Badass Book Review – Unloved by Katy Regnery

Unloved

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review – Unloved by Katy RegneryUnloved by Katy Regnery
on October 8th 2017
Pages: 301
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Goodreads
four-stars

My name is Cassidy Porter...

My father, Paul Isaac Porter, was executed twenty years ago for the brutal murder of twelve innocent girls.

Though I was only eight-years-old at the time, I am aware - every day of my life - that I am his child, his only son.

To protect the world from the poison in my veins, I live a quiet life, off the grid, away from humanity.

I promised myself, and my mother, not to infect innocent lives with the darkness that swirls within me, waiting to make itself known.

It's a promise I would have kept...if Brynn Cadogan hadn't stumbled into my life.

Now I exist between heaven and hell: falling for a woman who wants to love me, while all along reminding myself that I must remain...

Unloved.

**NOTE: This book is intended for readers 18+**

“I wasn’t born to a happy fate. I know that. But how I longed for it…It was never possible. The sons of murderers don’t deserve to be happy”

Unloved is my first novel by Katy Regnery and I found it to be original, touching, and very thought-provoking.
This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The idea of the haunted son of a convicted serial killer had me hooked – I’m a Dateline junkie! 🙂 The conclusion took a completely unexpected turn when I was convinced I knew how everything was going play out. That always scores big points with me. I even loved that it took place in the beautiful state of Maine, which is one of my new favorite places. 
Cassidy Porter – an anti-alpha male was a welcome change of pace. The development of his character really pulls at your heart. You come to see how pure and innocent and loving this man is. All the while learning how Cassidy’s past and his family’s misguided intentions have nearly destroyed how he sees himself and the outside world. It’s heartbreaking.
You can’t help but feel for Brynn as well, having faced her own tragedies in life and love. Brynn is determined to honor the memory of her fiance. In the process, she realizes she’s ready to move forward and live again and finds the bravery allow herself to do so.
The only thing I didn’t love about this story was that Brynn’s reactions were a bit unrealistic. (SPOILER AHEAD!) I don’t believe that a city girl would wake up finding herself completely isolated with a strange man and simply resign herself to trusting him so implicitly. I feel there would have been, at the very least, a lot more initial panic before coming to the realization that she was safe. THEN maybe, hmmm…this guy taking care of me is pretty hot…maybe being trapped off the grid with him isn’t so terrifying after all.
But that detail aside, Unloved really is a beautiful story full of lessons about life, love, moving forward,  and overcoming and breaking free from the past and others’ mistakes.
If you’ve read Unloved, drop me a line and let me know what you think!

About Katy Regnery

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Now exclusively self-published, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled Blueberry Lane Series, which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story, and Ambler families of Philadelphia; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; the Enchanted Places Series; and a stand-alone novella, Frosted.

Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s boxed set, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1-4, became a New York Times bestseller.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

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12 Badass Trilogies to Add to Your TBR List

Trilogies are the best and worst kind of torture in the world of reading. You read the first book, hit the cliffhanger, and end up agonizing while you wait for the next installment. Some are lucky enough to stumble upon a trilogy that’s already completely published. Then you have not just one book, but three books to devour; ensuring you won’t function in reality any time soon.

A lot of the books I’ve enjoyed over the years have been trilogies or part of a series. However, minor characters don’t usually hold my attention. Therefore I’m not a huge fan of series that branch off into novels about every supporting character. I can’t keep track of all them and end up having no idea who I’m reading about or where they fit into the storyline.

Personally, I prefer series and trilogies that follow the main characters from the original novel throughout each subsequent book, but that’s just me and of course, there are always exceptions. I break even my own rules! 🙂

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

So when one book just isn’t enough, here’s a list of trilogies to add to your TBR list!

Slammed Series (3 books) by Colleen Hoover

The Slammed Series by Colleen Hoover

Including Slammed, Point of Retreat, and This Girl, is the series that started it all – where my love for Colleen and indie authors began so many years ago. I love this series and all the characters and, IMHO, you should read every single book Colleen Hoover has ever written. She’s that good!

Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken becomes the rock for both her mother and younger brother. She appears resilient and tenacious, but inside, she’s losing hope. Then she meets her new neighbor Will, a handsome twenty-one-year-old whose mere presence leaves her flustered and whose passion for poetry slams thrills her. Not long after a heart-stopping first date during which each recognizes something profound and familiar in the other, they are slammed to the core when a shocking discovery brings their new relationship to a sudden halt.

Love Me With Lies (3 Book Series) by Tarryn Fisher

The Love Me With Lies Series by Tarryn Fisher

From my love of Colleen Hoover, I discovered my #1, The Queen, Tarryn Fisher. This list wouldn’t be complete without her first three novels, The Love Me With Lies Series including The Opportunist, Dirty Red, and Thief. Tarryn’s writing isn’t for everyone, or so I’ve heard. Some people just don’t identify or feel comfortable with her style of writing, they want the fairy tale. The only way to describeTarryn’s writing is that it’s the real, messy, sometimes cruel reality of life and love.

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Never Never (3 Book Series) by Colleen Hoover Tarryn Fisher

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

My two favorite authors came together in this trilogy. Colleen Hoover and Tarry Fisher teamed up to release The Never Never Novella Series including Never Never Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 and it’s about to be re-released in one book so I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy!

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning. He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.

trilogies

The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan

Including Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, and Out of Breath. This trilogy tortured me as I waited on pins and needles for each installment.  And it was always well worth the wait! There’s been buzz about a movie.

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises – not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth – but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret, she’s desperate to hide.

trilogies
Happenstance: A Novella Series
 by Jamie McGuire

Simply entitled Happenstance Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. This series had me intrigued from the start.

Erin Easter, one of three Erins in the small senior class of rural Blackwell High School who not only share a first name but also their birthday. A shocking tragedy rocks the tiny town, and Easter’s life is turned upside down in the best way possible. But when the truth is revealed and everything she thinks she wanted falls into her lap, life only becomes more complicated.

trilogies

The Providence Series also by Jamie McGuire

Including Providence, Requiem, and Eden. This trilogy breaks from my normal genre a bit as the plot follows some religious themes. Although in a non-traditional sense. I couldn’t put these books down!

In the old world shadows of Providence, Rhode Island, Nina Grey finds herself the center of a war between Hell and Earth. Struggling with her father’s death, Nina meets Jared Ryel, presumably by chance. However, it soon becomes clear that he knows more about her than even close friends. When her father’s former associates begin following her in the dark, Nina learns that her father was not the man she thought he was, but a thief who stole from demons. In searching for the truth behind her father’s death, she stumbles upon something she never expected, and something Hell wants, that only she holds the key for. Jared risks everything to keep the women he was born to save, by sharing the secret he was sworn to protect.

Don’t miss other titles by Jamie McGuire as well, she’s another author who hasn’t published anything I don’t like!

trilogies

The Thoughtless Series by S.C. Stephens

Including  Thoughtless, Effortless, and Reckless currently has five books in the series, however, the final two novels are based on the original 3, told from an alternate POV. You can read the first three books as a trilogy and I highly recommend them! These have stayed at the top of my favorites list for a very long time!

For almost two years now, Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender, and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together—Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university—everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart. Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source—a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he’s purely a friend she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes…and none of them will ever be the same.

update

The Collide Series by J.C. Hannigan

Including Collide, Consumed, and Collateral follows Harlow Jones through rebellion and relationship turmoil and has some great laugh out loud moments I can’t forget.

Harlow Jones has a troubled past and a questionable future. Surrounded by death, tragedy, and intrigue, she is forced to mature long before her time. Plagued by anxiety and depression, she hides her inner turmoil with spite and sarcasm. Her thick skin is impenetrable…or so she thought. Until she becomes involved with her grade twelve English teacher. 

trilogies

The Rebel Series also by J.C. Hannigan

Including Rebel Soul, Rebel Heart, and Rebel Song is one of the exceptions to my branch-off rule. Each of these books does follow a different set of characters. However, the first book drew me in, I had to see where everyone ended up! And if you’re in the holiday spirit, there is a novella Rebel Christmas that’s a nice little addition to this trilogy!

Tessa Armstrong has one more summer at home before heading off to college with her best friend. She’s been counting down the months, waiting to be free of her overbearing brothers and overprotective father — not to mention getting out of the small, suffocating town she’s grown up in. The one thing Tessa doesn’t count on is falling in love, least of all with Brock Miller. He’s the kind of boy her father has always warned her about. He’s older, mysterious, and a little dangerous.

Brock has had a hard past, and the whole town not only knows it but won’t let him forget. Brock has come back to take care of his ailing mother and struggling younger siblings. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, especially with one of the town’s darlings, but sometimes, love comes fast and fierce. Can Tessa and Brock find a way to each other despite their pasts and the obstacles their families present?trilogiesThe Sweet Trilogy by Abbi Glines

Including Sweet Little Thing, Sweet Little Lies, and Sweet Little Memories is available exclusively on iTunes. I’ve read Sweet Little Thing and it was a complete shock. I can’t wait to finish this trilogy!

The day her mother passed away, Beulah was only given a name. That was it. No other explanation. Portia Van Allan was not someone Beulah could believe her mother ever knew. Wealthy, self-absorbed and other than the fact Portia was supplying special care for Beulah’s sister, Portia was cruel. The day Portia’s son returns home for the summer, Beulah discovers that Portia isn’t in charge. This isn’t her home at all. Her late husband left her with nothing. It all belongs to their son who doesn’t seem to like his mother at all.

Jasper Van Allan doesn’t know why his mother has hired a young gorgeous blonde to take care of the house and almost lets her go before he finds out the truth. Realizing there’s more to Beulah than a stunning face, he keeps finding reasons to be near her all the time. It’s all falling into place, it all begins to make sense…. until the real lies, the dark secrets, and the skeletons come tumbling out of the Van Allan closet. Twisted truths that will send Beulah running . . .

trilogies

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by Abbi Glines so I can’t bring her up without mentioning The Rosemary Beach Series. There are currently 14 books in the series but I loved the first three, Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, and Forever Too Far.  This is a series that branches off following other characters so I never read past the first three novels. However, Abbi Glines never disappoints!

trilogies

Just One Day Series by Gayle Foreman

The two-book series by Gayle Foreman including If I Stay and Where She Went gained popularity and recognition when If I Stay, made its debut on the big screen in 2014. Also available from Gayle Foreman is the Just One Day Series, which I’ve not yet read but is definitely on my TBR list, including Just One Day, Just One Year, and Just One Night.

It all starts when American good girl Allyson—better known as Lulu—decides to spend just one day in Paris with Dutch hottie Willem. It’s a whirlwind adventure filled with heart-racing romance, but the next day Willem is gone without a trace. What follows is one year of searching that ends with a steamy reunion on the one wonderful night when they finally find one another again.

I hope you find some trilogies on this list that strike your fancy! Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts and if you’ve read any of these, or if there are other trilogies you’d like to suggest!

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Badass Book Review: For Now by Kat Savage

for now

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review: For Now by Kat SavageFor Now by Kat Savage
Published by Kat Savage on February 4th 2018
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Delilah Spencer is broken. Alone and starting over in her best friend's city is just what life calls for right now. She has a violent and painful past to put behind her and a lot to do to move on with her life. She has no intention of letting anyone get close anytime soon. Maybe ever.

Samuel Young used to be broken. Now, the single father accepts his past for what it is, raises his son Mason, and is trying to find some happiness. And while he thinks he's found that in Delilah, she's not sold.

As the two begin to push and pull, Delilah finds herself on the receiving end of strange happenings.

In a world where everyone has a past, what happens when they collide? Is the future shaken? Can they overcome it or will it rob them once again of what they deserve?

Can love survive when a heartache from your past intertwines with your present?

“By the end, I learned that a person doesn’t have to pack a suitcase and kiss you goodbye to leave you. Sometimes they will slip away quietly right next to you and you cannot reach them.”

I was pleasantly impressed with For Now, the debut novel by poet Kat Savage. It’s a love story with a dark background and a suspenseful twist. The plot is imaginative, compelling, and bravely deals with some very heavy subject matter. It was evident this novel was written by someone who’s endured the tragedies of heartbreak.
Delilah Spencer is a woman navigating the difficult process of healing after a painful past relationship. The last thing on her mind is having anything to do with a man. Yet, Delilah can’t help begrudgingly finding bits of hope in the charming and understanding Samuel Young.
However, an unforeseeable twist of fate pushes beyond the limits of Delilah’s fragile psyche. Afer all, how much can one person really endure? Will Delilah be able to move on, heal, and find the happiness she deserves?  For Now definitely has an ending you won’t want to miss!
My only reason for a 3.5-star rating is that, at times, I struggled with the writing style. The dialogue didn’t flow for me and some scenes didn’t seem to completely develop or transition smoothly.  
In spite of that, the creativity of the plot made up for my disconnect with the writing style. I was definitely able to look past the glitches and genuinely wanted to see this story through to the end.
I want to thank Kat Savage for the opportunity to read this ARC, it was a pleasure!  
If you’ve read For Now, drop me a line in the comments! Let me know what you think! 

About Kat Savage

Kat Savage has lived in many places but has yet to find home. She is a single mom of two who spends a lot of time pretending she is a dinosaur and building tents with bed sheets. She holds down a day job but hopes to make writing her living one day. She has love for sushi, coffee, getting tattoos, collecting typewriters and reading good books. She probably loved you in another life, but was broken then, too.

Kat Savage’s unique brand of storytelling combines some of her own truths with a little bit of fiction to connect to people in a very real way. She writes about ugly things authentically and shamelessly.

She recently combined her former self-published chapbooks into one collected volume of poetry titled This is How I Die and is currently working on her debut novel For Now.

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Badass Book Review: Hidden Seams by Alessandra Torre

 

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own. For more information click here.

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review: Hidden Seams by Alessandra TorreHidden Seams by Alessandra Torre
Published by Select Publishing LLC on January 18th 2018
Pages: 300
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four-stars


A billion-dollar fashion empire, and it’s about to be mine…

I've worked a decade for this. I've sold my soul and my reputation. I've lived a lie, smiled for the cameras, and hated myself, all for this inheritance.

And then … she pops up. A mysterious heir with a rap sheet, combat boots, and a mouth that I want to pin shut with my—

It doesn’t matter. I’ve played this game for a decade. I can continue the charade a little longer, keep my hands to myself and her body out of my mind. I can keep my secret until the ink dries and everything is mine. 

Or not.

I read my first Alessandra Torre novel, The Ghostwriter, last year and WOW! I LOVED it! It was by far my favorite book of 2017 and one of the best books I’d read in a long time.
I love my romance novels but I may love suspense and a good plot twist even more. The Ghostwriter is a dark, suspenseful, rollercoaster ride with an ending you never see coming.
Needless to say, I’ve been excited to read another Alessandra Torre novel ever since but I really had no idea what to expect.  
Hidden Seams did not disappoint. It’s definitely on the romance end of the spectrum and it’s a steamy, page-turner!
It’s a story of having to choose between love and the lucrative career, lifestyle, and image Marco Lent has worked and sacrificed many years for. The circumstances that bring Marco and Avery together are the very thing that should rip them apart, but the passion between them remains palpable to the very end.
Torre’s ability to draw you into a world of fairytale wealth and romance is remarkable. She painted such a vivid portrait of a world most of us couldn’t imagine in our wildest dreams.
Some may find the subject matter contained in Hidden Seams to be a bit controversial but I feel it was handled in a respectful manner and made for an extremely compelling aspect of the story. 
 If you’re in the mood for a sizzling hot, erotic romance full of fairytale fame and fortune, inner turmoil, and controversy, then pick up Hidden Seams

About Alessandra Torre

A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Alessandra Torre has written thirteen novels, three of which have become New York Times bestsellers.

Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was a breakout hit, rising to the top of the ebook charts on Amazon where it attracted the interest of major publishing houses and garnered Torre her first print deal with Harlequin HQN. Less than twelve months later, Torre signed a second print deal, this time with Redhook (Hachette) for the Deanna Madden series, an erotic suspense trilogy.

From her home on the Emerald Coast in Florida, she devotes several hours each day to various writing projects and interacting with her fans on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Happily married and with one son, she loves watching SEC football games, horseback riding, reading and watching movies.

 

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Badass Book Review: Whore by Willow Aster

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Badass Book Review: Whore by Willow AsterWhore by Willow Aster
on December 26th 2017
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Goodreads
four-stars

“I need a reason to exist.”

Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans sees herself.

A stain on society. A scourge. A waste. Outsider. Prisoner…

Any idyllic dream of the normal life she may have once imagined, Lilith buried long ago. Her only plan now is survival.

But mob boss Nico Santelli and community center owner Soti Christos have not given up on Lilith. Each has his own very specific, very opposing, plans for her, and neither will rest until it becomes a reality.

WHORE is a singularly bracing take on an ancient tale of tireless love, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption.

“One day with you is better than a thousand tacos.”
With a line like that, you know you’re reading a great romance. Someone out there obviously understands my soul!
Whore is the first novel I’ve read by Willow Aster and it was a great read. The taco quote is probably not the most representative quote from this novel but it spoke to me all the same.
I love it when an author has the guts to take some risks with their writing and with a title like Whore, you know the subject matter is going to be a little edgy. I love edgy!
As the title suggests, the circumstances surrounding the main character’s life are taboo and a departure from anything comfortable or familiar, but that’s part of what makes Lili’s story so intriguing.
In the beginning, you find yourself struggling, wondering if you’re going to be able to identify with her, like her, or be able to root for her. You’ll find that disconnect quickly changes as Lili fights for her life, her love, and overall redemption.
Add a strong, kind, loving man {picture Jason Mamoa as Soti 😉 } mixed with elements of action, suspense, and intense attraction and you have an adventurous and heart-pounding love story that isn’t the same romance you’ve read a million times. I gave Whore four stars!
Have you read Whore? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you thought or check out the synopsis below and add it to your TBR list! Get back to me when you’ve had a chance to experience the story of Lili and Soti! I know I’ll definitely be grabbing a few more titles by this new-to-me author!
In the meantime, happy reading!

About Willow Aster

Willow Aster is the author of USA Today bestseller, True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming; otherwise, the writing would never get done. She’s also an avid reader, and has been known to walk, cook, and clean with her nose in a book. She’s lived in Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, and California, but Minnesota has captured her now and doesn’t seem to be letting go. Although shy, this lifelong writer and artist is convinced that the best part of this career for her is meeting and connecting with readers, authors, and all of those in this community of lovers of words.

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2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge

reading book

I’m already looking forward to all that 2018 has in store. From trips I have planned to finally kicking ass on some goals I’ve set for myself, it should be a great year. One thing I’ve never done is any sort of reading challenge. I’m not a numbers person in any aspect of my life so I don’t like the idea of saying “I’m going to read 347 books this year.” I don’t even own a scale, so you get the picture. Life happens and who wants to feel like they failed over some arbitrary number?

So this reading challenge is a little more fun, and not overly ambitious. It might even help if you find yourself in a reading slump. So if you’re game, follow along with me and let’s see how many of these reads we can check off the list in 2018!

Next December I’ll come back and tell you what each of my selections was and do some quick mini-reviews. I’ve already listed the few I have in mind, others are going to take some pondering and actual research.

~DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE HERE!~

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

reading books

The 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge

A book published in 2018.
This is obviously going to be the easiest to check off the list. There will undoubtedly be a lot of books added to everyone’s never-ending TBR list in 2018.

A book published the year you were born.
Hmmm…I wonder what Google will have on the list for books published in 1979…

A classic book or a book published over 100 years ago.
I already know which book this will be and it will likely be my first read of 2018. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, originally published in 1844. A certain special someone told me this was their all-time favorite book so naturally, the book nerd in me has to know why.

A book that you’ve started before and never finished.
This will be an easy choice as well, I’ve got several of those unfinished books sitting on my Kindle, wondering why I left them hanging.

A book you should have read in school, but didn’t.
Did people actually skip required reading in school? Haha! I suppose it’s safe to say I wasn’t one of those kids. However, there is one book I read in school that I’ve really wanted to re-read and that’s To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

A Book you’ve already read – time for a re-read!
Re-reads are often mandatory for me. If I love a book I’ll read it over and over again. I love picking up on things I missed the first time around and there are several books I’d love to pick up for a second go-round. I’m thinking it might be Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

A book that you’ve put off reading.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Why do I keep putting this off? I have no idea; I know I’ll love it. But as usual, so many books, so little time, right?

A banned book.
The word ‘banned’ just makes me want to read a book even more and I don’t mind stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s time to do some research to find which books have made this list.

A book by an author you’ve never read.
Many of the books on this list will be by authors I’ve never read. So the question is, will I choose another book just for this category or make one of the other reads count here as well?

A popular author’s first book.
This is another that will take some research and decision-making. Usually, when I like an author I read everything they’ve written in chronological order. I’ll have to see what I’ve missed!

A book turned movie you’ve seen but haven’t read.
The more I thought about this one, the more books I came up with. Pet Sematary by Stephen King has been on my TBR forever. I loved the movie as a kid and have always intended to read the book. Another I may consider is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I adore that movie and would love to read the book. I’ve been told that Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is a must-read. I’m going to have my work cut out for me on this one!

A book turned TV show you’ve seen but haven’t read.
Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 TV shows I love that are based on books – Justified, which is based on a book series by Elmore Leonard Raylan and Longmire which is based on a series of novels by Craig Johnson. While I love both of those TV shows, I think I’m going to go with the third on my list which is the TV show Heartland. Yes, I secretly love that warm, fuzzy Canadian family drama, which completely destroys my persona of badassery. Heartland is based on a 25-novel series by Lauren Brooke. No, I will not be attempting to read all 25 novels. I’ll start with the first book in the series, Coming Home.

A funny book.
Who doesn’t love a book that makes them laugh out loud? This will be a fun read and an interesting glimpse into what fits the description of “laugh out loud funny”.

A book that will make you smarter.
It stands to reason that if we’re going to read a funny book, we should follow it up with something that will make us smarter. Smart girls are the prettiest.

An award-winning book.
Google will have to help me with this selection as well. I don’t pay much attention to whether a book is an award winner or New York Times Best Seller so now I’ll get to see what all the hype is about.

A book based on a true story.
I am looking forward to this one – I love true crime and anything based on a true story. What’s the saying? Truth is stranger than fiction?

A book chosen for you by a friend.
My best friend from college, who lives a thousand miles away, reads probably more than I do and I’m going to let her choose this book. I can’t wait to see what she chooses for me.

And last but not least…

A book set during Christmas.
This is something I like to do every year in December to get me in the Christmas spirit. Even if it’s cheesy. See my love of Heartland above.

Do you think you’re up for the challenge? Don’t forget –  DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE  and see if we can reach this reading goal in 2018!

Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you’re reading and I’ll see you back here next December to celebrate our accomplishments!

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Double Layer Pumpkin Pie Recipe

pumpkin pie

Continuing with the theme of fall baking favorites and my love of all things pumpkin, I wanted to share this Double Layer Pumpkin Pie Recipe just in time for Thanksgiving. You can also check out my previous fall recipe for the Best Ever Pumpkin Bread.

I understand that not everyone loves pumpkin, especially not as much as I do. However, no matter how you feel about the stuff, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie. This variation gives the traditional dessert a bit of a twist without steering too far from the original.

This is a dessert my grandma used to make every Thanksgiving and everyone always loved it. I never got my hands on her exact recipe so over the years I scoured the Internet and suffered several Pinterest fails in my quest to finally getting this recipe as close to hers as possible in order to carry on the tradition.

This recipe includes a layer of more traditional pumpkin pie on top of a cream cheese and whipped topping layer creating the perfect pumpkin pie combination that seems to be a hit with everyone who tries it.

The best part is, this is a no-bake recipe so it’s fairly quick and simple. Just be sure to leave time for refrigerating before serving! Add optional toppings such as whipped cream, pecans and caramel sauce to dress it up even further.

Drop me a line in the comments if you try this recipe and love it as much as my family does!

This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

pumpkin pie

Equipment needed:

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups whipped topping
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tbs, half and half creamer
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 - 3.4 ounce boxes of dry, instant vanilla pudding mix, unprepared
  • 1 - 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 extra large 9 oz graham cracker pie crust
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, pecans and/or caramel sauce.

Instructions

  • In one large mixing bowl combine softened cream cheese, sugar and 2 tbs of half and half creamer with whisk until smooth.
  • Gently add 3 cups of of whipped topping to cream cheese mixture until completely combined.
  • Spread cream cheese and whipped topping mixture into bottom of pie crust.
  • In second large mixing bowl combine both packages of pudding mix and 1 cup of half and half creamer with whisk until completely combined.
  • Add pumpkin and spices to pudding mix, stirring until completely combined.
  • Let pumpkin and pudding mixture stand for several minutes until set.
  • Layer pumpkin mixture over cream cheese layer, spreading carefully.
  • Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.
http://mehawkins.com/double-layer-pumpkin-pie/

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My Candles Are Better Than Yours

Candles Malicious Women

When I decided I wanted to showcase badass, inspirational women on my blog, one of the very first women I thought of was Lacie Marsh-Carroll, owner of Malicious Women Candle Co. out of Lake Stevens, Washington. I love candles, I love cussing, I love fierce and feisty women. And this genius went and combined all those things into beautiful little jars of awesomeness. What’s not to love?

In the short time that I’ve been following Lacie and her business, I’ve seen someone who is a real, down-to-earth, hard-working woman. She’s known struggle and is now tasting success after bravely venturing into the world of small business.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

Candles

ABOUT MALICIOUS WOMEN CANDLE CO.

According to the website “Each candle is hand poured and scented with a custom fragrance blended by the original Malicious Woman herself. Each label has a story and an experience, that have made me and my besties laugh our asses off over cocktails. Nothing says “You’re my best bitch” like a Malicious Women Candle. Whatever the occasion, these rustic-chic candles are guaranteed to create an experience of laughter. We hope you are able to see yourself in one or two of our humorous labels and support a greater cause.”

I find Lacie’s story really inspiring and you can read more about Lacie, the company, and The Backstory on the website.

CHARITY

Yes, you read that right, these candles also “support a greater cause”. As if these kick-ass little candles weren’t already amazing enough, Lacie also uses her small business to give back to the community and to women who need help the most. “MWCC’s mission is to provide a light for women who find themselves in a dark place through supporting and donating a portion of the proceeds from each sale to empowering women.”

The main program MWCC currently supports is the Dress For Success program in Seattle, Washington. Dress For Success’ mission is empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women re-entering the workforce.

CHOOSE YOUR LABEL, THEN CHOOSE YOUR SCENT

There are many label collections to choose from. These are just a few of my favorites:

“The F-Bomb” Collection which includes labels like
* Shit.Fuck.Damn, infused with Sentence Enhancers, (this was my first purchase)
* Unfuckwithable, infused with A Resting Bitch Face

“The Bitch” Collection featuring
* Bitches Get Shit Done, infused with Ambition or
* Karma Bitch, infused with Cause and Effect.

The “Welcome Home” Collection features
* Please Don’t Do Meth in our Bathroom infused with A Sense of Judgment
* Freshly Signed Divorce Papers, infused with Independence.

For those of you looking for something a little more family oriented there’s

The “Mom” Collection
* World’s Okayest Mom Infused With Feelings of Mediocrity
* Wine About It Infused With Girls Night Group Therapy
* I Drink Coffee Like a Gilmore Infused With Fast Talking

And The “Sports” Collection
* I Only Raise Ballers infused with Mama Pride
* Basketball Life Infused With Air Freshener, Lost Jerseys, and Eating Dinner From A Bag

These couldn’t speak more loudly to my soul. I love the humor, uniqueness, and creativity that goes into every candle.

The best part is, you choose the scent that goes into your pot of sass! A few of my favorites are:
* A Hot Mess – a custom blend of warm baking spices, sweet cinnamon, and a hint of black tea for balance
* Vanilla Sugar -cookies straight from the oven
* Luscious Lavender – warm and natural, blended with just a hint of softness
* Leather n Lace – a brushed leather top-note over a light creamy vanilla base.
* Falling Hard – a seasonal scent – vibrant orange peel, juicy apples, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon followed by a                                        hint of vanilla and musk.

My Pick!

Although I had an extremely hard time deciding which candle would be my first, I eventually ended up ordering Shit.Fuck.Damn scented with A Hot Mess and I adore it! Shipping was fast and I’m very pleased with the quality of the candle. I can’t wait to add more to my collection!

candles

I want one of these candles in every room of my house and I want to buy 10 of them for each of my friends because they obviously make great gifts for so many occasions.

Go check out the full collections of label and scent offerings on their website and order yourself a few of these badass candles. Support small business and support badass female entrepreneurs while getting a quality item you won’t find anywhere else!

https://maliciouswomenco.com

You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram! I love seeing all the new ideas as they’re created!

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Badass Book Roundup – Fall 2017

Book

I’ve loved a good book for as long as I can remember. I feel like I have a really special bond with my fellow bookworms so this is something I’m really excited to share on my blog.

One thing I don’t like, however, is spoilers – so much so that I often won’t even read blurbs. If I see a book that my trusted sources are raving about, I just dive in. I don’t want to know anything, I want to be unprepared and uninfluenced by preconceived notions. It’s so much more fun that way!  

And instead of starting the book portion of my blog with full-on book reviews, I thought I’d try something a little different and just do a brief round-up of what I’ve loved and what’s on my TBR list so far this year.

I read a LOT but there’s always those few that just really stand out amongst the crowd. I think that’s how you know when a book is really good. When it’s been weeks, months, even years later and that book still resonates with you. Those are the books that are featured here.

This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

books

The Ghostwriter by Allesandra Torre

This is by far the best book I’ve read in a very long time. Hands down my number one pick for 2017. That’s saying a lot since my two favorite authors released books this year both of which were outstanding. The Ghostwriter is an absolute page-turner – I could not put it down. If you’re into dark and twisty and a need a good dose of suspense, you have to read this book.

 

 

 


Atheists Who Kneel and Pray by Tarryn Fisher

I’m a Tarryn Fisher junkie. I’d read her grocery list but I bet she’s too cool to write one. Her writing can be dark but I crave her raw honesty when it comes to love and life. She’s able to put my experiences and emotions into words better than any author I’ve read. Her words will rip every deep-buried emotion from your core. Atheists Who Kneel and Pray is no exception – I feel these are her most powerful words on love to date. I highly anticipated this book for months and spent a Friday night on my couch reading the entire thing in one sitting. Then I read it again. So yeah, I think it’s pretty good.  If you’re looking for a love story that’s real – not sugar coated – give this book a chance. By the way, it’s not actually about atheists or religion. 😉                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 Without Merit: A Novel by Colleen Hoover

Colleen tortured us for months awaiting the release of this little gem. You’ll fall in love with the colorful cast of characters that make up the family of Merit Voss and get an honest glimpse into a dynamic that’s not exactly typical but still filled with love. The subject matter isn’t light, but Colleen always knows how to put the hard topics into a perspective that leaves you feeling like it’s okay to not be okay and show us that we all fight through hard things in life.

 

 

 

 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Although this is a 2016 release, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things finally made it to the top of my TBR list. The subject matter of this book is understandably hard for some to accept. However, despite the less than comforting subject matter, I feel it was really beautifully written and portrays a very real element of our society. I don’t think this book or my recommendation of it is intended to condone the subject matter contained in its pages, but more so, to educate readers, to open their eyes and see things from an honest and probably unrealized perspective. Not everyone is raised in a world of wholesome families and white picket fences. Go into this with an open mind.

 

 

Bright Side by Kim Holden

This is another earlier release but I just couldn’t leave it off the list. Bright Side was just recently brought to my attention in one of my book groups. This book wins the award for inducing the worst book hangover I’ve had in years. Wow. Without giving too much away just prepare for an emotional read. And I hope you really enjoy the word “dude“.

 

 

 

 

Exits, Desires, & Slow Fires by J.R. Rogue

I’m new to J.R. Rogue’s poetry but I love what I’ve read of it so far. I’m not a huge poetry buff per se but if you like poetry along the lines of Atticus, Tyler Knott Gregson, or r.h. Sin, I’d say J.R. Rogue is their female counterpart. Real, raw views on love, depression, and life in general.

 

 

 

 

 

And, last but not least is my pick for the most anticipated book on my TBR list this fall:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Like most people, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by John Green. I’m excited to see what he has in store for us with his latest novel, Turtles All the Way Down. No, I haven’t read any blurbs so I have no idea what to expect but I’m sure it will end up on my next Badass Book Roundup!

 

 

 

 

 

Does anyone have any thoughts to share on these titles? Have you read any of them? Drop me a line and let me know what you’ve loved, what you’ve hated or if you have any suggestions for a 2017 must-read. Leave a comment and let’s chat!

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No, You Can’t Start A Blog In 2 Minutes

Blog Tips

Welcome to the first installment of No Bullsh!t Blog Tips. My goal here is pretty self-explanatory.

When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I had NO clue about any aspect of blogging. To say I knew nothing, would honestly be an understatement.

So I started reading and reading, and reading some more…there is a TON of information out there.  If you’re just getting into the world of blogging you know how overwhelming it is. The more I read, the more I kept coming across some of the same information over and over again, which is to be expected.

However, what I also found was that a lot of what I was pulling up really didn’t contain the valuable information their catchy titles claimed. Their statements were less than helpful and often downright misleading. Additionally, when I started to do more in-depth research, I was finding that some of the advice was simply not dependable.

There are a lot of people out there willing to tell you to use certain blogging products and services in order to make themselves a quick buck. Some of those products and services are not reliable and are not even being used those promoting them. I quickly vowed to never promote a product I didn’t already use and love. I’m going to tell you exactly what I’m doing, what I’m using, and how it’s really working for me. 

This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. However, the opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for writing this article. For more information click here.

Blog

No Bullsh!t Blog Tip #1: No, you can’t start a blog in 2 minutes

The biggest example of what I’m describing above is the hundreds of blog posts I’ve seen stating something along the lines of “Start A Blog in 2 Minutes!” Really? Is it that simple? Two minutes and I’m on my way?

No, it isn’t. 

When you pull up these blog posts, ready to see how you’re going to be blogging in a matter of minutes, what you find is actually a blog post about signing up for web hosting services.

Starting a blog and purchasing a web hosting service is NOT the same thing.

If you know as little as I did (and still do) about blogging , you might be awfully disappointed to click on one of the links in these articles, pay for your web hosting service and still have hours, days, weeks and months of work to do before you’re able to launch your blog.

Even worse, you may eventually find that you signed up for a mediocre web hosting service that isn’t worth the money you invested.

All because someone was being a bit deceptive in their attempts to “sell” you something.

It has taken me SO long to launch this blog. So much longer than I ever, ever imagined or anticipated. I’m notoriously impatient and a painful perfectionist. I needed to take a step back, realize it wasn’t going to happen overnight, and tackle one small task at a time so that eventually everything would fall into place.

Are you ready to sign up for a web hosting service?

There are several steps you can and should take before signing up for a web hosting service. A few of these steps include deciding on a niche and a corresponding, easy-to-remember domain name, then checking the availability of your domain name with social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This will establish a cohesive foundation for promoting your blog once it’s up and running.

However, if you are ready to sign up for web hosting, stay tuned! My next post, No Bullsh!t Blog Tip #2, will be all about signing up for web hosting with Siteground. It is a relatively quick and easy process, even if you’re switching from another hosting service, and I highly recommend them!

Blog image Copyright: lux100 / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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