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text 2020-06-26 01:21
Short and Sweet Summertime Reading Master Tracker - First Month Update
Because He's Perfect: Anthology for the Movember Foundation - Danielle Dickson,Anna Blakely,Ally Vance,Alice La Roux,Renee Harless,Sienna Grant,Claire Marta,Lexi C. Foss,Tracie Delaney,Dani René,K. L. Humphreys,Elle Boon,Carrie Ann Ryan,Victoria James,Samantha Lewis,Lexxie Couper,Anne Joseph,Victoria-Maria MacDonal
Once Upon a Wedding: A Fiction From the Heart Second Chances Anthology - Priscilla Oliveras,Jamie Beck,Falguni Kothari,Sonali Dev,Sally Kilpatrick,Tracy Brogan,K.M. Jackson,Hope Ramsay,Barbara Samuel,Donna Kauffman
No Dukes Allowed - Grace Burrowes,Anna Harrington,Kelly Bowen
This Wedding is Doomed! - Stephanie Draven,Jeannie Lin,Shawntelle Madison,Amanda Berry
Hearts Entwined (Ladies of Harper’s Station #2.5) - Mary Connealy,Karen Witemeyer,Regina Jennings,Melissa Jagears
Love By the Letters: A Regency Novella Trio - Kelly Bowen,Vanessa Riley,Grace Burrowes
The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations - Karen Witemeyer,Becky Wade,Sarah Loudin Thomas,Kristi Ann Hunter
Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection - Tracie Peterson,Karen Witemeyer,Jen Turano,Regina Jennings

Update #1 (June 25, 2020)

9 novellas read (about 25% of total novellas)

1 anthology finished

1 anthology DNF; read 2 out of 11 stories (18%)


I feel like I should be further ahead than I am. I am going to read more from my NOOK. No need for random number generator since the BL-opoly game is doing the job. 


Original Post

I decided that my summer reading project was to read anthologies and novellas/shorter works (150 pages or less) off my NOOK and Kindle. Short and sweet is the theme for this year, as I wanted space to read longer works at my leisure without feeling unproductive. Also, I want to have short works ready to read so I can structure my days around reading and other hobbies, errands, and such and not the news or social media (BL exception, of course) - I really need to get off my phone more, that screen time tracker is not good for my health.


Dates for this reading project: May 25th (Memorial Day) to Labor Day (Sep 7th) - 106 days. I am aiming for one story from an anthology or novella per day, with the goal of averaging about 100 pages per day. I put a few winter holiday ones on the list for a Christmas-in-July reading week. To kick off the project, I will be starting the longest anthology and use Random Number Generator to pick a novella. After that I will use RNG or go by mood - probably the second method most of the time.



1. No Dukes Allowed by Various Authors 0/3 stories read

2. This Wedding is Doomed! by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

3. Hearts Entwined by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

4. Once Upon a Wedding by Various Authors 2/11 stories read; DNF the rest.

5. Because He's Perfect by Various Authors 20/20 stories read - FINISHED!

6. Love by the Letters by Various Authors 0/3 stories read - Currently reading

7. The Christmas Heirlooms by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

8. Serving Up Love by Various Authors 0/4 stories read




1. Changing Leaves by Edie Bryant

2. The Cost of Hope (The Cost of Love #1) by G.S. Carr

3. Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove #1.5) by Tessa Dare

4. A New Life (West Meets East #1) by Merry Farmer Done!

5. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

6. Hollywood Holiday (Hollywood Headlines #2.5) by Gemma Halliday Done!

7. Out of the Storm (Beacon of Hope #0.5) by Jody Hedlund

8. A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House #0.5) by Kristi Ann Hunter

9. A Search for Refuge (Haven Manor #0.5) by Kristi Ann Hunter Done!

10. Love by the Letter (Unexpected Brides #0.5) by Melissa Jagears

11. Love on the Prairie (McKinnie Mail Order Brides #1) by Ciara Knight

12. Love in the Rockies (McKinnie Mail Order Brides #2) by Ciara Knight

13. Mrs. Sartin's Secretary (Lords of Chance #2.5) by Wendy LaCapra

14. That Healing Touch (Cutter's Creek #1) by Kit Morgan

15. The Christmas Mail Order Bride by Kit Morgan

16. What Lies Behind Us (World War II Sisters) by Sierra Rose

17. A Little Light Mischief (The Turner Series #3.5) by Cat Sebastian

18. Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club #0.5) by Joanna Shupe

19. A Hero's Promise (Culpepper's Ring Novella) by Roseanna M. White

20. Fairchild's Lady (Culpepper's Ring Novella) by Roseanna M. White

21. Mail Order Cowboy (Gold Valley #1.5) by Maisey Yates

22. Hometown Heartbreaker (Copper Ridge #3.5) by Maisey Yates

23. Claim Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #4) by Maisey Yates



24. Proper English (England #0) by KJ Charles Done!

25. Dance All Night (Dance Off #2.5) by Alexa Daria Done!

26. Willow: Bride of Pennsylvania by Merry Farmer

27. Engaging the Competition (With This Ring? Novella) by Melissa Jagears

28. Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure (Worth Saga #2.75) by Courtney Milan Done!

29. Dueling the Desperado (Brides of Blessings #4) by Mimi Milan Done!

30. Where Snowy Owl Sleeps (Brides of Blessings #9) by Mimi Milan Done!

31. Birth of the Butterfly (Brides of Blessings #11) by Mimi Milan Done!

32. Miracle on Ladies' Mile by Joanna Shupe

33. After a Fashion (A Class of Their Own #0.5) by Jen Turano

34. The Husband Maneuver (A Worthy Pursuit #0.5) by Karen Witemeyer

35. Worth the Wait (Ladies of Harper's Station Novella) by Karen Witemeyer





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text 2020-06-19 20:16
#FridayReads - June 19, 2020
Birth of the Butterfly - Mimi Milan
Proper English - K.J. Charles
The A.I. Who Loved Me - Alyssa Cole
New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep (A Vintage Short Original) - Samantha Irby
Once Upon a Wedding: A Fiction From the Heart Second Chances Anthology - Priscilla Oliveras,Jamie Beck,Falguni Kothari,Sonali Dev,Sally Kilpatrick,Tracy Brogan,K.M. Jackson,Hope Ramsay,Barbara Samuel,Donna Kauffman
Love By the Letters: A Regency Novella Trio - Kelly Bowen,Vanessa Riley,Grace Burrowes
Beneath a Ruthless Sun - Gilbert King
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy - Carol Anderson Ph.D.,Dick Durbin

It's Juneteenth, the day the last enslaved person was told the war was over and they were free. Yesterday, I attended (via Zoom) a panel discussion organized by Next Gen Climate Action Committee, a political action group my friend works for, on Celebrating Juneteenth and Ensuring Black Voices in Progressive Spaces. It was a great discussion and I am glad my friend invited me, considering I live in Kansas and the group works in VA on VA matters/policies. Rep Don Scott really spoke to my head and heart and he was on for just a few minutes. 


It's rainy and much cooler here, so no poolside reading today. I've got a beef soup simmering in the slow cooker for dinner; just have to whip up some cornbread to go with it and I am good to go. Spending the day reading and tonight I am going to watch Soledad O'Brien's documentary on the early days of COVID-19 in the US (it is airing on Hearst stations, so I am hoping to catch it streaming online).


Tomorrow is Litha/Summer Solstice and I have plans: including a hamburger picnic (using a plant-based "ground beef") and making Lemon-Ginger-Raspberry Zinger sun tea, while reading in the sunshine. Sunday is Father's Day, so I making a special easy breakfast for the hubby to enjoy, followed by pool time and a nice dinner. 


I'm finishing up Birth of the Butterfly for BL-opoly, then taking the weekend off from the game; right after that I want to knock out finally Proper English by KJ Charles. For COYER #BLM RAT, I am reading The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole and New Year, Same Trash by Samantha Irby. That's my weekend. 


Next week I will be working my way through Beneath a Ruthless Sun and One Person, No Vote for the library's adult SRP prompts. I swapped out Once Upon a Wedding anthology (that first story is a slog and I am still not done with it) with Love by the Letters anthology which I should get done by the end of the week (it is only 3 stories). I might just skip to the Sonali Dev's and Pricilla Oliveras' stories in the Wedding anthology and call it good - those were the reasons for picking up the anthology in the first place. And then whatever the BL game goddesses decide for me to read. 


Happy Juneteenth! Happy Father's Day! Happy Reading!



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review 2019-12-10 20:13
A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen
A Duke in the Night (The Devils of Dover) - Kelly Bowen

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


August might be a duke now, but he spent two years surviving on the streets while his father was in debtor's prison. He now can't make enough money and after he acquires a prime location that has a girl's school on it, he wants to buy Strathmore Shipping. The family is in dire straits, so he doesn't foresee a problem of them wanting to sell.

Clara is used to feeling ostracized, deemed a bluestocking and therefore of ridicule, she's ran the Haverhall School for Girls. Her family's money issues have forced her to sell and now the one man to ever catch her eye, is starting to show her attention again.


He had danced with her on a dare.


A Duke in the Night starts off showing the readers how a young, trying to fit in August asked Clara to dance on a dare. The dance and conversation they share ends up leaving quite an impression on both Clara and August and many years later they both still think about it. While this one waltz was a sparking way to start the story and their relationship, hinging so much of their initial feelings for one another on it created a lack of other emotional building moments. Our leads do a good job of talking and listening to one another, August especially has great growth moments, but they didn't crackle and jump off the pages as much as I would have liked.


His eyes crinkled at the corners as he grinned at her, and Clara felt rivulets of longing run down her spine. No man had the right to look that handsome when he smiled.


Clara was a great heroine, she's a bluestocking and experiences some of the consequences (shunned for friendship and romantic relationships) of her choosing to follow her heart and teach. In order to keep her school running, she must also keep her reputation in good standing. I thought the author did a great job giving us a strong-willed, intelligent, and courageous heroine that felt true to the times and honored her with also showing the difficulties. I would have liked more scenes with her siblings to get some emotional impact from those relationships, they seemed like such a wonderful supportive family. I did think her closed off actions and emotions toward August in the middle and end lasted too long and gave a bit of a dragged on feeling.


I don't want the woman you're supposed to be,” he said, his voice low. “I never have. I want the woman you are, and everything that that encompasses. I wanted her ten years ago, and I want her now.” He stepped closer to her, his hand coming up to toy with the ribbon at the front of her bodice. “A woman who knows her own mind. A woman who can make a man lose his. Make him do reckless things.”


The details of August's character were compelling but his background of having to survive on the streets just didn't completely emotionally come through to me; his supposed ruthlessness wasn't felt. His growth arc felt more centered on allowing his sister her agency and realizing she didn't want a quiet life of glitz and glamour. I thought his excuse for not wanting to marry, his parent's had a horrible marriage and he doesn't want to marry someone he “thinks” he loves. I think concentrating on his years of trying to survive and build his empire (workaholic) would have better served his character makeup; the whole not marrying for love theme fades away so much I almost forgot about at the end when he was still struggling with his feelings.


August and Clara were both intrigued by each other and I thought it was cute how the author showed them liking the other and having moments of feeling stupid because they thought they said the wrong thing, sweet beginning relationship stages of insecurity. Angst is brewing under the surface because the reader knows August bought Clara's school and that he wants to buy her family's shipping company, the school plot I liked simmering under the surface but the resolution was left to the very end and kind of emotionally dealt with quickly. The shipping company felt more clogging up as the predictability of Clara ending up thinking August was only paying attention to her for the company.


This was a good start to the Devils of Dover series, Clara's siblings are showcased enough to entice readers to want to know more about their storylines. August was a great hero in that he actually listened to Clara and took her thoughts to heart and Clara trying to help woman in the capacity she could was lovely to read. There were some arcs that I thought clogged up more than adding, especially the villain of a man felt he was done wrong by August and we get a whole kidnapping danger but oh wait, everyone is fine. A Duke in the Night had two characters that even years later were intrigued by each other, the power of one waltz.


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text 2019-12-10 00:01
Reading Update: 50%
A Duke in the Night (The Devils of Dover) - Kelly Bowen

Sometimes my food pairings are elaborate shrimp meals and sometimes they are milk dyed green.

It’s a Monday, folks!
A Duke and a bluestocking who can’t forget about the waltz they once shared and Grinch hot chocolate.
Happy new reading week!


A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen purchase link


Grinch Hot Cocoa recipe

If you like minty cocoa, this is for you


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review 2019-10-22 20:09
A Rogue By Night by Kelly Bowen
A Rogue by Night (The Devils of Dover Book 3) - Kelly Bowen
This is book 3 in the "Devils of Dover" series and features Harland who is the brother of the two sisters whose stories were told in the previous novels. He was the aloof doctor always running here and there with no time for dalliances. This time he finds love and adventure. I guess it’s the adventure bit that threw me off because I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous two. Well, that and the smuggling plot line. That was just not at all for me.
And can we talk about this horrendous cover? What did Harland ever do to deserve this pouty, shaggy haired, bug eyed cover shot? Couldn't they have cleaned him up first? Given him a little trim?

Katherine comes from a family of smugglers and has the skills of a surgeon but she is super vague about her training when she meets Harland after her brother is shot. She has reasons. The two have a frisson of sexual tension that blooms into some full blown insta-love without the witty banter and fun I love from a good romance. Kate has her back up and she’s a bit rude and because of a past love she has turned herself into a human ice pop who does not want to be licked - errr melted by love. Neither she nor he want or expect the feelings but the feelings won’t be denied. What can you do? They only intensify once he brings Kate and her brother to his family estate so the brother can recover.

So, I nearly DNF’d this story when Kate’s brother puts her life in danger because they’re all going to starve to death if she doesn’t do as he asks, apparently. Personally that sounded a wee bit dramatic but I wasn't living back in those times. Anyhow, since I was listening on audio I decided to stick it out and it wasn’t awful. It wasn’t my favorite either and it’s not a romance that’ll stick with me. I found it hard to believe that Harlan who is a baron which makes him titled and rich and super important (right?) is also a full time doctor and a helper of the smugglers. Shouldn’t he be off riding horses, tending to his estates and tying the perfect cravat? Hell if I know. What I do know is that you SHOULD NOT START THE SERIES HERE. Read the other two first or you'll really have questions. Anyhow, if you are a completest and/or have nothing better to do when you are scrubbing the house, give it a go. But honestly there are much better romances out there in the world. I’d recommend seeking out one of those instead.

I’m giving it a 2.5. Some of it was okay but some of it was aggravating and sleep-making because I personally find smuggling adventures uninteresting. You might love smuggling and love at first sight and if you do I say go for it!


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