Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Sarina Bowen
Released: October 20, 2017

I'm a frustrated traveler. No, I'm a horrible traveler. My anxiety about leaving something important at home and my extreme motion sickness make the start of any journey tough. It's ONE of the many reasons I read. I'm able to visit England, Australia, California, or Vermont. Vermont?!?! Maybe it's not your vacation destination, but after reading Sarina Bowen's BOUNTIFUL, it will be!

BOUNTIFUL is book four in Ms. Bowen's True North series, but as with the previous books, can be read as a standalone. While characters from books 1-3 make appearances, this story follows Zara Rossi and Dave Beringer as they learn that summer love can turn into so much more!

Zara was introduced to readers in book one, BITTERSWEET, and she was a prickly pear. I had reservations about her very early on, but as the story unfolds and a blessing in disguise comes her way, I fell for her. The prickly exterior protects a soft, squishy interior. Ms. Bowen, once again, or should I say, as always, creates characters and situations relatable to her readers. We all have mistakes in the past that shouldn't define who we are, yet they do. Family, in particular, are often slow to recognize and acknowledge changes. Zara is forced to reconcile her past with her present to find a happy future.

I know many are hesitant to begin a series where multiple books have been released, but I strongly encourage readers new to this series or Ms. Bowen to start with BOUNTIFUL and read the other books. You'll either develop a yearning to visit Vermont or like me, ready to move there!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


(Photo credit Eric Flagg, taken from Facebook. This is the 34th Street graffiti wall in Gainesville)

Will there ever come a time when we stop talking about racism?

Today is sad for my hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Today White Nationalist, Richard Spencer, and his supporters are here, in my home, spreading their message of hate and intolerance. They chose Gainesville because the University of Florida is our heart, a campus of young, impressionable students. They chose Gainesville because it’s the center of Alachua County, one of only a handful of counties in Florida that strongly identifies as liberal. They chose us thinking they could intimidate and bully us. THEY ARE WRONG.

I’ve lived in Gainesville since 1978, not yet four-years-old. I’ve watched my community grow and become the home to people from all around the world. My teachers were men and women of all colors, ages, and sexual preference. Living here helped shape my view of the world. The residents of Gainesville taught me diversity is what makes us stronger. Diversity is what makes us smarter. When we come together, as one, we are the best. And make no mistake, Gainesville is the best. 

My mother’s family is from Jamaica, a third-world county whose motto is “Out of Many One People.” How amazing is that? How incredible is it that a small Caribbean country, not as advanced in technology or opportunity, embraces the multiracial diversity of its people? How can we allow racism to continue in the first world? 

It’s a sad day because intolerance shouldn’t be in Gainesville or anywhere. 

But I know today will show those who consider me inferior because of the color of my skin THEY ARE WRONG. Today will prove that love of our community and its beliefs are superior. Today will show the ignorance and dishonor of white nationalists and their  supporters. Today the Gator Nation will stand firm in who we are. WE ARE GAINESVILLE STRONG. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Hello, friends.

Wow, that felt good to write. Who knew two little words could bring such joy?

I’m baaaaaaack. That sounds silly; I never went away. Well, that’s not true. I did. I stepped away for a few months to heal. After two years of denying it, my depression demanded to be acknowledged. It’s an unhealthy relationship. Depression is a motherfu*ker, a monster. It beats you down until you decide to play dead. It’s the lover that never leaves and controls every moment of every day. It’s a zombie maker.

My name is Robyn, and I’ve been among the walking dead since June 2015.

Anyone familiar with the book-turned-movie, Warm Bodies? It’s a romantic comedy that confirms love is powerful and can change anyone or anything. The main character’s name is “R," fitting, eh? I highly recommend a Netflix night and watch. Um, so where was I? Right, love is powerful. While I’ve always suspected this, I don’t have enough experience to confirm. I’m learning to trust others when they say it’s so. I’m learning to trust others. I’m learning to love myself.

Therapy is a GREAT thing, y’all!

Yeah, I’ve been broken and hurt for a long time. My nature is to care for others before myself. People pleaser to the nth degree. There’s nothing wrong with that at all as long as it brings self-satisfaction. An honest, deep, true satisfaction. It usually does for me. The only thing that makes me happier than seeing someone succeed at fulfilling their dreams are my furries. Nothing is greater than a wagging tail at the end of a rough day.

The thing is, in my attempt to run from my problems, I allowed myself to disappear behind others. I wanted so badly to make everyone around me, both real and virtual, happy. I stopped doing for myself. I was going through the motions, terribly, but doing enough to hide my truth. And here it is.

Physically, financially, and emotionally I was spent. The idea of opening my eyes, leaving the bed and caring for my physical needs was more than I could handle. I had no energy for it. Medical bills and bad choices left me damn near homeless. My weight climbed back to numbers I never thought I’d see again, leaving me breathless walking up stairs. There’s been so little of the once happy me.

I was surrounded by incredible people, supporting and loving me, but I couldn’t see it. I somehow managed to walk away from toxic and dangerous relationships. Not sure how that happened. I did hurt someone I considered a friend. “Hurt people, hurt people.” It’s not an excuse for my reactions to situations, only an explanation. I don’t have a large circle of true friends. I don’t trust easily, but I trusted her. In as much as I’m able. I pushed her away when she gave me honesty. It’s my only regret. One day I hope to find the courage to reach out to her and apologize. I know that I may be rejected, and that’s terrifying. I’m much better today, but I don’t have the strength to face that.

Whew, okay, I’m getting to my point, I swear!

I was asked to think about things that bring me joy or I can use as an outlet when depression and anxiety try to take over. Animals, anime, reading, and writing-those are my loves. Yes, anime. I’m a geek and make no apologies for it! I enjoy reading and talking about great books. I even enjoy joking about not so great books (a few of you know the series I’m talking about). It’s fun for me to write a review, always honest, put it out there, and have great conversations about it. I enjoy sharing talent and beauty. There’s immense beauty in romance books because they leave the reader with love and hope.

So, Angelically Devilish Reviews is back, kinda. I can’t handle the stress of working, running my business, copyediting (yep, still doing that) and blogging daily. It’s too much at once for me. Did I mention I have my fourth half-marathon scheduled? Yeah, back to exercise and training. But endorphins make people happy, and happy people don’t hurt their friends. Elle Woods would agree.

I can’t promise weekly reviews or even monthly ones. I can promise when I read a book, good or bad; I’ll let you know my thoughts. I hope you stick around to learn them. I’ll maintain a presence on Instagram and Twitter, but I’m still debating reinstating the Facebook reader group. I would need help with it and don’t want to add stress to someone else’s day.

I’m back, and I’m better. Not great, but better. Depression still rubs my back and whispers in my ear, but I’m managing to shower daily-improvement! Somedays will be harder than others, but I’ll do my best to focus on the good, the happy. That doesn’t mean I’ll hold back on my reviews though.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and to be here. I’m a good girl with a dark side. And cookies. And coffee.


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