Donna Reads: The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1)


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steelThe Blurb: Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She’s determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and–under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen–totally hot. He’s happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper’s phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she’s started to put down roots in Miami, she’ll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

This is the first book I’ve read by Scarlett Cole. I believe it was also her first novel. I had a hard time getting through this one. It was so slow. I actually put it aside and read two other (faster paced) more interesting books before I could sit and finish this one. I liked the story although I didn’t care for the stalker aspect at all. I would’ve been happier if it had just been about the love story and Harper learning to trust again. I also had a hard time liking the hero. I wanted him to be different somehow. At times he seemed wimpy to me even though he did MMA training in a cage. He didn’t seem tough enough for that. I didn’t like the second person voice; it was lacking in description at times. Thinking back now, I couldn’t even tell you what Trent looked like other than extremely tall, dark and handsome. What color were his eyes? I don’t know. It didn’t stick with me. Since this story was so slowly told, it seemed at times like it would never end. When the story finally limped to its conclusion, Harper is the one who gets the bad guy. I kind-of wanted Trent to do that for her. I wanted him to do something other than love her and create an awesome tattoo. If he was that much man, he seemed a little wasted here. Harper spent three-quarters of the story worrying about his safety. Who was the guy here?

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Profound Listening 


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Blogging has its ups and its downs. Some weeks I’m on a roll, and I seem to have something to say almost every day. Some weeks I feel like there’s no point in bothering. What I have to say has all been said before, or someone else said it first and said it better. Those are the weeks I slip out of sight and wait until inspiration strikes again.While not always profound, I do okay. Most posts get a like or two, and some get more. Where I’ve struggled a fair bit has been keeping up with fellow bloggers. There are many of you out there who I consider friends, and I love following blogs and reading posts.

Not too many months ago, though, I walked away from blogging and focused all my creative time and energies on writing my own fiction. I got so caught up in the world and people I was creating that I never had time to read blogs. So I shut them all off. In a moment of insanity, I deleted it all. I stopped following, and I stopped all the emails I had filling my inbox to overflowing every day. That was a mistake. 

I lost touch with many people that I truly enjoyed reading. The silence was deafening. Then I realized the silence was lonely, and I didn’t like it much. 

 Now that life has settled in to more of a routine, and the fervor (or fever) for writing has died back to a manageable pace I’m trying to blog more. I’m trying to read more. I’m trying to photograph more. 

Hopefully friends won’t mind if I’m hit or miss with posts, comments or follow-up. Trying to do it all is hard, and I’ve never said that I was anything more than a work in progress.

Sometimes in blogging what I have to say is not as important as listening to what others are saying. 

Images courtesy of Pinterest 

Who Am I Really?


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I said hello the other day to a new employee in our work break room, calling her by name, and from the look she gave me, I could tell she didn’t remember my name. I wondered as I walked away if she were to ask another employee to refresh her memory as to my name, how would she describe me?

I’d like to think she’d say, ‘the tall blonde with the tattoos’, but I can’t be certain. I did have one of the older partners at the firm call me “Shirley” for a few weeks a while back. Maybe I looked like a Shirley at that time. I suppose it could have been worse. I didn’t have the heart to correct him because he’s such a nice man. He eventually figured it out.

I used to be known as the quiet one because I was painfully self-conscious in social situations. I spent most of my time observing others talking, rehearsing in my head possible comments I could make. I usually ended up saying nothing because by the time I came up with something witty, the topic had changed.

Back in High School, I used to be one of the funny ones. I enjoyed the heck out of a good laugh, and I got in trouble more than once for horsing around with my friends. I hung out with a bunch of girls who were always cracking wise and laughing. Outside of school, my cousin and I spent hours laughing ourselves silly.

For several years I was known as someone’s mother. I’m still someone’s (actually two someone’s) mother, but that’s not my primary function any longer. I would attend school meetings, and I’d hear, ‘this is Matt’s Mom’ or ‘Alex’s Mom’. I was proud to be their mother, but I used to cringe internally sometimes when I heard me introducing myself as, ‘Matt or Alex’s Mom’, as if I didn’t have a name of my own!

invisibleI spent several years being the invisible one. I’d go to the grocery store or shopping, and I’d get shoved aside by pushier people. In my younger years, hubby tells me I turned heads so at that point in time I must have been the attractive one. I was only vaguely aware of that sort of reaction.

Within the past few years, I’ve begun to feel a lot better about myself, and I’m becoming the confident one. I walk with more pride. I think that some of it comes with age. I don’t have to apologize or stand meekly by and wait for someone to politely invite me to go first. I go anyway. Let them think I’m a crazy, old lady. I don’t much care any longer. Obviously, I don’t shove people out of the way, but I don’t meekly let others walk all over me any longer.

How do people really see me? I’m no longer invisible. I think I stand out in a crowd. Hard not to when I’m usually a head taller than everyone around me, especially on elevators. Yep, that’s me. The tall blonde with the tattoos. And, don’t call me Shirley.

Image courtesy of Pinterest