Donna Reads: Only You (One and Only #1) by Melanie Harlow

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Emme lives across the hall from Nate. They are friends. They share a love of James Bond movies and often spend evenings together watching a movie and sharing a meal. Nate is a womanizing playboy who often lends a sympathetic ear to Emme’s love life woes. Emme secretly would like more from Nate, but he is convinced that he never wants to marry or have children. He believes he and Emme want totally different things out of life. When an ex leaves an eight week old baby  girl on Nate’s doorstep, telling him in a note that he is the father, Nate is forced to man up and take care of his daughter. 

I loved this one. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Melanie Harlow’s writing. She is great with character development, and her story lines are humorous and have great depth. Nate had a very sad event in his childhood that destroyed his family and made him afraid of opening himself up to love. He was scared to love and lose again. Emme was convinced she only fell for jerks. In the opening scenes where she receives a wedding invitation to her ex’s wedding, I was laughing out loud.  Emme was sweet and adorable. 

The supporting cast of characters were also well written and added to the story the way that real friends and family would.  I highly recommend this one. 

Donna Reads: Close (Ryder Brothers Book One) by Laurelin Paige

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Natalia Lowen is an actress, 36, with a reputation as a good girl. She’s America’s Sweetheart. When she meets former boy band icon, now rockstar, 23 year old Nick Ryder, in a bar and they share a sexy dance together, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. She doesn’t expect him to feel the same way about her. 

This story was okay. Nick was much more mature than Natalia was. He knew what he wanted in life. She spent way too much time worrying about her reputation and what others thought of her. About 74% of the way through when she decided she was too old for him and wanted to end things, I got fed up and put the book aside. I did eventually finish, and they do work things out, but in my opinion the angst wasn’t necessary. 

2018 – Not All Bad

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I went through my calendar items and my photos for the year. All in all, 2018 wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t all that bad either. I spent a good third of the year sick, and I’ve lost more weight with my stomach woes. I also spent three-quarters of the year pushing myself and learning.

My starter guitar kit

On the learning side, I was inspired to use a $100 Amazon gift card on a very cheap beginner’s guitar package (a cheap electric guitar and a tiny amplifier). I took lessons as a kid on an acoustic and didn’t stick with it. I’ve always regretted not following through so I decided to pick up the cheap guitar to see if I could still do it. I could. Guitar one became eight guitars and two bass guitars (guitar acquisition syndrome). Daily practice sessions where I pushed myself to learn using DVDs, books and online lessons turned into weekly guitar lessons with a private teacher. She’s going to teach me bass, too, since I’ve been doing those lessons on my own for about a week now.

The sick of it was a series of infections – SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a UTI, an infected tooth and emergency root canal, and a long, drawn-out bout with a c. difficile infection that still hasn’t completely resolved itself. I’ve eaten a lot of bland food, taken lots of medication (thus the c. diff infection) and taken more medication to combat the CDI monster. My house smells like bleach, but I guess it could be worse.

2018 also brought two new tattoos and three rock concerts in five days. Not bad considering I was sick and on an antibiotic the week we attended the concerts, one including a trip out of town for two days.

Seen on the way to York, PA

I have no New Year’s resolutions for 2019. My only goal is to get well again. I’d like to spend some of my free time cleaning up the clutter that has taken over my house, but being sick most of the time, working full-time takes the majority of my energy. When I get home, I expend the last of my reserves on practicing the guitar and then I’m done. I sit with my feet up, a heating pad on my belly and a cat on my lap, and I fall asleep in my recliner.

Not a very exciting life, but not all bad either.

Donna Reads: Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1) by K. F. Breene

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Alexis is magical, but she thinks her magical skill is nothing special. She lives in the area between magical and non-magical people, and she’s raising two teenagers she’s taken in. She can see dead people, and she helps them cross over when they are stuck between worlds. She attracts the attention of the demigod, Kieran, and he asks for her help with his recently deceased mother who is one of the souls who is stuck. 

This one was just okay for me. The story wasn’t particularly interesting. Alexis was not likable, and sadly she did not grow on me over the course of the book. She was sarcastic and rude, and although the hero repeatedly expressed interest in her, she wanted no part of him. There was little to no romance here. They kissed a few times. There was no heat, no banter, and no charming back and forth. It was just boring to me. 

The best parts were when Alexis spoke to ghosts. I had to backtrack several times, though, and re-read because it wasn’t always obvious to me that people she saw or spoke to were deceased. There was no indication that they were dead until I realized no one else was interacting with them. This brings up another peeve – the writing style. It wasn’t always clear. 

Had I known this book wasn’t really a stand alone, complete story, I probably wouldn’t have read it. It seemed to ramble and not really get anywhere. I’m not sure I’m going to bother with the second book as I think the author intends to drag this on and on.