ruthless and Torch too.

I can’t choose a least favorite because I liked them all and I don’t wanna. So I’m not gonna. Sorry not sorry. 🙂

Book Boyfriend

For Better or Worse

Josh Tanner from For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne.

“Josh! What is that?” she said, barely managing to choke it down.

Her husband—husband!—merely grinned as she forced herself to swallow the god-awful piece of wedding cake.

Josh Tanner had finally gotten his banana bread.

Josh Tanner was such a fun character to get to know. I loved seeing him fall in love with Heather but I also loved how jealous he got whenever his best friend Trevor was around Heather. It was great seeing him and Heather bicker back and forth. The dialogue between the both of them throughout the entire book had me laughing and sighing all over the place. This was another winner for me and I can’t wait to read Alexis and Logan’s book. Oh Josh, even when he was being a bonehead I loved him. So stinkin’ much. <3 Reviewed

Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson
To Have and To Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne
Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh
Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watt


Maybe Forever (Missing Pieces #1) by Keyanna Butler
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

For Review

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove #5) by Tessa Dare
Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake
A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2) by Sarah MacLean
Torch (Wildwood #3) by Karen Erickson
Viscount and the Vixen (Hellions of Havisham #3) by Lorraine Heath
This is Our Song (Shaughnessy Brothers #4) by Samantha Chase
For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne

As you can see, there is a lot of stuff for me to look forward to and a lot of books that I couldn’t help myself by starting already. I loved the books that I’ve read so far.

There you have it, my week in books. How did your week go?

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Week in Books (27)

Posted July 18, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments


This week was pretty hectic at work because my boss was on vacation and his work became my work but I survived and he’s back in the office today and I look like this:

I am done covering for everyone and their Mom for the month. I’m heading to Vegas this weekend to get away from worries, work and my life. Bring on the ballroom basketball!

Currently Reading

Back to You (Coming Home #2 ) by Jessica Scott.

He’s in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn’t explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she’ll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she’s just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won’t be denied. But can she trust that this time he’s back to stay?

So I’m reading two books right now. One is for review and I’m reading at work and the other is for book club and I’m reading it at home. This is the book that I’m reading for book club at home. It’s been ages since I read Book 1 in this series and so far, this book is compelling. Guys dealing with PTSD and their families and trying to keep everything together or in this case, bring everyone back together and it’s not going easy for Trent. My heart is hurting for him. I can’t wait to finish this one.

You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini.

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her “good girl” persona, so she’ll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the “good girl” stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He’s shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie’s bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

This is the book that I’m reading at work and honestly? It’s slow going. I got this for review because I’ve heard such great things about Julie Cross’ writing and I enjoyed the one book that I read by her. I’m hoping things turn around but so far? Ehh.


To Have and To Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne | 4.25 out of 5
Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson | 3.75 out of 5
Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh | 4 out of 5

Book Boyfriend

Seth Tyler from To Have and To Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne.

He shook his head once. “No. Because I want more, too.”

Seth was one of those hard-headed heroes that thrived on being in control and had to have everything done his way but man did he melt me at every turn with how up front about everything he was. It’s funny that I mention how upfront he is because he also did his share of shady things and while the shady things weren’t that big a deal to me, I still thought he was an idiot for doing them. But holy cow, I loved this guy. He was my favorite guy of the week and I’m SO looking forward to reading the next book in this series in hopes of seeing more Seth. Love me some Seth.


Stay Until We Break (Hub City #2) by Mercy Brown
Smolder (Wildewood #2) by Karen Erickson
Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally
Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen


None. I’m playing catch up with my review pile and trying to stay on top of my book club reading so no new books this week.

For Review

None. That I can think of anyway.

There you have it, my week in books. How did your week go?

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