Friday, July 3, 2015

That Chesapeake Summer

Every summer I inevitably read two authors for sure: Dorothea Benton Frank and Mariah Stewart. They are summer time authors for me, always have been, always will be.

That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries #9)
That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries, #9)
Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books advocating transparency in every relationship. But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie. Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.
The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life. His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding. But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open.

Although this is book nine in the series, these are all stand alone. Whatever book your local book store or library has in the series, just grab it up and I promise you won't be disappointed. That Chesapeake Summer is yet another knock out hit by Mariah Stewart who makes you want to skip whatever vacation you had planned and instead travel to St. Dennis. She does such a fantastic job at writing about this sleepy little small town that you feel like you not only know everyone there already, but that you're practically a local reading the latest gossip of the area. It's so great and I always feel like I'm catching up with old friends when I pick up Mariah's latest books. 

But let's talk about the story. 

It begins with Jamie who has recently lost her mother. While trying to reconcile her mother's death and essentially being an orphan now that both parents are gone, she is dealt a shocking blow while cleaning out her mother's (and previously her father's) desk. While I can't tell you what that is, let's just say it's a pretty damning thing to find once your parents are gone. It calls into questions your entire life, which is exactly what Jamie starts doing. After some basic investigation, Jamie decides the only way to get the rest of the answers she needs is by traveling to St. Dennis to basically unearth old secrets, even if it means disrupting other people's lives for the sake of her own. So she books a room at the Inn at Sinclair's Point where she meets Daniel. Daniel has reluctantly taken over the inn after his father's death, but he's also grieving the loss of his wife while trying to navigate parenthood on his own. Jamie and Daniel don't make the best first impression on each other, but somehow it all kind of works out. 

What? It's a romance novel after all, surely you know what happens! 

I absolutely loved this and really enjoyed this as my right-before-bed evening read. I love this series (all of the books are really solid class romance novels) and it's a guaranteed good read. You really can't go wrong with Mariah Stewart, that's for sure. That Chesapeake Summer is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also connect with Mariah on her website as well as Facebook

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Take You

I have been on a roll of good books as of late, and this is no exception.

I Take You - Eliza Kennedy
I Take You
Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.

Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget.

For once, the back of the book description is EXACTLY what happens. It's not vague, it's a spot on description of what you are going to read. It is a hilarious take of a woman, who though she's smart and successful, she really should not be getting married to Will. She doesn't love Will, she's a put together hot mess and that's being mild about it. To sum it up? It's basically the dream chick lit novel for someone looking for a fun and quick summer read. It could easily be translated to a movie,  because Lily is all over the place. 

It does feature debauchery, sex, drugs, lots more sex, and a heavy dose of poor decisions but it's OK because it's all mixed with comedy. Lily is that friend that we all have, no question. Clearly, if you are going to take a book seriously versus understanding it's a work of fiction, definitely DO NOT read this book. Don't. You'll be disappointed, you'll be angry, and you'll feel cheap. But if you like to watch a train wreck as it happens and have a good laugh? This book is going to be an absolutely home run for you. 

To be fair, I did receive this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book. I managed to read it while feeding my baby, which was a total treat because save for one walk, I haven't left my house in a few days so this was a great pick me up. You can pick this book up at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as usual friends! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2 months

I can hardly believe that Penelope is two months old already. Some days it feels like, "holy crap- how are you two months??" and other days it feels more like, "Are you kidding me? It's ONLY been two months?!". But every day is certainly different and fun with her.

First off, she makes hilarious faces at me.
It feels wrong to laugh at her but I do it anyways.
She's a huge snuggle bug. She's most happy when being held, but holding her monkey or jingle puppy (not shown) are close seconds.
She absolutely adores Olivia, but I think she likes Jackson more. Mostly because he puts on "puppet shows" for her every day with random toys. He makes up voices and everything.
She smiles at him all of the time. She probably thinks he's nuts.
But she's often pretty chill.She is hands down, the easiest baby I've ever had. And yes, she is as long as she looks here.
Sometimes she zones out.
But then she starts smiling and you can't help but want to squeeze her guts. Or just her thighs.
She is a fan of eating, not so much a fan of napping but she'll do it under duress.
She's the sweetest little thing. Totally happy with life. Every morning when I go into her room, as soon as she sees me she starts flailing, smiling, and trying so hard to coo. It's the best start to a day, easily.
I thought staying at home would be really hard with a baby, and so far we've had a few difficult days, but for the most part it's a breeze. I am in love with this baby and even just a few hours away from her is difficult. I'm clearly her favorite, and that doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another piece of my youth has died a really sad death.

So, you remember on Saturday how I mentioned I was going to a super great concert? Yes, well that happened last night.

I left home around noon figuring that puts me in Minneapolis around 2:30, so I could eat and hang out with Amy and Brian before the show, since gates opened at 4:30. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and I ended up getting to the bar closer to 3:30 because as it turns out, it was bumper to bumper traffic the entire way and I was surrounded by RV's and boats. Oh yes, and the one random asshole driving a SmartCar, which apparently cannot do 70 mph, so it holds up everyone.

I shake my fist at you, SmartCar driver.


So I get there, end up parking kind of far away and having to walk past a few sketchy businesses to get to the Whisky Junction where Amy and Brian were. Thankfully they ate before I got there, otherwise I would have felt terrible. I ended up not eating, I wasn't feeling it and figured worst case scenario, I'd stop on my way home if I got hungry.

After hanging out in there, watching the rain and winds pass by, we went outside to see the bands. Augustana was first and they were actually really great. I've never seen them play live, but I'd see them again. Unfortunately, they only played a short set, but it was good anyways. The next band to play was Dashboard Confessional, who was the band I wanted to see the most.

And it pains me to say it, but they were terrible. Absolutely terrible.

Here's the thing. If you haven't been around for awhile, there are a few things you should do before you come out on what is basically a comeback tour, so you don't look like painful has-beens:

  • You need to practice. And if you have a band who hasn't played together in awhile, or new members, you need to practice a LOT together. Otherwise you sound like a really bad garage band where nobody knows the material and you sometimes sound like you're playing different things, or the same song at different parts of the song. 
  • If you're the singer, re-learn the words. Seriously. I know you wrote them and you feel confident you remember them, but you don't. A really terrible cover of this is when you ask the overly drunk crowd to sing for you. We don't pay for a giant sing along, we pay for tickets to hear YOU sing. Try it. 
  • I know when you were at the height of popularity, your main crowd was ages 13-20. Well, we've all grown up. Which means we aren't all throwing f-bombs around to sound cool anymore. The nice thing is that we've all aged with you, we all know we're cool without swearing like we would when our parents dropped us off at the mall. 
  • STOP TALKING SO MUCH. This isn't VH1 Storytellers, this is an actual concert in which we want you to play your music. 
It was like an hour long set and easily, the longest hour of my life. I couldn't even tell you what songs were played because the sound system was so terrible that when Chris Carrabba did sing, you couldn't really hear it if you were in the back avoiding the drunks. The really sad thing is they did play two classic Dashboard anthems, "Screaming Infidelities" and "Vindicated" and he wanted the crowd to sing and literally, I heard one person. Oh, and "Hands Down" was supposed to be this epic sing along and nada. Nothing. 

The other thing that made it special was being surrounded by a crowd of hippies who forgo showers and basic grooming. Normally, while unpleasant to look at, I don't care. You want to look like a homeless person? Cool. On a day where it's kind of warm and we're under direct sun? I really don't want to smell you. Seriously. I bath frequently and take every grooming practice so I am not offensive to other people. But nope, that's not common anymore, apparently. All I could smell was sweat, body odor, and the unexplained smell that comes from dreadlocks. It makes for an unpleasant fun night out. 

We didn't even stay for Third Eye Blind because I didn't have it in me to stand there and listen anymore. A large amount of people around us must have felt similarly because as we were leaving, quite a few left with us and I saw even more as I pulled out of my parking spot. Also, on Facebook I'm seeing equally terrible reviews and it's sad. It's sad when  you realize bands you adore and were a critical part of the soundtrack of your youth age as well and not always gracefully. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Second Life

If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, always with endings that make you question literally everything you've just read, then you need to read S. J. Watson. I read his first book, Before I Go To Sleep when it first came out and it was so incredibly amazing and creepy, I've since recommended it to people who are looking for good reads. When I  had the opportunity to read his second novel, I was all in, and thank goodness.

Second Life - S.J. Watson
Second Life
The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep ...She loves her husband. She's obsessed by a stranger. She's a devoted mother. She's prepared to lose everything. She knows what she's doing. She's out of control. She's innocent. She's guilty as sin. She's living two lives. She might lose both ...

There are so many things about this book that are absolutely infuriating, but my biggest complaint is the ending. Seriously, it all goes to shit and I feel like I never got a conclusion persay, though you know enough that you don't need an ending, so that's the odd thing. It's an ending yet it's not. The other thing is the main character, Julia. Oh lord I couldn't stand Julia. 

So basically, this is the cautionary tale of why you should never, EVER have an affair online. And you should never, EVER meet these people in real life. Is every online relationship like this? Good lord, no. But it makes you strongly reconsider it, that's for sure. Julia recently loses her sister Kate, who was a victim of what police believe is a random murder. Years ago, Kate gave birth to a little boy who she didn't think she could parent, so she let Julia and her husband Hugh raise him. After Kate's death, Julia (who is also a recovering alcoholic and former recreational drug user) struggles with relapse while trying to grieve her sister. The not knowing what actually happened to her is what challenges Julia the most, so she decides to investigate the online dating websites Kate used. 

Which is basically like falling through the rabbit hole. 

Julia meets Lukas, and what started as an investigation turns into an illicit affair she's not sure she wants, but she also knows she really does. Lukas is a promise of everything she is lacking with Hugh. But what begins as a casual affair quickly turns into an absolute nightmare, where her two lives start blending and Julia loses control all together. 

Absolutely fast paced, you don't know who is really who, and you are so frustrated with Julia who is making absolutely horrible decisions time after time. She's selfish, for sure, and she doesn't see her family spiraling out of control at the same time her relationship with Lukas is.  I absolutely love this author because you never know what to expect and the story is always twisted in the best possible way.  It's gripping, it will have you at the edge of your seat, and when you find out who is who, and who did it?


I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. Another home run by S. J. Watson, and I am anxiously awaiting another book from this author. S. J. Watson has a website, Facebook, and Twitter that you follow. Second Life can also be purchased on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble

Aeromancist Cover Reveal!

About The Book

Title:  Aeromancist
Book 3: Seven Forbidden Arts Series

Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015

Preorder Book Buy Links:


Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price.

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.

About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on

Contact Charmaine at:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flawed, but cleaning up so well

Once upon a time, the high school version of myself, had quite the crush on Chris Carrabba. If you don't know that he's the lead singer of a super amazing band known as Dashboard Confessional, I question our friendship. I really do.

I used to listen to all of their albums fairly religiously. I  haven't ever seen them play live, but I purchased the MTV Unplugged album and it was the next closest thing. 
They went on some weird hiatus and I just assumed that was it, I would never get to see them live and I wouldn't ever get to see Chris in person. My little teenage emo self was sad. 

Then, on an absolute fluke, I heard second hand that Dashboard Confessional was going on tour again. Wait, what? Is it 1997 and I don't know it? Has Britney done it again? Is Christina trying to get rubbed like a genie in a bottle? Do they even sell VANS sneakers to moms in mini vans anymore? 

I obviously went online immediately and YES. YES, they were going on tour. Not only were they going on tour, they were coming to Minneapolis at the end of June, and come hell or high water, I was going to go. You damn right. 

Thankfully, my friend Amy loves Dashboard Confessional as well and so the plan was in place. 


I see they are going on tour with Third Eye Blind and Augustana. Just... just shut the front door. My little inner teenage emo can't even handle what is going to go down on Sunday. Yeah, this Sunday, folks. 

Because anyone who knew me in 10th grade knew that I had a thing for Stephen Jenkins as well. 
You knew that Stephen was just a little bit unhinged and if you ever really went out with him, you'd end up at a really sketchy party, he'd wind up drunk, and you'd convince yourself he really DID love you and then you'd cry for months when you never saw or heard from  him again. Stephen is that guy. But my favorite Third Eye Blind memory was 10th grade gym class, just before the school year was done. I am not athletic in any way, so if I could get out of doing actual activity during gym class? All in. This particular day it was super nice out, so we had gym outside and I was in the group that was supposed to walk the track. Instead, we laid in the field with dandelions in our hair and sang "Semi-Charmed Life". But later in that year, when the boy I liked got a girl friend and totally stopped talking to me, I would sing "How's It Going To Be" while riding the city bus with my Sony Discman in my lap. Thankfully, the only people riding the bus on the weekend were a schizophrenic guy who didn't seem to hear me and this other guy who always slept so I'm not sure what his gig was. Needless to say, they never seemed to mind my random singing. 

Chris, though, is the guy who would totally write you angsty love songs and convince you to shave your head because bald is beautiful and tattoo song lyrics all over your body. I mean, I'd totally do that. 

And Augustana? My word. I absolutely love the song "Fire" and I have been known to bust that out while walking through my neighborhood. My lungs cannot do that last note though, and everyone on East Fourth Street can confirm that. 

So on Sunday, I am going to skip out of my house, leave all three kids in Matt's hands, and drive to Minneapolis. I'm meeting up with Amy and her boyfriend Brian, and we're going to watch Dashboard Confessional, Third Eye Blind, and Augustana play. It is going to be glorious. I can't even handle my excitement right now. 

Even if I'll likely be wearing my maternity jeans with the stretched out belly band thing and a shirt that doesn't quite fit because it's all I have. But by god, I shall dig out my black and white VANS for the occasion.