7 Books I Enjoyed Reading In 2013

Happy Sunday!  Today I thought I would share the top 7 books I enjoyed reading in 2013.  I had set a reading goal of 130 books, but sadly due some stressful situations in my personal life, I wasn't able to pick up a book nearly as often as I wanted to.  Needless to say, I still managed to get in some pretty good reads that I recommend you checking out this year if you haven't already.

This was hands down the best nonfiction book I read last year besides the Bible.  The Invisible Girls is a memoir chronicling author Sarah Thebarge's struggle with breast cancer not once but twice and how meeting a family from Somali on the train changed her life.  This book moved me to tears. What I loved about this book is Thebarge was very honest.  She admitted being losing her faith because of her frustration with God for having given her breast cancer in her late twenties. 

 Reading Thebarge's story and the story of Hadhi and her girls really puts it into perspective just how hard and unrealistic achieving the American Dream can be and seem for many of us.  It also shows us that despite going through hardships God is forever with us.  Through our ups and our downs He has a plan for our lives.  And no matter how far we think we have strayed from Him, we can always return and renew our faith.

A collection of mini stories, this short novel  follows three best friends-Tara, Val and Kristin-as they each go through their own personal struggles to give love a second chance.  What I enjoyed about this novel is that I could relate to the characters.  We've all been through heartbreaks and had that one bad previous relationship that we were sure had ruined any chances of us finding Mr or Mrs Right.  As an independent author, Christina definitely holds her own with this debut novel in the world of contemporary romance.  She shows both promise and skill.

Mark my words, if you're a fan of contemporary romances or African American fiction, you'll want to keep your eye out for her future projects.  Her writing style is refreshing and she draws readers in so that by the end of the book they feel like they know these characters.


I enjoyed the 50 Shades series in 2012, but 2013 was all about Sylvia Day's Crossfire series for me.  I was actually introduced this series by my sister this past summer and I have been hooked on this Gideon and Eva love affair ever since.  I'm telling you, I could not put these books down.  They stayed glued to my hands.  What I like about the books is that while similar to E. L. James' 50 Shades, Eva comes off as a little stronger and rougher around the edges than Ana.  

There's romance, an affair, suspense and even murder.  The fourth book, Captivated by You, is rumored to be slated to be released later on this year.  I can't wait to get my pre-order and see what happens next.

Kristin Hurd is another up and coming independent author in contemporary and African American romance to watch for.  Her short novel, One Of A Kind, is about what happens when we let our egos get the best of us and almost ruin our chances with the person who's meant for us. The main character, Sean, has been crushing on boutique owner, Andrea, for some time now.

He finally gets to courage to ask her out and things seem to be going well until an old flame makes an entrance.  Sean quickly lets his ego get in the way of his better judgement.  While it's nice to fantasize about billionaire bad boys with Sylvia Day and E. L. James, it's just as nice to get lost in Kristin's cautionary love story about getting caught in a compromising situation with your ex.  Be sure to check out the recently released sequel Better off Friends too.

I stumbled across Maya Cross's Locked through a Facebook recommendation.  Don't let the fact that this is a short novel fool you.  There's lots of seduction and even the beginning of a mystery in the first book of the Alpha Group Trilogy. Supposed investment banker Sebastian Lock quickly starts to turn lawyer Sophia Pearce's world upside down after she breaks her way in to his secret club.

What sets Cross's story about from James or Day is that it's not set in America but Sydney, Australia.  And Love the bits and pieces of the Australian dialect comes through in her writing.  You almost feel like you're in Sydney and you can almost imagine the Sebastian's and Sophia's accents.  I'm definitely looking forward to finishing this series in the next the few weeks.

Hopefully, one or a few of these books will make it into your Kindles, Nooks or on bed side tables!

Until Next Time,

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Disclaimer:  When it comes to buying books, Amazon is my go to.  I hope you didn't mind the affiliate links.

So Obsessed Saturday: New Year's Resolutions

HAPPY 2014!  Hopefully, everyone had wonderful time ringing in the New Year.  I got to spend it with my family. We stayed in and flipped between channels watching a little bit of each of the different ball drop festivities.  Since it's the first So Obsessed Saturday of 2014, you already know what I'm what obsessed with this week.  It's New Year's resolutions of course!

Before I share what my New Year's resolutions are, I just want to know is it me or does it seem like a lot more people are anti-New Year's resolutions this year than last year?  Or any year for that matter?  I saw so many negative Facebook statuses and Twitter updates.  However, I'm a resolutions/goals/challenge type person.  I always believe that I have room for improvement.

So, yes, I'm obsessed with making a list of resolutions to accomplish each.  I started when I was in junior high and it's been something I've done every year since.  Some years were a hit and others were more of a miss.  This year has gotten off to a rocking start and I'm hoping it will be hit.  Without further ado, here's what I hope to accomplish in 2014:

Personal Life
~Take a family vacation/trip: My kids and I have been on lots of trips but they don't count as family vacations because my husband wasn't able to go.  I'm looking to change that this year.

~Workout 3X a week:  I'm determined to maintain a healthy lifestyle and part of that is maintaining a healthy and fit body.  Already have my workout playlist and I'm ready to sweat baby!

~Be more positive:  Last year I spent too much time looking at the glass as half empty.  It's time to flip that around and start seeing the glass as half full!

~Enjoy life:  At the end of the day, what is the point in having lived if you dreaded every moment of it.  I want to just actively experience everything that life has to offer me with joy and happiness.  Life is too short to spend it doing otherwise.

Professional Life
~Publish Forever Branded:  I've gotten off to a great start on this resolution.  Last night I stayed up the early AMs slaving over my keyboard working on this novel.  I'm so ready to finish it and get it published.  It's just so much excitement to hold in.

~Make a bestseller's list: For me this would be a dream come true!  What author doesn't want their book to well and to see it accepted and loved by readers?!

~Host at least three book signings:  Book signings allow readers to get know authors better and the opportunity to interact with them personally without a computer screen between them.  I'd love to meet and chat with readers who will have read Forever Branded and get their feedback for the next book.  Yes, there will be a second book.

~Network with other authors:  I'm still new this whole published/independent author world.  Connecting and networking with other authors who have had years of experience and success as published authors will be extremely beneficial for me.  They know tricks of the trade, know who to go to for things like book cover designs, editing services, etc and can give me advice on how to better interact and draw in readers.  Like I said, there is always room for me to better and improve myself.

So what about you?  Did any of you make New Year's resolutions this year?  If so year one or two in the comments!