Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Tour for Salvaged by Jay Crownover (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Two kindhearted people find healing after years of life bruising and battering them in this emotionally intense tale that pulls at reader's heartstrings and is a beautiful addition to a series full of memorable characters and uplifting conclusions.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Salvaged by Jay Crownover, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this fourth installment in the Saints of Denver series make sure to fill out the form for the chance to win 2 signed bundles of the first three books in this series too!

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancĂ©e who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.
Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.
The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

EXCERPT:

“I don’t know that I have the time to take on a puppy right now, Poppy.” He lifted a hand and rubbed it across the back of his neck. His mahogany-colored eyebrows pulled into a vee over the top of his nose and the corners of his mouth pulled down in a frown that was too harsh for his pretty face. I liked it much better when he smiled and his twin dimples cut deeply into his cheeks.
I bit my bottom lip to keep the distressed noise that I could feel climbing up the back of my throat at bay. I knew he might say no but I couldn’t hide the fact that I was disappointed by his decision. I honestly felt like he and the puppy would be good for one another, that they could bring a little joy into each other’s life. It broke my heart a little that Wheeler wasn’t ready to open his heart up again, even when it was to something that was so obviously eager to love him unconditionally and irrevocably, unlike his ex.
It’s okay, Wheeler. Like I said, I’ll take him home until I can find a place for him. I’m sure Dolly could use a friend.” I crouched down and wiggled my fingers to get the dog’s attention, and grinned when he bounded over, tripping over his front legs as he scrambled in my direction. “I can take him to work with me and hold on to him until I figure something out. One of the boys at the shop will step up if Dixie doesn’t want another dog." I heard him sigh and looked up to see him watching me intently. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something, then let it snap shut with his teeth audibly clicking together. I didn’t know much about Wheeler, but what I did know I liked. He was nice. He was polite. He was thoughtful and he was kind. But more than any of those things, he went out of his way to hold himself in a way that wasn’t threatening or intimidating because he was aware without me saying a word how jumpy I was around people, men in particular. I hated that they were bigger than me. I hated that I knew firsthand how badly they could hurt me if they had a mind to. I hated that I wilted and cowered under their attention, even if it was innocent and friendly. The fact that he took care not to spook me spoke volumes and made me feel awful for putting him in such an awkward position.
“Poppy…” He sounded regretful and I had no interest in dragging the torture out any longer for either of us. I scooped up the dog and buried my nose in the top of his head.
“Seriously it’s no big deal. I love him and I’m happy to wait until I can find him a proper home. It was stupid of me not to consider how busy you are with everything you have going on in your life right now. A puppy is a big commitment and that’s not something you can put on someone else without discussing it with them first.” The dog swiped his tongue across my face, no doubt feeling my distress and rising panic. I wanted to tuck his warm little body to my chest and run away like I was trying to score a touchdown in the other team’s end zone. “I should have known better.”


FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON (US)  |  AMAZON (UK)  |  AMAZON (CA)  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  GOOGLE PLAY  |  iBOOKS


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

When it comes to putting characters through the emotional wringer Ms. Crownover has become a master, not only by tugging at reader's heartstrings but also at making readers fully invested in her character's outcomes.  From start to finish this book takes readers through numerous highs and lows, from tears to an uplifting ending that defines happily ever after and it was a hard-fought journey for two very deserving characters.

The son of a drug addictive mother, Hudson Wheeler's childhood was one of being shuffled from one foster home to the next.  He never felt a connection to anyone, never felt like he mattered to anyone, and never felt worthy of anyone's attention.  With all he went through growing up it had me sympathetic towards him from the start and rooting for him to find someone to finally see him as the gentle giant that he is.  It wasn't until high school that he found something that made him feel special...fixing up classic cars.  This talent set him apart, helped him make a name for himself, and gave him a path to the future.  Despite how he grew up Wheeler was a kindhearted man, always helpful to others, and though his size and tats were somewhat intimidating it's clear he has a big heart.  That big heart though made it easy for the woman he planned to marry to wrap him around her little finger, to have him work himself to the bone, to give her everything she wanted.  When he discovered her affair with another, her betrayal left him with a broken heart as well as a baby on the way. In the midst of all this chaos he finds himself growing ever closer to the timid and emotionally battered Poppy.  Her fears had him holding back before but it's becoming clear that it's only in her presence that he finds peace.  It's only by earning her trust that he truly feels worthy and though their journey evolves slowly it's a journey he's more than happy to take.  Wheeler's looks may be intimidating but he's a gentle soul, sensing her fears and giving her strength while still protecting her.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and through small touches and sweet words their romance charmed me.  Wheeler's the quintessential book boyfriend who says and does exactly what you dream of and he still plays a central role in my nightly dreams.

Poppy's childhood was also unsettled as the daughter of a malevolent preacher who used the Bible and his condemnation as weapons against his family. Though her sister was able to rebel Poppy's loyalty and soft heart kept her from doing the same.  In trying to be a dutiful daughter she set herself up for even greater pain, taken advantage of by men who used her kind soul against her.  A sheltered, and smothering, upbringing left her vulnerable to men who sensed her loneliness and need to be loved and who left her bloody and broken.  With a lot of therapy she's slowly come out of her shell but men still leave her cringing. Wheeler's the first man to reawaken her libido, the first man to have her wanting to run towards him instead of away.  He never rushes her and lets her take the lead in a sweet and sensual relationship where they both have times of needing to lean on the other.  Poppy's journey of empowerment is a cheer-worthy one as her initial fears regarding men were palpable.  The horrors of her childhood and the betrayals by men who swore their love to her were vividly depicted and left me aching for her.  Wheeler's love, along with the unconditional love of a cute puppy, was the first step in her healing and hard-fought journey to HEA that I was fully invested in seeing come to fruition.

This was a story where the good guys finally finished first after years of fate treating them like a punching bag both physically and emotionally.  Poppy especially had it rough which is why her journey took center stage here.  She was extremely timid and jumpy at the start but by the end she was standing up for herself and others, putting herself in danger to save another from her father. Though this decision had a shocking outcome I still applauded her empowerment and the vibe of serenity and strength surrounding her by the final page.  Wheeler's journey is just as uplifting.  He always wanted to be part of a family and through all the friendships he's made he finally has one.  It's a big extended family made up of colorful and supportive people who are there for him whenever he needs them.  He's the perfect hero through all his words and deeds and I wish even more time had been devoted to him as his mix of sexy and sweet left me drooling over him.  The romance between him and Poppy started out sweetly but became more sensual in scenes that were about more than just sex, it became a cleansing for both and a way to leave their pasts behind them.  This was a sentimental tale too as readers get to say goodbye to the characters that have inhabited this world throughout a number of books. These characters are loyal, strong-willed, and offer unconditional support and I've come to see them as family too.  I loved catching up with all of them and the epilogues wrapped up their journeys with a big bow that warmed my heart. Readers who haven't yet started these books should do so now as they're a beautiful depiction of love and romance!

My rating for this is a B+/A-

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


AUTHOR INFO:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked MenThe Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Blast for The Amethyst Bride by Kelsey McKnight (GIVEAWAY)


Fans of historical romances will find themselves drawn to this tale of a strong-willed woman torn between the attractions of two very different men.  Keep reading to get a tempting glimpse of The Amethyst Bride by Kelsey McKnight, with its romance that takes us from the bustling city to the quiet Scottish countryside, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this second installment in The Scottish Stone series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win e-copies of this book long with e-copies of the first book in this series and future releases in this series too!

British heiress Penelope Elmsly always thought she’d marry young and settle down to a life of domestic bliss. But her perfect plan may come unraveled, along with her corset strings, when two men vie for her hand.
One is a wealthy businessman who offers her the financial stability and social standing she always held dear. The other is a rugged Scottish highlander who gives her passion she never knew she desired.
With two amethyst rings upon her finger, Penelope has a choice to make, and she can’t afford to choose wrong, especially when more than just her livelihood is at stake.
Will she walk down the aisle into a life of luxury, leaving her heart in Scotland? Or will she choose to save her fortune, and her reputation?



FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY AT AMAZON here.


BOOK TRAILER CAN BE SEEN here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Kelsey McKnight is a university-educated historian from southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history, and literature to create her newly finished works. Her first books, "The Scottish Stone Series", are coming in April of 2017 by Limitless Publishing. Book one is titled "Queen of Emeralds", and is available now. "The Scottish Stone Series" take readers on a journey through the bustling streets of Victorian London and into the lush hills of the Scottish Highlands. Her second book, a contemporary romance titled "The Non-Disclosure Agreement", will also be available in May of 2017 and feature a bad boy politician and the small town girl that could change his ways. When she’s not writing, Kelsey can be found reading, drinking too much coffee, spending time with her family, and working on two nonprofits.


**********GIVEAWAY**********

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review for Tender Dance by Deanna Roy


It’s happened. The worst thing I could have imagined.
Despite how hard we tried, the world has discovered my secret child.
Everyone is against us. Her adopted mother, my friends at the Dreamcatcher Dance Academy. Even Blitz seems at a loss at how to handle my grief at losing my tender relationship with my little girl.
When a small ballet troupe asks me to join their ranks as a dancer, I wonder if it’s time to start over, leave everything behind, and make a life for myself.
But Blitz Craven has one more plan for me. And when he holds out his hand, I have to decide for the first time, what is it that I have always wanted?

********************

Readers are once again pulled into the world of dance and the sweet and sensual romance between Blitz and Livia that began three books ago.  After reaffirming their relationship in the previous installment under the watchful eyes of America, and throughout a reality show competition, their romance is once again put to the test here as Livia goes out on her own after being given the chance of a lifetime.  Because of all her hard work, and being seen as a media star, she's offered the chance to dance on tour as a character that will have people (and herself) seeing her in a whole new light.  It also means long hours of dancing and trying to prove her worth, lots of loneliness, and being forced into relying on herself as Blitz will be miles away.  It's not just the stresses of being part of a touring dance company that weighs on Livia though, there's also the reveal of a secret she's long struggled to keep hidden...the existence of a daughter she was forced into giving up for adoption.

There was joy at the start of this book as Livia and Blitz had just proved in front of millions of tv viewers that they're a match made in heaven.  There was contentment too surrounding the special dance lessons she was giving, and the opportunities to get close to, the daughter she once gave up for adoption.  That happiness quickly went up in flames though as the paparazzi discovered her long hidden secret which once again tore her daughter away from her and left Livia mired in depression.  Livia's depression was palpable and had her acting out in over-the-top ways, trying to push Blitz away, and it had me angry at her for taking her loss out on him.  Therefore the chance to hit the road and leave all the unhappiness behind came at just the right time and through her time away readers got to see Livia mature and become more assertive.  Life on the road was vividly depicted and consisted of grueling practices, sore bodies, and endlessly trying to prove her talent.  Cattiness and jealousy from other dancers was on display, but there were also new friendships formed which gave Livia a sense of belonging she hadn't felt before.  Livia's time on the road allowed for lots of introspection on how she saw herself and what she wanted out of life.  Her guilt over giving up her daughter was dealt with vividly, and a bit hypocritically, in an exchange with another dancer that brought out a judgmental side to Livia but ultimately helped her reach inner peace. Issues regarding her family, and her father's treating her like a pariah, were also dealt with head-on and saw her finally standing up for herself after many years of her father's treatment of her that bordered on abusive.  In her time away Livia finally started liking herself and taking pride in all she accomplished which had me cheering.

With this installment Livia took center stage as life on the road saw her becoming a woman, a woman who could stand up for herself and who took charge.  I liked seeing Livia's growth but I missed Blitz as he was relegated to the sidelines this time around. What we saw of him though was the immensely appealing man he's become since meeting Livia.  He's sweet and supportive and quick to do whatever it takes to make her happy.  He takes great pride in her accomplishments and never took over her spotlight because of that pride.  His focus was totally on her and her career and his actions endeared him to me all the more.  His grand gesture at the end of the story was dreamy and solidified his place as the quintessential book boyfriend and has me eagerly awaiting the final installment.  This has been a delightful series thus far with only a few frustrations along the way and though I look forward to what comes next I'm sad that the end of their journey's creeping ever closer.  This has been a charming, heartwarming, and sensual series that readers should definitely add to their bookshelf for its appealing main couple and its ability to pull at your heartstrings!

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Blast for He Takes the Cake by J. Lynn Rowan (GIVEAWAY)


Two former loves reunite with flames and competitiveness the result in this tale of second chances and moving on from the past.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of He Takes the Cake by J. Lynn Rowan, and learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this next installment in the Sweet Somethings series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $20 bookstore GC too!

Life is good for Tess Gardiner: Her Savannah, Georgia, bakery and cafe is thriving. She’s earned Master Pastry Chef status from the American Culinary Federation. And she’s attending a regional culinary convention in Charleston, where she’s been invited to sit on a small business panel discussion. The opportunity to tout her success will, hopefully, lead to bigger and better things in her professional life. As for her personal life? The relative contentedness she’s enjoyed for years receives a sudden jolt when she comes face to face with Tyler Brinks, the ex-boyfriend she summarily dismissed from her life eight years ago.
Tyler’s success as a highly-trained chef has launched him into the stratosphere. He already owns one ridiculously successful restaurant, and he’s aggressively working on plans for a second. But he’s never quite gotten over Tess, and he’s never really been sure what actually went wrong between them. So when a pastry and baking competition is announced for the week following the culinary convention in Charleston, Ty jumps at the chance to tempt Tess with the challenge of being his partner, giving him the perfect opportunity to remind her how good they once were together.
As the competition heats up in the kitchen, it soon becomes clear to Tess that Ty has more than cream puffs and cupcakes on his mind. And she can’t deny that her feelings for Ty never truly cooled, but have been simmering all these years, despite the way their relationship ended. Now Ty’s attention has her wondering—is this just the path to final closure? Or could this be a second chance at true love?

EXCERPT:

“Before we go in there, I have something for you,” Ty says, reaching out but stopping just short of actually touching me.
I stare at his extended hand for a second, then flick my gaze up to his eyes. “Okay."
Smiling, Ty crosses to a chair on the other side of the kitchen, where he’d draped his chef’s jacket so it would be out of the way. He grabs it and shrugs into it, but then picks up something from the seat of the chair. Folded fabric, the same bright white as his chef’s jacket.
My breath catches in my throat. “Is that...?"
“I picked it up for you on my way home yesterday.” He shakes out another chef’s jacket, cut and tailored for a woman’s build. “Hope I guessed the size right."
I take the chef’s jacket, holding it by the shoulders and studying every seam, stitch, and button. “It’s gorgeous, Ty. Thank you!"
He shrugs in that nonchalant way of his, but his eyes twinkle with joy at my pleasure. “I figured we ought to match. And it’s a gift. Whether or not we continue to round two or beyond, it’s yours to keep."
“You didn’t need to do this,” I murmur, lowering the garment. “I already owe you for the entry fee, and--"
“I would’ve had to pay the entry fee whether you were working with me or not, so forget it."
Ty fastens the buttons on his jacket. Then he takes mine back and circles around me, holding the chef’s jacket open so I can slide my arms in. The starched fabric crinkles a little, coaxing a giggle from me.
But the feel of Ty’s hands on my shoulders, the sense of them reaching around to fasten the buttons, makes me freeze. When he notices, he pauses, too. Then his hands drop away, and he clears his throat as he turns and grabs the handle of the serving cart.
“We should get this down to the judges.” His voice sounds choked.
Nodding, I finish with my buttons and follow him out.

BUY AT AMAZON here.

THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS IN THE SWEET SOMETHINGS SERIES...

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (Book #1):  AMAZON  |  BN
WHEN IN ROME (Book #2):  AMAZON  |  BN
THE ONE I'M WITH (Book #3):  AMAZON

AUTHOR INFO:

J. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.
Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.
When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.
A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and their little rainbow, affectionately known as Babycakes.


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Book Spotlight on Up All Night by Amanda Adams (REVIEW)

Readers will find themselves charmed by this sensual and heartwarming tale of opposites attracting as a former playboy finds HEA with a woman tainted by her own past.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Up All Night by Amanda Adams, along with my impressions of it, then add this third installment in the Walker Brothers series to your bookshelf!


Once upon a time Mitchell Walker fell in love…and trusted the wrong woman. That one mistake nearly cost him his future.
Now he is a young, successful surgeon. Women throw themselves at his feet, and he gives them what they want, as long as they don't ask for his heart. The strategy is working well for him until he meets freelance reporter Jessica Finley.
She's smart, she makes him laugh, and she sees right through his playboy persona.
Jessica's fire may burn hot enough to keep him up all night, but will her love be strong enough to burn away the ghosts of his past and melt the ice around his heart?




FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

The Walker Brothers are back in this sensual and sentimental tale of opposites attracting as a playboy finds himself captivated by a carefree and kind-hearted woman with abandonment issues of her own.  As their connection grows their friendship quickly evolves into something deeper and more profound that had me rooting for them every step of the way.

Mitchell's the most hard working of all his brothers in his surgical career.  It's a career he's wanted ever since he was young and was the result of not being able to save his brother.  That's just one part of his sad history that had me aching for him and cheering him on to find a bit of happiness after all his childhood pain.  As a young man he thought he'd found love but a reckless decision left him feeling betrayed, guilty, and had him closing off his heart due to the machinations of one young woman.  Because of that moment he's played the field and left a trail of broken hearts behind him.  Meeting the strong-willed Jessica though changes everything, and even as he mocks his brothers for finding love, he finds himself drawn to her and a future far brighter than the life he's been living thus far.  His life was once all about work, with the occasional sexual release, but with Jessica he learns to embrace every moment.  He actually has to work to earn her affection though and by doing so he was able to form a deeper connection, a connection that he was willing to fight for.  From the moment readers meet Mitchell they'll find him irresistible.  Charming and oozing sex appeal it's easy to see why women are drawn to him.  Behind that playboy facade though is a man hurt by his past, a man unwilling to put his heart on the line, which made his time with Jessica all the more meaningful. Through it all theirs is a sexy journey to HEA full of heart and soul that captivated me from the fist page to the last.

Jessica's an immensely appealing heroine whose childhood left her with daddy issues as he remarried numerous times to younger women each time.  His being a doctor added to his time away from his family and those two facts don't bode well for her relationship with Mitchell early on.  Jessica's a carefree woman who's made a new life for herself after an injury took away her previous dream. She embraces her new life wholeheartedly though, becoming close with all her various siblings as well as a bubbly elderly neighbor. Those bonds and their interactions put a smile on my face...as well as seeing a possible spin-off series featuring the members of her sibling's rock band.  Jessica's like a breath of fresh air for Mitchell, helping him to embrace the small things in life, and it made for a sweet and sentimental journey that I fully enjoyed.

With their adopted mother's death and the cards she left behind for them full of her words of wisdom, the Walker Brothers set out to find their deepest desires through each installment in this series.  The path this book took to reach those desires may have been similar to the previous installments, right down to the quickly resolved silly misunderstanding, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of this book.  The lead characters were likable and easy to relate to with a romance that was both sweet and sexy.  They may have started out as opposites attracting but it's clear they made beautiful music together. Surrounding them was an appealing cast of secondary characters, some we've seen in the previous installments along with some engaging new ones, and together they all subtly helped Jessica and Mitchell reach their HEA.  Readers will ultimately find themselves charmed by this romantic tale full of heart and soul and will be counting down the days until the final Walker Brother finds his own HEA!

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE WALKER BROTHERS SERIES...

CRASH AND BURN (Book #1)
A childhood promise has Chance Walker picking up a guitar once again. He hires sexy Erin Michaelson to bring music back into his life. She's one of the most intriguing women he's ever met.
When he sees her again, she's on stage using another name and seducing an entire audience. A single, sizzling backstage kiss will change both of their lives forever. Chance soon realizes that Erin is not just an itch, she's an obsession that he refuses to live without.  

FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  iBOOKS

ALONE WITH YOU (Book #2)
Claire Miller fell in love with Jake in the third grade. One hot night of reckless passion changed things between them forever. Jake rocked her world, but Claire had plans for her life. Knowing she could never be what he needed, she let him go and has missed him every day since.
Jake Walker knew the first time he saw Claire, when he was nine years old, that he wanted to marry her. At seventeen, he let her go. But seven years later, the sight of her hit him like a punch to the gut. Every cell in his body demanded that she was ‘The One'. But can he convince Claire? 

FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO

AUTHOR INFO:

Amanda Adams fell in love with books at a very early age. Her earliest memories are of sitting on her mother's lap reading Cinderella and Snow White and Rose Red over, and over, and over again until she had them memorized –- she was too young to know the alphabet.
Amanda started writing stories in big, sloppy handwriting in a wide-rule notebook when she was bored, during class (of course) in the fifth grade. Her favorite stories always include excitement, adventure and a handsome hero guaranteed to sweep her off her feet.
Amanda lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband (her high-school sweetheart who proved the reality of "love at first sight") and three teenagers whom she reminds, repeatedly… "If it's not in my phone, it's not happening," because her mind is oh-so-often far away living a fairy tale. (That's code for – if an alarm doesn't go off, she forgets to pick up her kids from school…)